Mike Farrell is probably best known for his role of MASH surgeon, BJ Hunnicut. He has quite a career besides this lovable doctor, spanning five decades!

Mike is also a passionate advocate of Human Rights. His support is for a variety of causes. An excellent site that tells all about his convictions and efforts is "The Mike Farrell Appreciation Page." Check it out ... it's great!

Mike Farrell Stats

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Color autographed pix of Mike as BJ Hunnitcut

Autographed pix of Mike Farrell as BJ Hunnicut

An actor, director and producer, Mike Farrell is a wonderful talent in Hollywood.

Films Produced:
Patch Adams
Sins of the Mind
Silent Motive
Dominick & Eugene
Memorial Day

Other Credits

Providence Info

Mike Farrell fan mail:
P.O. Box 6010
Sherman Oaks, CA 90067 USA

"I don't know why," Mike Farrell laughs, "but people have had this sense that I typify on some level 'the Doctor.'" Maybe that's because Farrell, 60, by now might as well have a stethoscope growing out of his ears. He played Dr. Sam Marsh on CBS's 1970-71 series The Interns,his first prominent role. He was good-hearted M*A*S*H surgeon B.J. Hunnicut from 1975 to 1983. And he's currently in his second season as kindly veterinarian Jim Hansen on NBC's hit series Providence.

Still, it came as a shock to Farrell when, he recalls, a real doctor "looked at me and said, 'Put on gloves and a gown. I need your help.' I said, 'Doc, you've got to be kidding.'" But Dr. Alejandro Sanchez was serious. He and Farrell, a longtime human-rights activist, were in El Salvador in 1985 after persuading the government there to allow Sanchez, a U.S. surgeon, to operate on Nidia Diaz, a female guerrilla leader who'd suffered a hand wound while being captured. Lacking a nurse, Sanchez recruited Farrell. The surgery was a success, and Diaz used that hand, says Farrell, to sign a 1992 peace treaty between the guerrillas and the government. Says the temporary medical assistant: "I'm very proud of that."

Farrell, also involved in other causes (working with the environmental group Greenpeace and Concern America, a refugee-aid organization), is no lukewarm advocate. "He just can't take injustice," says his wife of 15 years, actress Shelley Fabares (Coach)."He will do everything to right the situation." At the five-bedroom home the couple share in Los Angeles, Farrell, who has two grown children from his first marriage, seems as low-key as his characters. "He has extraordinary patience, which can just drive me crazy," says Fabares, 55. "It takes a lot to get Mike mad. But if he does, he's really mad. We've had a few big blowups."

"He is human. He's a tough cookie," says Melina Kanakaredes, who plays his daughter Sydney on Providence. Still, she adds, "I would have to say that Mike Farrell ever cussing is always a shocker. You fall out of your chair." Kanakaredes was more pleasantly surprised, she says, by the letter Farrell wrote to her last December, when the series pilot was picked up. "It was about the business, about keeping your feet on the ground," she says. "It was just very encouraging." Adds executive producer John Masius: "He has the concern of a guy you'd want to be your dad."

By contrast, Farrell's own father, Joe, a Hollywood movie studio carpenter, "was the disciplinarian," he says, "the figure who terrified me." When Mike, the second of four children, was a junior in high school, his father died of a heart attack at 50. (His mother, Agnes, 92, lives in Farrell's guest house.) After a two-year stint in the Marines, Farrell fulfilled a secret childhood ambition ("I was a very shy kid") by joining an L.A. acting workshop. He landed small roles in '60s series such as McHale's Navy and the 1967 film The Graduate while building a family with first wife Judy Hayden, an actress.

The couple divorced in 1980 ("We grew in different directions," he says). Two years later, at a CBS affiliates' convention, Farrell (then costarring in M*A*S*H) ran into Fabares (then in One Day at a Time), whose own first marriage, to record mogul Lou Adler, had ended in the early '70s. "I was so struck with this sense of ultimate decency about him," she says. They wed in 1984, just a year after Farrell's M*A*S*H family had bid each other farewell in what remains TV's single most-watched episode. "It was one of the hardest things I've ever done as an actor, because there were times when it wasn't appropriate to be crying," recalls Farrell, who remains close to the whole cast.

As a vet on Providence,"I'm having a great time," says Farrell, whose flexible schedule allows him time for his activist pursuits, including his efforts to stop boys in the Third World from being recruited as soldiers. Farrell recalls, on a trip to Somalia a few years ago, seeing two boys playing with an automatic weapon. "Thank God it didn't go off," he says, "but there was that sense of, 'Holy s--t, this could be the end of these kids' lives!'" For the doctor, the fight never ends.

-- Sophfronia Scott Gregory

-- Tom Cunneff in Los Angeles

November 18, 1999 -- © People Magazine

Mike Farrell Credits
Mike Farrell Stats
Providence Info
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