Mike Farrell and "Providence" info
Few actors can claim the distinction of starring in a television series as critically and commercially successful as "M*A*S*H." But, even fewer have chosen to commit themselves so actively to the human rights and public service causes that are Mike Farrell's passion.
"It's all about valuing people," says Farrell, who was named Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees after trips to Bosnia and Somalia. "Most of us are trying to make the world into the place we want, deserve and expect it to be. But things don't just happen for the better if you sit back and do nothing.
"Farrell's charitable endeavors include serving as the spokesperson for CONCERN/America, an international refugee aid and development organization, co-chair of Human Rights Watch in California and board president of Death Penalty Focus. He is also a member of the California State Commission on Judicial Performance.
Farrell was born in South St. Paul, Minnesota, and moved with his family to West Hollywood when he was 2. His father worked as a studio carpenter and his classmates included Natalie Wood, Ricky Nelson and other celebrities of the age, but he was then too shy to pursue acting. After high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Marines. Once discharged, a buddy confronted him about his itch to act and took him to workshops.
It was a defining moment for Farrell. Slowly, he picked up work (including a brief line in "The Graduate"), but his first breakthrough came as a cast regular on NBC's "Days of Our Lives." Two years later, he co-starred on "The Interns" series followed by another role in "The Man and the City" (starring Anthony Quinn) in 1971. After working under contract to Universal, he began his 1975-83 stint as Captain B.J. Hunnicut in "M*A*S*H."
Farrell now co-owns a TV/film production company. Among his TV movies, he co-produced "Memorial Day;" starred in "Choices of the Heart," "Vanishing Act," "Vows of Seduction" and "Private Sessions;" directed "Run Till You Fall" and produced and starred in "Incident at Dark River," "The Whereabouts of Jenny" and "Sins of the Mind." Among his feature films, he produced "Dominick and Eugene" and "Patch Adams." He portrayed President John Kennedy in PBS' "JFK Ð A One-Man Show," toured in the one-man play "Clarence Darrow" and has hosted many wildlife TV specials.
On "Providence," Farrell's first regular series in 16 years, he plays a veterinarian whose relationship with his grown children changes when his wife dies. "He's one of those quiet men who have more strength than they realize," he says. "But he let his own desires be sublimated because of his wife's assertiveness, and now he's undergoing a metamorphosis."
Farrell, who has two adult children, is married to actress Shelley Fabares. He enjoys reading and cross-country motorcycling. His birthday is February 6.