Jamie Farr

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Jamie Farr
JamieFarrHWOFSept2012.jpg
Farr in September 2012
Born Jameel Joseph Farah
(1934-07-01) July 1, 1934 (age 80)
Toledo, Ohio, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1955–present
Spouse(s) Joy Ann Richards (1963–present) 2 children

Jamie Farr (born Jameel Joseph Farah, July 1, 1934)[1] is an American television, film, and theater actor. He is best known for having played the role of cross-dressing Corporal (later Sergeant) Maxwell Q. Klinger in the CBS television sitcom M*A*S*H.

Early life[edit]

Farr was born in Toledo, Ohio, to Lebanese-American parents Jamelia M. (née Abodeely), a seamstress, and Samuel N. Farah, a grocer.[2][3] He and his family attended Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Toledo.[4] This church is under the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. This diocese in turn is part of the ancient Christian Holy See known as the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, which is in communion with all the Orthodox Churches of the world -- not the Catholic church.

Farr’s first acting success occurred at age 11, when he won two dollars in a local acting contest. After Woodward High School, where he was one of the standouts among his class, Farr attended the Pasadena Playhouse where a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer talent scout discovered him, offering him a screen-test for Blackboard Jungle. He won the role of the mentally challenged student, Santini. With the encouragement of his Toledo mentor, Danny Thomas (who had a lot in common with him), he decided to become an actor.[5]

Career[edit]

Farr’s first film roles were in 1955 in Blackboard Jungle (billed as Jameel Farah) and as a fruit vendor in Kismet (uncredited). After this, he joined the United States Army for two years, with service in Japan and Korea.

Although Farr was off to a promising start, roles were infrequent for the young actor, and he was cast as a delivery person, a post office clerk, an army surplus store clerk, an airlines reservations agent, and as an employee at a chinchilla ranch, all in all not very crediting roles. In 1958, Warner Brothers cast him as an airman in the Andy Griffith military comedy No Time for Sergeants, which also brought the young TV comic Don Knotts to motion pictures. Farr appeared as Thaddaeus in the 1965 film The Greatest Story Ever Told, along with minor roles in Who’s Minding the Mint? and With Six You Get Eggroll.

Farr began to carve out his niche in television when, in the late 1950s, he became a regular on The Red Skelton Show before becoming a second banana with Harvey Korman on The Danny Kaye Show. Farr also appeared on The Dick Van Dyke Show and was a regular on the gangster-comedy series The Chicago Teddy Bears (featuring Huntz Hall). Farr also worked in TV commercials, including a memorable spot for Wonder Bread (as a vendor who says, “If it isn’t fresh, I’m outa business!”).

On the game show Stumpers!, 1976

He was hired for one day’s work as “Corporal Klinger” on the M*A*S*H episode “Chief Surgeon Who?”. His character wore dresses to try to convince the army that he was crazy and he deserved a Section 8 discharge. Comedy writer and playwright Larry Gelbart has said that comedian Lenny Bruce’s attempt to be released from military service in World War II by dressing in a WAVES uniform was the original inspiration for the character of Klinger on the sitcom. He was asked back for a dozen episodes in the second season and he became a regular in the third. Eventually, his character gave up wearing women’s clothing (after a lecture from Colonel Sherman Potter, explaining how a Section 8 discharge would adversely affect his life). Like most of the characters on M*A*S*H, Corporal Klinger matured as the years passed. He gradually progressed from being a cross-dressing visual joke, and became a more sensitive and resourceful character.

His favorite episodes are "Officer of the Day" and "Big Mac".[6]

Farr and co-stars Harry Morgan and William Christopher spent two years starring in AfterMASH, the sequel that explored how civilian life treated their characters. While working on M*A*S*H, Farr also appeared in Cannonball Run and Cannonball Run II (his appearance in 1989's Speed Zone makes him the only actor to appear in all three Cannonball Run films.)

Farr appeared as a panelist on several game shows, including: The $25,000 Pyramid, Super Password, The Gong Show, Body Language, Match Game/Hollywood Squares Hour, Wordplay, The $1.98 Beauty Show, The Magnificent Marble Machine, Tattletales and others.

He appeared in several made-for-TV movies, such as Murder Can Hurt You, Return of the Rebels, and For Love or Money; he also guest-starred in Kolchak: The Night Stalker.

Farr endorsed the U.S. Mars bar in commercials during the 1980s and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1985.

He was a regular judge, with Arte Johnson and Jaye P. Morgan, on The Gong Show.

Farr in September 2007

In the 1990s, Farr (and Nathan Lane) played the role of Nathan Detroit in a Broadway revival of Guys and Dolls. Farr is still active in regional theater and guest-stars occasionally on TV series.

Since 1984, he has hosted an annual women's professional golf tournament on the LPGA tour, the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic, presented by Kroger, Owens Corning and O-I in Sylvania, Ohio (a Toledo suburb). The tournament has raised over $6.5 million for local children's charities.

On Memorial Day 2007, Farr hosted a multi-episode presentation of M*A*S*H on the Hallmark Channel. The featured episodes showcased Farr's performances on the show, with Farr providing commentary during the commercial breaks.

Farr, Chuck Woolery, and Bob Eubanks were rotating hosts of the $250,000 Game Show Spectacular at the Las Vegas Hilton until the show ended in April 2008.[7]

On July 17, 2008, Farr and Anita Gillette opened "Flamingo Court," a three-act play at the New World Theaters in New York City.

Farr hosts a daily radio travel feature called "Travelin' Farr."[8]

Personal life[edit]

Farr's autobiography is titled Just Farr Fun.

After his role in the 1955 film Blackboard Jungle, he entered the United States Army for two years, serving overseas in Japan and Korea. His service in Korea was after the hostilities had ended.[9] In his M*A*S*H role as Max Klinger, he can be seen wearing his actual issued set of U.S. Army dog tags.

The park where Farr used to hang out when he was younger was renamed "Jamie Farr Park" in his honor on July 5, 1998. About the park, he said, "I wanted to be an actor, a famous actor, and I wanted my hometown of Toledo, Ohio, to be proud of me." Farr spoke to about four hundred admirers and was quoted in The New York Post: "Jamie Farr Park is certainly a highlight of my life and career."

Further exemplifying Farr's love of Toledo was his frequent mention of Tony Packo's hot dogs, a Toledo staple, on M*A*S*H. He also was shown in two episodes as a Toledo Mud Hens fan.

Since 2000, Farr has frequently donated to the Republican National Committee.[10]

Farr has been married to Joy Ann Richards since 1963 and has two children, Jonas and Yvonne. He is also the grandfather of Dorian.

Since the early 1990s, Farr has battled severe rheumatoid arthritis.

In 2003, Farr and his wife wrote a children's story called Hababy's Christmas Eve,[11] which retells the First Christmas from the point of view of the animals.

Other roles[edit]

  • Farr appeared in two episodes, as Theodore in "Panic" (1959) and as Pooch, the ranch hand, in "Two Weeks" (1961), of the ABC western television series, The Rebel starring Nick Adams.
  • Appeared in a first season episode of I Dream of Jeannie.
  • Played a restaurant delivery boy in four early episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show.
  • Made two appearances in the first season of F Troop: an uncredited role as a lackey of Geronimo in the episode "Our Hero. What's His Name?" and a credited role as Standup Bull, a bumbling Native American stand up comic, in the episode "Too Many Cooks Spoil the Troop."
  • An episode of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. has Farr in a bit part as a special effects man.
  • Episode "Boot" of Emergency! (2nd season) had Farr as a patient who has a curse on him and couldn't move his right arm. Dr. Early was able to remove the curse.
  • Played a gypsy named Gracos in an episode of The Andy Griffith Show titled The Gypsies.
  • Starred in two episodes of The Rifleman, the first time under his own name and the second under his adopted name.
  • Guest appearance on The Love Boat.
  • Guest appearance on That '70s Show on the season 5 episode "The Girl I Love."
  • Attended the Miracle on Ice 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey defeat of the Soviet Union (ABC Sports).
  • Hosted the unsold game shows pilots Oddball, Double Up, and Surprise, Surprise, and guest hosted Wordplay for a week in Summer 1987
  • In the 1988 movie Scrooged had a cameo as himself, acting in a movie directed by Bill Murray's character.
  • Played himself in the Family Guy episode "Believe It or Not, Joe's Walking on Air" as a video instructor for leg surgery.
  • Appeared in Diagnosis Murder episode Drill for Death (#5.15) along with several other actors from the movie and TV versions of M*A*S*H.[12]
  • Substituted in 2004 for the ailing Frank Gorshin starring as George Burns in the national tour of the one-man show Say Goodnight, Gracie.[13]
  • Appeared in Lend Me a Tenor at the New Theatre, a dinner theater in Overland Park, Kansas, where he has starred in several plays the last several years.
  • Farr was cast in The Last Romance at Theatre Aquarius in Hamilton, Ontario, in February 2013. He previously appeared at Theatre Aquarius in Tuesdays With Morrie.
  • Played a police officer in The Flying Nun, s02e23, 1967

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Jamie Farr's IMDB Profile". IMDB.com. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  2. ^ "Jamie Farr Biography (1934-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2011-05-17. 
  3. ^ Higdon, Todd G. "‘A wonderful life’ - Neosho, MO". Neosho Daily News. Retrieved 2011-05-17. 
  4. ^ "A soldier in a dress put Toledo into America's living rooms". The Blade, Toledo, Ohio. March 28, 2000.
  5. ^ "My Family". http://www.jamiefarr.com. 
  6. ^ M*A*S*H: The Martinis & Medicine Collection - Special Features: Disc 1 - "My Favorite MASH"
  7. ^ "R.I.P. $250,000 Game Show Spectacular". Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  8. ^ "Travelin Farr". Retrieved 2009-07-17. 
  9. ^ "bio at". Jamiefarr.com. 1934-07-01. Retrieved 2011-05-17. 
  10. ^ "NEWSMEAT ▷ Jamie Farr's Federal Campaign Contribution Report". Newsmeat.com. Retrieved 2011-05-17. 
  11. ^ "Hababy’s Christmas Eve Book". aliceio.com. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  12. ^ Diagnosis Murder. IMDb. Retrieved April 01, 2014.
  13. ^ Say Goodnight, Gracie. rupertholmes.com. Retrieved April 01, 2014.

External links[edit]