Sergeant Luther Rizzo was played by G.W. Bailey. He appeared in a total of thirteen episodes, first appearing in the episode "The Yalu Brick Road" in Season 8; he would also appear in the final series episode, the 2-hour TV film special "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen".
About Rizzo[edit | edit source]
In the show, he was head of the 4077th motor pool. While originally written to be from New York City, when the producers heard Bailey, who is himself a native of Texas, in his first dailies, his character was changed from a Brooklyn, NY native to a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was known for his slow, deep, Louisiana drawl and his slightly disheveled look. Though the motor pool seemed to function well, it did so despite Rizzo's casual work style and frequent naps. His philosophy on success in the army was that it was possible to never do work, so long as your superiors don't see you enjoy yourself: "Where else [but the Army] can you be a bum and get paid for it?"
At first, the Rizzo character was slated to become company clerk after Radar (Gary Burghoff) was written out of the show. It was Alan Alda's idea to convince the producers to let Klinger (Jamie Farr) take the role.
In the Season 10 episode "Promotion Commotion", Rizzo was one of three 4077th enlisted that appeared before a promotion board consisting of Hawkeye, B.J., and Winchester. He was not promoted, but made it clear that he was American "with an all-American wife and an all-American baby boy." In the episode "That Darn Kid", his first name is given as "Wilson". In one episode he mentions to B.J. that he wrote to his wife Zola that son Billy Bubba was "too old to be walking with no shoes, and she was too young to be with no teeth!" In another episode, when he gets food poisoning from a bad turkey Klinger got for the recent 4077th Thanksgiving Day party in the mess tent, he remarks to Colonel Potter about how a person feels after eating too many hot dogs and drinking too much cheap booze, he wished he "felt that good."
In the series finale, Rizzo claimed that he would be going home to work on a new moneymaking venture: breeding frogs to sell to French restaurants. This is a minor error; Rizzo had re-enlisted in the Army service in a previous episode.