MEET OUR MARSHALS: Celebrity Grand Marshal Loretta Swit*

Few actresses can capture the imagination of generations of audiences with the certainty and charm of Loretta Swit. As quick-witted, impassioned Major Margaret Houlihan of television’s most honored series, “M*A*S*H,” Ms. Swit became an American icon and, with its popularity now in worldwide syndication, new fans continue to enjoy her lavish portrayal of the sensuous, sensitive, comedic Major Houlihan. She was so moved by the military and veterans she encountered she supports them to this day and recently narrated the film “Never the Same: The Prisoner of War Experience.”

Ms. Swit has been honored with such recognition as the People’s Choice Award, The Genie Award, The Silver Satellite Award, The Jean Golden Halo Award, the Pacific Broadcasters Award, two Emmy Awards, 10 Emmy nominations and eight nominations for the Golden Globe Award.

She made her Broadway debut in “Same Time, Next Year,” and in “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.” She has appeared in over 1,500 performances of “Shirley Valentine” – a role for which she won Chicago’s most prestigious theatrical honor, the Sarah Siddons Award.  Tours include “Song of Singapore,” “Love Letters,” “Love, Loss/What I Wore,” and the “Vagina Monologues” in New York, Chicago and London’s West End.

Her television career boasts over 25 movies, including the original “Cagney and Lacey,” in which she created the role of Chris Cagney, with contractual obligations to “M*A *S*H” preventing her from shooting the series.  Other memorable TV films are “Games Mother Never Taught You,” “Hell Hath No Fury,” “The Kid from Nowhere,” “Mirror, Mirror,” “The Execution,” “Dreams of Gold,” “Valentine” and “A Killer Among Friends.”

Ms. Swit has sung and danced her way through most of television’s musical specials, most notably “The Muppet Show” with Kermit and Miss Piggy and a Broadway television special of “It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman.”  She can be seen annually in “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” “Miracle at Moreaux,” and “A Christmas Calendar,” aired worldwide.

In the cinema, Ms. Swit has starred in “Stand Up and Be Counted,” “Freebie and the Bean,” “Race with the Devil,” “Beer,” Blake Edwards’ “S.O.B.” with Julie Andrews and William Holden, “Whoops Apocalypse,” “Forest Warrior,” “Boardheads” and “Play the Flute.”

Most recently she was “Eleanor Roosevelt” in sellout runs in Los Angeles and Chicago.  A highlight was meeting Eleanor’s granddaughter at a Meet and Greet. This show and “Me and Jezebel” continue to appear on her calendar.

Her wildlife series, “Those Incredible Animals,” was shown twice weekly on the Discovery Channel for an amazing five-year run, and later viewed on Animal Planet airing in over 30 countries.  Ms. Swit is as impassioned about animals as she is the theatre and is regarded as a leader in the Humane Environment.   The proceeds from her recent book, “SWITHEART” (www.switheart.com) support the Animal Alliance Foundation, ending cruelty for all animals and she has a second book in the works.  She has been named Woman of the Year by both the Animal Protection Institute and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association