Michael Joseph Farrell Jr.
February 6, 1939
Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
|Service/||United States Marine Corps|
|Years of service||1957–1959|
|Unit||3rd Marine Division|
Michael Joseph Farrell Jr. (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). Farrell was a producer of Patch Adams (1998) starring Robin Williams, and starred in the television series Providence (1999–2002). He is also an activist and public speaker for various political causes.
Farrell, one of four children, was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, the son of Agnes Sarah Cosgrove and Michael Joseph Farrell.
When he was two years old, his family moved from South St. Paul to Hollywood, California, where his father worked as a carpenter on film sets. Farrell attended West Hollywood Grammar School in the same class as fellow actor Natalie Wood, and graduated from Hollywood High School. He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1957 to 1959. After being discharged, he worked at various jobs before becoming an actor.
During the 1960s, Farrell guest-starred in a few series. Notable roles included playing a young US Forest Service ranger in the Lassie episode "Never Look Back" (February 1967), Federal Agent Modell in the episode "Monkee Chow Mein" on The Monkees in 1967; as a bellhop (uncredited) in The Graduate in 1967; astronaut Arland in the episode "Genie, Genie, Who's Got the Genie?" on I Dream of Jeannie; an Army doctor in the episode "The Bankroll" of Combat!; and an ex-high school friend turned famous actor of Chet Kincaid in The Bill Cosby Show.
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, Mannix, Marcus Welby, M.D., The Six Million Dollar Man and The New Land; and starred in a television pilot with Jane Wyman, which did not sell.
In the early 1970s, Farrell guest starred in the television western drama Bonanza and did a number of commercials as a spokesman for Maytag dryers and Plymouth automobiles among other products.
Farrell's big break came in 1975 when Wayne Rogers departed M*A*S*H at the end of the third season. Farrell was recruited for the newly created role of B.J. Hunnicutt, along with series lead Harry Morgan, who replaced McLean Stevenson, also at the end of the third season. Morgan had 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). Farrell stayed with the series for its remaining eight years on the air. During that time, he wrote five episodes and directed four.
Since M*A*S*H, Farrell has guest-starred in Murder, She Wrote; Justice League; Desperate Housewives; and many others. Farrell voiced Jonathan Kent in Superman: The Animated Series (1996) with wife Shelley Fabares voicing Martha Kent.
Farrell hosted several National Geographic Presents specials and starred in a number of television films, including 1983's Memorial Day, which he co-produced. He did two one-man shows: JFK, a One Man Show for PBS and, on stage, a national tour of David W. Rintels' play Clarence Darrow.
In 1985, Farrell partnered with film and television producer Marvin Minoff to create Farrell/Minoff Productions, a production company. Together, Farrell and Minoff produced numerous television films. In 1986, the company had signed a deal with The Walt Disney Studios wherein the Farrell/Minoff company would develop motion pictures and television properties.
Farrell and Minoff executive produced Dominick and Eugene, a 1988 Orion Pictures film that 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 partnership lasted more than 25 years until Minoff's death in November 2009.
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. Farrell appeared in 64 of the 96 episodes.
He appeared as Milton Lang, the father of Victor Lang (John Slattery), husband of Gabrielle Solis (Eva Longoria) on Desperate Housewives (2007–08).
He was seen in the season 10 episode "Persona" of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. He appeared as the character Fred Jones in the season 8 episode "Hunteri Heroici" of Supernatural. In 2014 he was a supporting cast member on the Sundance TV Network criminal drama series The Red Road. He portrayed Lee Miglin, a real estate baron who fell victim to serial killer Andrew Cunanan, in FX's anthology series American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace. Most recently, he appeared in NCIS, playing the role of Judge Miles Deakin in the episode "Judge, Jury..." and "...and Executioner."
Even before he was well known, Farrell was an activist for many political and social causes. He was co-chair of the California Human Rights Watch for ten years, was on the Board of Advisors of the original Cult Awareness Network, and has been president of Death Penalty Focus for more than 10 years, being the first person to be awarded its Human Rights Award, subsequently named after him in 2006. He received PETA's Humanitarian Award in 2001, and narrated a public service campaign for them about animal abuse.
In 1985, Farrell was in Central America, helping refugees from the civil war in El Salvador. A guerrilla commander, Nidia Diaz, had been taken prisoner. She needed surgery, but no Salvadoran doctor would help her, so Medical Aid for El Salvador recruited a foreign doctor. Farrell was present as an observer for Amnesty International but was, in his words, "shanghaied into assisting with the surgery" when the doctor said his help was needed. The in-prison surgery was successful and Diaz went on to be one of the signatories of the Chapultepec Peace Accords, the peace treaty ending the war.
Farrell has been active in the Screen Actors Guild. In 2002 he was elected first vice president of the Guild in Los Angeles and served in the post for three years.
In 2006, Farrell appeared with Jello Biafra and Keith Gordon in the documentary Whose War?, examining the U.S. role in the Iraq War. He also served on the advisory board of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
In 2014, Farrell workshopped a play by George Shea which brought Charles David Keeling and his scientific work on atmospheric CO2 emissions to life.
In 2016, after the US presidential election of Donald Trump, Farrell appeared in a commercial to urge Republican electors to block Trump from becoming president by having 37 electors change their vote in the Electoral College from Trump to John Kasich.
Farrell wrote an autobiography, Just Call Me Mike: A Journey to Actor and Activist (Akashic Books, ISBN 1-9333-5408-9), published in 2007. The book covers his working-class childhood in West Hollywood, his break into show business, his personal life, and his increasing involvement in politics and the human rights movement in the United States, Cambodia, and Latin America. His second book, Of Mule and Man (2009, Akashic Books, ISBN 1-9333-5475-5), is a journal of his five-week, 9,000-mile drive around the U.S. to promote the paperback edition of his first book.
In August 1963, Farrell married actress Judy Hayden, who was working as a high school English and drama teacher in Laguna Beach, California. They were separated in 1980 and divorced in 1983. They have two children, Michael and Erin. On M*A*S*H, Hunnicutt's daughter also was named Erin. Also on M*A*S*H, in the episode "The Colonel's Horse" (season 5, episode 12), a phone call is placed to Hunnicutt's father-in-law, Floyd Hayden, Hayden being the maiden name of Judy, Farrell's wife. He lives in Quapaw, Oklahoma, Judy's birthplace. Judy Farrell also acted on M*A*S*H from 1976 to 1983 as Nurse Able.
On December 31, 1984, he married actress Shelley Fabares.
At the start of M*A*S*H's seventh season, Farrell grew a Walrus moustache for the B.J. Hunnicutt character even though such a moustache below the upper lip was then as now a clear violation of Army uniform guidelines, especially when left untrimmed. The normally clean-shaven Farrell grew it out for the character, as well as fashion trends at the time made the moustache in general popular for the first time since the beginning of the 20th century due in part due to fellow actors such as Burt Reynolds and Tom Selleck, as well as The Mustache Gang of the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball. While Farrell would retain the moustache for the B.J. character for the rest of the series and saw a rise in acting jobs because of it, Farrell himself quickly grew tired of it and did not want to be typecast with "B.J.-like roles" for the rest of his career. Farrell would shave it off immediately after the series ended, returning to a clean-shaven look afterwards.
|1963||Captain Newman, M.D.||Patient||Uncredited|
|1967||The Graduate||Bellhop in Hotel Lobby||Uncredited|
|1968||Panic in the City||Dick Blaine||Credited as Michael Farrell|
|1968||Targets||Man in Phonebooth|
|1968||Dayton's Devils||Voucher Captain|
|1969||Worthy to Stand||Fred Washburn||Short film|
|1976||Doomsday Machine||1st Reporter|
|1981||El Salvador: Another Vietnam||Narrator|
|1983||Citizen: The Political Life of Allard K. Lowenstein||—||Executive producer|
|1988||Dominick and Eugene||—||Producer|
|1995||The Killers Within||Congressman Clayton|
|1996||Hanged on a Twisted Cross||Dietrich Bonhoeffer|
|2006||Superman: Brainiac Attacks||Jonathan Kent||Voice, direct-to-video|
|2007||Out at the Wedding||Father of the Bride|
|1963||The Dick Powell Theatre||Young Couple Boy||Credited as Michael Farrell|
|1963||McHale's Navy||The Gunner||Episode: "Washing Machine Charlie"|
|1963||Ensign O'Toole||Ferguson||Episode: "Operation: Physical"|
|1966||Combat!||Doctor||Episode: "The Bankroll"|
|1967||The Monkees||Agent Modell||Episode: "Monkees Chow Mein"|
|1967||Iron Horse||Debuy||Episode: "The Return of Hode Avery"; uncredited|
|1967||Custer||First Trooper||Episode: "Desperate Mission"|
|1967||Garrison's Gorillas||The Captain||Episode: "Black Market"|
|1967–1969||Lassie||Ranger / Joe||3 episodes|
|1967–1974||Ironside||Len Parsons / Bellhop||2 episodes|
|1968||I Dream of Jeannie||Astronaut Arland||Episode: "Genie, Genie, Who's Got the Genie: Part 3"|
|1968||Daniel Boone||Johnson||Episode: "The Spanish Fort"|
|1968||Judd for the Defense||Police Lieutenant / Employment Clerk||2 episodes|
|1968||This Is the Life||unknown role||Episode: "Happiness is Dirty Hands"|
|1968–1970||Days of Our Lives||Scott Banning||Series regular (157 episodes)|
|1969||The Name of the Game||Reporter||Episode: "The Inquiry"; uncredited|
|1969||The Bill Cosby Show||Al Socconis||Episode: "A Word from Our Sponsor"|
|1970||Mannix||Clay Riegles||Episode: "Blind Mirror"|
|1970–1971||The Interns||Dr. Sam Marsh||Series regular (24 episodes)|
|1971||Sarge||Steve||Episode: "A Terminal Case of Vengeance"|
|1971–1972||The Man and the City||Andy Hays||Series regular (15 episodes)|
|1971–1973||Love, American Style||The Young Man / Jack||2 episodes|
|1972||The Bold Ones: The New Doctors||Dr. Vic Wheelwright||Episode: "Discovery at Fourteen"|
|1972||The Sixth Sense||Dr. Gil Clarke||Episode: "Witch, Witch, Burning Bright"|
|1972||The Longest Night||Willis||Television film|
|1972||Jigsaw||unknown role||Episode: "The Men"|
|1972||Cannon||Ron Cota||Episode: "Stakeout"|
|1972||Bonanza||Dr. James Willis||Episode: "The Hidden Enemy"|
|1972||Circle of Fear||Frank Simmons||Episode: "Elegy for a Vampire"|
|1972||Banacek||Jason Trotter||Episode: "The Greatest Collection of Them All"|
|1972||The Rookies||Frank Essex||Episode: "The Wheel of Death"|
|1972||The Wide World of Mystery||Steven||Episode: "Nightmare Step"|
|1972–1973||Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law||Brad Newman / Blair Cameron||2 episodes|
|1972–1974||Marcus Welby, M.D.||Frank Ferra / Clifford Lorimer||2 episodes|
|1973||She Cried Murder||Walter Stepanic||Television film|
|1974||The Questor Tapes||Jerry Robinson||Television film|
|1974||Live Again, Die Again||James Carmichael||Television film|
|1974||The New Land||unknown role||Episode: "The World Is: Persistence"|
|1974||The Million Dollar Man||David Tate||Episode: "The Pioneers"|
|1974||Harry O||Cole Harris||Episode: "Material Witness"|
|1975||Ladies of the Corridor||Paul Osgood||Television film|
|1975–1980||Dinah!||Himself (Guest)||5 episodes|
|1976–1977||The Hollywood Squares||Himself (Panelist)||3 episodes|
|1976–1979||The $25,000 Pyramid||Himself (Celebrity Contestant)||5 episodes|
|1977–1977||Tattletales||Himself (Panelist)||6 episodes|
|1975–1983||M*A*S*H*||Captain B.J. Hunnicutt||Series regular (179 episodes)|
Writer (4 episodes)
Story by (1 episode)
Teleplay by (1 episode)
Written by (2 episodes)
|1976||McNaughton's Daughter||Colin Pierce||Miniseries|
|1976–1984||The $10,000 Pyramid||Himself (Celebrity Contestant)||49 episodes|
|1978||Battered||Michael Hawks||Television film|
|1979||Sex and the Single Parent||George||Television film|
|1979||Letters from Frank||Richard Miller||Television film|
|1979||Ebony, Ivory and Jade||—||Television film; writer|
|1979–1980||The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson||Himself (Guest)||2 episodes|
|1980||Father Damien: The Leper Priest||Robertson||Television film|
|1982||Prime Suspect||Frank Staplin||Television film|
|1982||The Merv Griffin Show||Himself (Guest)||Episode: "01.22.1982"|
|1982||The Regis Philbin Show||Himself (Guest)||Episode: "#1.81"|
|1983||Memorial Day||Matt Walker||Television film; also executive producer|
|1983||Choices of the Heart||Ambassador Robert E. White||Television film|
|1984||J.F.K.: A One-Man Show||John Fitzgerald Kennedy||Television film|
|1984||The $25,000 Pyramid||Himself (Celebrity Contestant)||5 episodes|
|1985||Private Sessions||Dr. Joe Braden||Television film|
|1986||Vanishing Act||Harry Kenyon||Television film|
|1989||A Deadly Silence||Attorney Gianelli||Television film|
|1989||Incident at Dark River||Tim McFall||Television film|
Also executive producer and writer
|1990||Coach||Jeffrey||Episode: "A Jerk at the Opera"|
|1990||Murder, She Wrote||Drew Borden||Episode: "The Family Jewels"|
|1990||Frederick Forsyth Presents||Joe Roth||Episode: "The Price of the Bride"|
|1991||The Whereabouts of Jenny||Van Zandy||Television film|
|1991||Matlock||Judge David Bennett||2 episodes|
|1991||Silent Movie||Detective Paul Trella||Television film; also producer|
|1994||Hart to Hart: Old Friends Never Die||Frank Crane||Television film|
|1994||An Evening at the Improv||Himself (Host)||Episode: "Mike Farrell/John Pinette/Bruce Gold, and more!"|
|1995||The Monroes||Tustin||3 episodes|
|1996||Vows of Deception||Clay Spencer||Television film|
|1996–1999||Superman: The Animated Series||Jonathan Kent||Voice, recurring role (9 episodes)|
|1997||Sins of the Mind||William||Voice, television film; also executive producer|
|1997–2003||Biography||Himself (Interviewee)||2 episodes|
|1999||Jeopardy!||Himself (Celebrity Contestant)||"S15 EP #184"|
|1999||The Vatican Revealed||Narrator||Television film|
|1999–2002||Providence||Dr. James Hansen||Series regular (96 episodes)|
|2000||The 70s: The Decade That Changed Television||Himself (Host)||Television film|
|2002||M*A*S*H*: 30th Anniversary Reunion||Himself||Television film; also executive producer|
|2003||The Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth About Enron||Kenneth Lay||Television film|
|2003||Justice League||Jonathan Kent||Voice, episode: "Comfort and Joy"|
|2004||The Clinic||Dr. Cyrus Gachet||Television film|
|2004||Justice League Unlimited||Jonathan Kent, Brainiac||Voice, episode: "For the Man Who Has Everything"|
|2005||Locusts||Lyle Rierden||Television film|
|2005||Larry King Live||Himself (Guest)||1 episode|
|2006||E! True Hollywood Story||Himself (Interviewee)||Episode: "Michael J. Fox"|
|2007||Smith||Dr. Breen||unknown episode|
|2007–2008||Desperate Housewives||Milton Lang||3 episodes|
|2008||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Jonah Malcolm||Episode: "Persona"|
|2009||Without a Trace||Ross Baldwin||Episode: "Hard Landing"|
|2009||Ghost Whisperer||Bill Jett||Episode: "Do Over"|
|2010||Miami Medical||Dr. Carl Willis||Episode: "Golden Hour"|
|2012||Supernatural||Fred Jones||Episode: "Hunteri Heroici"|
|2014–2015||The Red Road||David Rogers||7 episodes|
|2018||American Crime Story||Lee Miglin||2 episodes|
|2019||NCIS||Judge Miles Deakin||2 episodes|
|Year||Title||Accolade / Category||Results||Ref|
|1980||M*A*S*H*||Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy or Variety or Music Series (for playing B.J. Hunnicutt)||Nominated|||
|1982||M*A*S*H*||Directors Guild Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series (for episode "Death Takes a Holiday")||Nominated|
|1981||M*A*S*H*||Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series (for episode "Death Takes a Holiday")||Nominated|||
|1982||The Body Human: Becoming a Man||Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in Children's Programming||Nominated|
|2003||—||Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Award for Humanitarian Award||Won|
|2009||M*A*S*H*||TV Land Award for Impact Award (shared with Alan Alda, Allan Arbus, William Christoper, Larry Gelbert, Jeff Maxwell, Burt Metcalfe, Gene Reynolds, David Odgen Stiers, Loretta Swit, Kellye Nakahara)||Won|
|2018||American Crime Story||Gold Derby Award for Ensemble of the Year (shared with Joanna Adler, Annaleigh Ashford, Jon Jon Briones, Darren Criss, Penelope Cruz, Jay R. Ferguson, Cody Fern, Max Greenfield, Judith Light, Ricky Martin, Dascha Polanco, Edgar Ramirez, Finn Wittrock)||Nominated|
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