Gary Burghoff in 1977 | Source: Getty Images
Gary Burghoff in 1977 | Source: Getty Images

Gary Burghoff’s 1-Year-Old Granddaughter Has Cancer — inside His Family Life 45 Years after Leaving ‘M*A*S*H’

Odette Odendaal
Jun 24, 2024
10:47 A.M.

Gary Burghoff, also known as "Radar" from the television series "M*A*S*H," became a grandfather for the first time at 80. However, the newest addition to the family has already proven herself to be a brave little girl, and she has barely turned one.


Gary Burghoff's one son became a dad himself in 2023 when he welcomed a daughter with his wife, but their bundle of joy was diagnosed with a serious illness before she turned one, and it left the family facing their "scariest" and "most emotional" journey.

Sadly, there is one important person who never got to meet the newest member of the Burghoff family, Rylee, who has received an outpour of support while she fights for her life.

Gary Burghoff as Cpl. Walter 'Radar' O'Reilly on the CBS television sitcom, "M*A*S*H" | Source: YouTube/FOX

Gary Burghoff as Cpl. Walter 'Radar' O'Reilly on the CBS television sitcom, "M*A*S*H" | Source: YouTube/FOX

Rylee's Parents

Rylee was born on March 24, 2023, to ecstatic parents Miles and Katie Burghoff. Miles, Gary’s one son from his second marriage to Elisabeth Bostrom, showed his joyful anticipation of becoming a father on New Year's Day 2023 when he posted their pregnancy announcement.


Alongside a slideshow featuring a sonogram image, he wrote, "With the future looking so bright for the Burghoff household, I am looking forward to the changes that 2023 is bringing! Happy New Year, everybody! It’s time to get to work and make 2023 an epic year!"


A Bond to See Them through Tough Times Ahead


Following Rylee’s birth, Katie and Miles soon got to celebrate a parental first—Mother’s Day. The couple's eighth wedding anniversary came a few months later, and the strength of their new little family’s bond was evident. But unbeknown to them, they were going to need it very soon.


"Happy Anniversary to the only person I just never get tired of! This year we added our little Rylee into the mix, and it has been nothing short of amazing to see @ktwestphal26 become a wonderful, caring, mother. I've made some pretty good decisions in my life, but all of them pale in comparison to saying 'I DO' eight years ago! Love you Katie!" Miles paid tribute to the life they've built together alongside a slideshow of images.


Rylee Diagnosed with Cancer

Then their little Rylee was diagnosed with a Neuroblastoma. "I'd be lying if I said this wasn’t the scariest, most emotional, and stressful week Katie and I have experienced," he admitted.

In the following days, Miles focused on getting his baby girl the best care possible. "I was on the warpath trying to control every variable I could to ensure we were getting answers and getting a place for her in St. Judes," he shared on February 3, 2024.


Rylee's Treatment

Rylee began her first round of chemotherapy at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital later in February, followed by her second round in March, which had a positive outcome.

"So far has been doing great! Her numbers from her recent labs on Monday were down the normal amount and she didn’t require any blood transfusion. Overall she has been her happy self, and we have been trying to get a somewhat normal family routine while we are able," Miles wrote in an update on March 14.


A Celebration of 2 Milestones

Then came two major milestones for young Rylee. The first was when she turned one on March 24, 2024, and the second was health-related. Gary’s son elatedly announced on June 19, 2024, that Rylee had undergone surgery to resect her primary tumor.

“It was a significant effort by the great surgical team at @stjude and it was a success with removal of 'over 90%' of the tumor from her abdomen. This was a tumor that started out the size of a baseball, and now is nearly gone. Rylee has been so brave and strong today, and has a great deal of healing ahead," he wrote.


An Outpour of Support for Rylee

Miles also thanked everyone for their support, which have been plentiful. "Awesome news! She’s a little warrior! ❤️ 🙏" a follower responded in relief, seconded by another, "This is certainly great news for you guys and we always appreciate you keeping us updated. Rylee’s such an incredible Warrior and a wonderful teacher to all of us 🙏🙏❤️🙏🙏 I am so happy for Her and your Family 🙏🙏🙏 Prayers and Healing Energy 💯🙏🙏🙏."

While prayers for the Burghoff family continue to stream in, it’s not the only hardship they have faced in recent years.


A Loss in the Burghoff Family

In 2019, Gary Burghoff’s second and ex-wife, Miles' mom, Elisabeth Bostrom, passed away. She was Miles' "biggest fan," but would sadly never get to meet her first grandchild.

Elisabeth and Gary divorced in 2005 after twenty years of marriage, having brought two sons into the world, Miles and Jordan, though Gary never stepped into wedded bliss again.


Gary's Marriages

His first marriage to Janet Gayle, with whom he had a daughter, Gena, ended the same year as he quit "M*A*S*H" after seven seasons - 1979, but returned in Season 8 for his special 2-part farewell episode, "Goodbye Radar."

Gary Burghoff talks about leaving "M*A*SH" | Source: YouTube/FOX

Gary Burghoff talks about leaving "M*A*SH" | Source: YouTube/FOX

"You either want to be rich and famous, or you want to be a daddy. You can’t do both," he said in 1999 of the troubles in his personal life. His contract had expired, and due to the way he felt, he didn’t renegotiate another. "I was stepping away from everything," he elaborated in 2023.

Although burnout and a desire to spend more time with his family caused his exit from the show, it ultimately didn’t result in a different outcome for his second marriage. His exit from "M*A*S*H" did, however, result in monetary issues that were solved in an unlikely way.


Gary's Life after “M*A*S*H”

Gary turned to painting during his financial struggles. Fortunately, he was quick a master with a brush and sold portraits of North American wildlife for up to $25,000 in several galleries countrywide.

Gary Burghoff attends the "Hollywood Collectors and Celebrities Show" April 7, 2001, in North Hollywood | Source: Getty Images

Gary Burghoff attends the "Hollywood Collectors and Celebrities Show" April 7, 2001, in North Hollywood | Source: Getty Images

The almost 81-year-old had always had a love for animals. During a 1999 interview, he elaborated on living in their modest once-acre property just north of Sacramento, where they had a slew of animals.


"I want the world to be innocent, kind, and gentle," he said. "Animals have never let me down in those qualities. When you allow yourself to connect with animals, [their] simplicity and joy are contagious."


Nature also facilitated bonding moments between Gary and Miles. Alongside a throwback image, Miles gushed about fond memories made with his dad.

"I know back then I was really proud to catch fish with my pops. We used to live in the #floridakeys and that is no doubt where my passion for fishing began. Certainly a good throwback to a time when I had beautiful Beach Boy hair, and my dad wore short shorts and a fanny pack. What a duo," he wrote.


They once called Paradise, California home, and when devastating fires broke out there in 2018, Gary didn’t hesitate to show his support after most of the town was destroyed by the inferno.

Now the former actor’s family needs his support as they navigate this difficult time, but thankfully Rylee’s surgery was deemed a success. While a long road still awaits his first grandchild, she has all the love and support she can hope for.

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