M*A*S*H TV series co-star Mike Farrell in 2008.
|Birthname||Michael Joseph Farrell|
|Born:||February 6, 1939|
|Birthplace||Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.|
|Actor, Director, Producer, TV personality|
|Spouse(s):||Judy Farrell (1963-1983, divorced)|
Shelley Fabraes (1984-present)
|Related to:||Son Michael, Jr. and daughter Erin, with Judy Farrell|
|Appeared on/in:||M*A*S*H TV series|
|Episodes appeared in:||179 episodes in Seasons 4-11|
|Character(s) played:||B.J. Hunnicutt|
Michael Joseph "Mike" Farrell (born February 6, 1939) is an American actor, best known for his role as Captain B.J. Hunnicutt, on the television series M*A*S*H (1975–83). He is an activist for political causes. Farrell was a producer of Patch Adams (1998) starring Robin Williams, and has starred on the television series Providence (1999–2002). He appeared as Milton Lang, the father of Victor Lang (John Slattery), husband of Gabrielle Solis (Eva Longoria) on Desperate Housewives (2007–2008). He was seen in the tenth-season episode "Persona" of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Early life[edit | edit source]
Farrell, one of four children, was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, the son of Agnes and Joe Farrell. When he was two years old, his family moved from South St. Paul to Hollywood, California, where his father worked as a movie studio carpenter. Farrell attended West Hollywood Grammar School with Natalie Wood, and graduated from Hollywood High School, served in the United States Marine Corps, and worked at various jobs before his acting career.
Early acting career[edit | edit source]
During the 1960s, Farrell guest-starred in a few series. Notable roles included Federal Agent Modell in the episode "Monkee Chow Mein" on The Monkees in 1967, astronaut Arland in the episode "Genie, Genie, Who's Got the Genie?" on I Dream of Jeannie, and an Army doctor in the episode "The Bankroll" of Combat!. In 1968 he originated the continuing role of Scott Banning in the NBC soap opera Days of our Lives. In 1970 he starred as one of the young doctors in the CBS prime-time series The Interns, in a cast led by Broderick Crawford. In 1971 he played the assistant to Anthony Quinn in ABC's The Man and the City. In 1973, while under contract to Universal Studios, Farrell starred with Robert Foxworth in The Questor Tapes. During the years under contract, he guest starred in a number of shows, including Banacek and Marcus Welby, M.D., and starred in a television pilot with Jane Wyman, which did not sell. Farrell also had a cameo role in the 1967 classic The Graduate.
M*A*S*H (1975–83) and later roles[edit | edit source]
Mike's big break came in 1975 when Wayne Rogers unexpectedly departed M*A*S*H at the end of the third season. Farrell was quickly recruited for the newly created role of B.J. Hunnicutt, along with co-series' lead, Harry Morgan, who replaced McLean Stevenson, also at the end of the third season. The most coincidental thing is both Farrell and Morgan were both big fans of the M*A*S*H series during its early seasons before they both joined the cast, with Morgan having also appeared as "General Bartford Hamilton Steele" in the season three episode "The General Flipped at Dawn" (for which he won an Emmy Award for Best Guest Role in a Primetime Comedy Series) . and having directed another in its first season, "The Ringbanger", which featured Leslie Nielsen. Both Farrell and Harry Morgan stayed with the series for its remaining eight years on the air. During that time, Farrell wrote five episodes and directed four.
His favorite episodes are "Welcome to Korea" and "Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler". In an interview recently Farrell discussed the byplay between his M*A*S*H co-stars, David Ogden Stiers and Harry Morgan:
"David was like a rock, when he was concentrating, when he was being Charles Emerson Winchester III, you just couldn't get him, except for Harry Morgan. Harry could look at David and reduce him to a puddle of tears, without turning an eye. David said, 'When he [Harry] looks at me and flare those nostrils; and he would be gone,' it would be such a wonderful thing to see this great big guy just reduced to a giggling idiot by Harry, but unfortunately, all I could do is to tell you, we had great fun doing the show; and much of it was laughing at some silly gag that one of us had pulled on the others."
Farrell continued to stay in touch or to have dinner with Morgan until Morgan's death on December 7, 2011. Farrell said of him: "He was an imp. As Alan once said, there's not an un-adorable bone in the man's body. He was full of fun, and he was smart as a whip." Prior to Morgan's death, Farrell also added of his mentor's six decade career: "He was one of the foundational pieces of the industry. Such honors routinely go to stars, but also belong to Morgan and other character actors who provide 'the grit and the substance and the context' for so many films and TV shows," to sum it up, he stated: "Harry has been that, par excellence, for many years." In 1983 he starred in "Memorial Day" about a Vietnam veterans who suffers PTSD flashbacks. In 1985, Mike partnered with film and television producer Marvin Minoff to create Farrell/Minoff Productions, a production company. Together, Farrell and Minoff produced numerous television movies. Farrell and Minoff also executive produced two feature films during their partnership, Dominick and Eugene, a 1988 Orion Pictures film which earned actor Tom Hulce a Golden Globe nomination for best actor. The pair also produced 1998's Patch Adams starring Robin Williams. Farrell and Minoff's professional partnership lasted more than twenty-five years, until Minoff's death in November 2009.
Providence (1999–2002)[edit | edit source]
In 1999 Farrell was given the part of veterinarian, Jim Hansen, the father of the lead character, Dr. Sydney Hansen, portrayed by Melina Kanakaredes, on the NBC-TV melodrama series Providence.
In his portrayal of Sydney's father, Farrell played opposite Concetta Tomei, who portrayed his wife, Lynda Hansen. Tomei's character died during the first episode of the series, but continued to appear as a ghost/memory in vignettes of later episodes. The show became a big hit with the critics and in the Nielsen ratings. Farrell appeared in 64 of the 92 episodes before its cancellation in December 2002.
Personal life[edit | edit source]
Mike was married to actress Judy Farrell, who appeared on the series as Nurse Able in Seasons 6-11 of MASH, from 1963 to 1983; they have a son Mike, Jr., and a daughter, Erin. He has been married to actress Shelley Fabares since 1984.
Fun Facts[edit | edit source]
In the Banacek Mystery, Farrell played a B.J. Hunnicut-type company exective who cynically remarks that while his retired father spends time with his art collection, he has to spend all his time working!
References[edit | edit source]
- Today's Underrated Stars! – Meet Mike Farrell, firstname.lastname@example.org. Published by Todaysunderratedstars.20m.com, November 18, 1999 accessed May 17, 2011.
- The Gradute film at the Internet Movie Database (IMDb)
- Harry Morgan/bio at the Internet Movie Database
- Interview, Part 3: Mike Farrell and Shelley Fabares Q & A - with Host Frankie Verroca. YouTube.com. Retrieved on April 7, 2017.
- M*A*S*H star Harry Morgan dies at age 96, MSNBC.com story, December 10, 2011, accessed September 20, 2012.
- ""Harry Morgan Death: His Influence In TV And Movies",", Huffington Post(.com), December 8, 2011. Retrieved on April 7. 2017.
- "Producer Marvin Minoff dies at 78 – Worked on Frost-Nixon TV interview specials", Variety Magazine (www.variety.com), November 13, 2009. Retrieved on December 2, 2009..
[edit | edit source]
- http://www.deathpenalty.org/ Death Penalty focus website
- Recording of Mike Farrell talking about his book and activities from Sacramento, CA on September 28, 2008
- Mike Farrell article at Wikipedia