After studying at ‘RADA’ in London, Larry Linville returned to the United States where he started his acting career. He joined the ‘Barter Theatre’ in Abingdon, Virginia, and started performing on stage shows under the tutelage of the founder of ‘Barter Theatre,’ director Robert Huffard Porterfield.
From October 31, 1967 to March 2, 1968, he played Joel Harford in Eugene O'Neill's stage play ‘More Stately Mansions’ at ‘Broadhurst Theatre.’ Directed by José Quintero and produced by Elliot Martin, the play had Ingrid Bergman, Colleen Dewhurst, and Arthur Hill playing important roles.
He made his television debut in 1968 when he was cast to play Paul in one of the episodes of ‘NBC’ network's daytime soap opera ‘The Doctors.’ In the same year, he made his film debut when he played a minor role in Harvey Hart-directed drama film ‘The Sweet Ride.’ In 1968, he was also seen on ‘ABC’ network's legal drama series ‘Judd for the Defense.’
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Linville played minor roles in TV series, such as ‘The Outsider,’ ‘Bonanza,’ ‘Marcus Welby, M.D.,’ ‘Room 222,’ ‘Here Come the Brides,’ and ‘The Young Rebels.’ From 1968 to 1970, he played George Kramer in the popular TV series ‘Mannix.’ In 1971, he played Walters in Buzz Kulik-directed TV movie ‘Vanished.’ In the same year, he was also seen in Jack Lemmon-directed comedy-drama film ‘Kotch.’
He received his breakthrough role in 1972 when he was cast to play Major Frank Burns in the popular TV series ‘M A S H.’ He played the role from 1972 to 1977, appearing in 120 episodes. When his five-year contract expired at the end of the fifth season, Linville was asked to renew his contract for two more seasons. However, he declined the offer saying that he had taken the character (Frank Burns) as far as he could.
While playing Frank Burns in ‘M A S H,’ he also played various other characters in series like ‘Adam-12,’ ‘O'Hara, U.S. Treasury,’ ‘The Sixth Sense,’ ‘Search Control,’ and ‘Kolchak: The Night Stalker.’ In 1977, he played Dr. Jim Storm in James Burrows-directed TV movie ‘Calling Doctor Storm, M. D.’
From 1978 to 1979, he played Major General Kevin Kelley on ‘NBC’ network's comedy-drama television series ‘Grandpa Goes to Washington.’ In 1979, he played Carlin in a couple of episodes of the popular TV series ‘CHiPs.’ In the same year, he also played Jack in William Asher-directed TV movie ‘A Christmas for Boomer.’
From 1980 to 1982, he played various roles in a television series titled ‘Fantasy Island.’ In 1982, he was seen playing Randy Bigelow in four episodes of ‘CBS’ network's situational comedy series ‘Herbie, the Love Bug.’ In 1984, he was cast to play Grayson Carr in six episodes of ‘ABC’ network's prime time soap opera ‘Paper Dolls.’
Linville returned to the stage in 1984 when he played an important role in Sam Bobrick's play ‘Murder at the Howard Johnson's.’ In 1988, he played Glenn Cooper in Neil Simon's stage play ‘Rumors.’ Directed by Gene Saks, the play had Christine Baranski, Andre Gregory, and Ken Howard playing prominent roles.
In 1988, he was also seen in movies, such as ‘Earth Girls Are Easy’ and ‘Blue Movies.’ The following year, he played Dr. Jewell in David Irving-directed science-fiction film ‘C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud.’ In 1991, he played Principal McGree in Deborah Brock-directed musical film ‘Rock 'n' Roll High School Forever.’
From 1991 to 1993, he played supporting roles in TV series, such as ‘Dream On,’ ‘Nurses,’ ‘A Different World,’ and ‘The New Adventures of Superman.’ In 1994, he played Richard Dickerson in Paul Rodriguez-directed film ‘A Million to Juan’ and then played J.J. in Howard McCain-directed comedy film ‘No Dessert, Dad, Till You Mow the Lawn.’
From October 1994 to January 1995, Linville was seen in Sam Bobrick and Jeanne's play ‘Weekend Comedy’ in which he played Frank. The play was staged at the ‘New Theatre Restaurant’ in Kansas. Meanwhile, he also played supporting roles in films, such as ‘Fatal Pursuit.’ He continued appearing in TV series throughout the late 1990s.
Family & Personal Life
Larry Linville married actress Kate Geer on April 25, 1962. In 1970, Linville and Geer were blessed with a daughter named Kelly Linville who went on to become a unit still photographer. Linville divorced Kate Geer in 1975.
On December 25, 1977, he married Vana Tribbey. After five years of marriage, Linville and Tribbey got separated and their divorce was finalized on April 20, 1982. On April 24, 1982, Linville married Melissa Gallant. However, this marriage too ended in divorce in 1985.
On October 15, 1986, he married Susan Hagan. His marriage with Hagan ended in 1992 when they both settled for a divorce. In 1993, Linville married Deborah Guydon and remained married to her until his death in 2000.
On April 10, 2000, Larry Linville passed away in New York City due to complications related to a surgery which he had undergone in February 1998. His mortal remains were cremated and the ashes were scattered in the sea.