Hot Lips Houlihan Visits Mote Aquarium

Emmy Award-winning actress Loretta Swit, who's starring in a Asolo Rep production of "Love, Loss and What I Wore," visited Edna the sick dolphin.

She played a nurse on TV and checked in on how the ones in real life are helping Edna the sick dolphin at .

Loretta Swit, an Emmy Award-winning TV and theater actress — famed for her role as Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan of “M*A*S*H” — and a passionate animal advocate, toured Mote and its animal hospitals July 2, paying a special visit to the , who remains in critical condition, but is improving.

Mote’s leaders, scientists and animal care professionals said they were honored to host Swit, and to discuss their shared interests in marine conservation.

“What a graceful, gracious lady,” said Mote President and CEO Dr. Kumar Mahadevan, who was thrilled to guide Ms. Swit through the Lab that he has led for more than 25 years. “It’s amazing that she loves all kinds of marine species, from sharks to dolphins to phytoplankton. That's very important — all of these things are connected. A key part of Mote's mission is to learn about the health of many species within marine ecosystems, in the interest of conservation.”

During the tour, Swit met Mote's founder, “Shark Lady” Dr. Eugenie Clark, along with leading scientists in Mote’s national Center for Shark Research and Mote coral reef scientists making groundbreaking discoveries about coral health and disease.

She paid a special visit to Mote’s resident manatees, Hugh and Buffett — the world’s most highly trained manatees. Mote scientists have done cutting-edge  research on Hugh and Buffett’s eyesight, hearing and sense of touch to learn how manatees navigate in their environment, providing valuable information for management and conservation of manatee populations, which are endangered in the wild.

“I’ve had a wonderful time,” Swit said. “The work you’ve done here is so wonderful, efficient and extraordinary.”

Swit’s visit culminated with a tour of Mote’s hospitals for dolphins, whales and sea turtles, including a special stop to meet the sick dolphin Edna. This bottlenose dolphin has received special care at Mote since

“I was so happy to see Edna,” Swit said. “This is the essence of care and preservation: rescue, rehab, release — keeping the species intact.”

Swit also visited the 135,000-gallon shark habitat in The Aquarium at Mote Marine Laboratory — the public outreach facility that brings Mote’s marine research to life for people of all ages. 

Swit is in Sarasota for her role in "Love, Loss and What I Wore,” which runs through July 15 at the Asolo Repertory Theatre.

Swit has starred in multiple Broadway shows, toured with national theater companies and has been featured in more than 25 movies. She has been honored with the People’s Choice Award, The Genie Award, The Silver Satellite Award, The Jean Golden Halo Award, the Pacific Broadcasters Award and two Emmy Awards, along with many Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.

In her efforts to support wildlife, Ms. Swit hosted the Discovery Channel series “Those Incredible Animals,” which ran for five years, was also shown on Animal Planet and aired in 30 countries.

She is First-Vice President of Actors and Others For Animals, an honorary Board member of The Wildlife Waystation, has served as spokesperson for various campaigns of The Humane Society of the United States, and has been named Woman of the Year by both the Animal Protection Institute and the International Fund For Animal Welfare.

Learn more about Ms. Swit’s work at: www.switheart.com.


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