Mike Farrell: Actor to activist
Actor Mike Farrell is best known for his portrayal of B.J. Hunnicutt on the long-running TV show, M*A*S*H. But for years, he's been making a name for himself as an advocate for human rights.
St. Paul, Minn. — It's dangerous to predict that any record will never be broken. But in the entertainment world, few things are more certain than the superlative affixed to the final episode of the TV series M*A*S*H.
When the sitcom about a group of doctors and nurses enduring the Korean War ended in 1983, sixty percent of households in the U.S. tuned in to watch. That makes it the highest-rated television program of all time.
In our age of cable, satellite TV and the Internet, the fragmentation makes that record virtually unbeatable.
The TV show M*A*S*H ran for 11 years, almost four times as long as the war it depicted. The characters on M*A*S*H were multi-dimensional, flawed, funny and likable.
Actor Mike Farrell portrayed B.J. Hunnicutt for the last eight seasons of the show. The role propelled him from soap opera and sitcom obscurity to a Hollywood star.
But even during the run of M*A*S*H, Farrell was making a name for himself as an advocate for human rights around the world.
He works closely now with Concern America, a refugee and foreign development agency and is also an outspoken critic of the death penalty here in the U.S.
Mike Farrell has just written his autobiography, "Just Call Me Mike: A Journey to Actor and Activist."
Though he grew up in Hollywood, he was born in South St. Paul. MPR's Tom Crann talked with Farrell about his career as an actor and an activist.
- All Things Considered, 04/06/2007, 4:50 p.m.