Larry Linville, the actor who worked on the stage but is best known as the whining Major Frank Burns on TV's "M*A*S*H," died April 10 at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Mr. Linville, who was 60, was suffering from pneumonia complications. An earlier bout with cancer resulted in the removal of one of his lungs, according to news reports.
In 1999, Mr. Linville appeared in the Paper Mill Playhouse revival of the Gershwin musical, Crazy For You, playing a desert town's theatre owner, Everett. The Paper Mill staging was later seen on a PBS broadcast.
Although known internationally as the hawkish, simpering officer in the long running TV series, "M*A*S"H," in which his character was the butt of his comrades' jokes (they called Maj. Burns "ferret face," among other names for five seasons before he left the series), Mr. Linville appeared on Broadway in Eugene O'Neill's More Stately Mansions (With Colleen Dewhurst and Ingrid Bergman), John Osborne's Inadmissable Evidence (with Nicol Williamson) and Neil Simon's Rumors. Off-Broadway, he appeared in Graham Greene's Travels With My Aunt.
Among his regional appearances, Mr. Linville donned a Victorian dress and played Lady Bracknell in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest with Capital Repertory Company in Albany, NY, in fall 1996.
Mr. Linville was born in Ojai, CA, in 1939. He began his theatre career as a scholarship student at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where his classmates were Sarah Miles, John Hurt, Tom Courtenay and David Warner.
-- By Kenneth Jones