Michael Joseph Farrell was born on February 6, 1939 in St. Paul, Minnesota. At the age of 2 a move to Hollywood, where his father’s work as a studio carpenter provided young Mike’s first glimpse of the world behind the studio walls, began his fascination with the “movies, one he has never fully lost.
After graduating from Hollywood High and a hitch in the Marines, he worked a number of jobs – including a stint as private investigator – while pursuing a career as an actor, beginning with small parts in films like “The Graduate” and “The Americanization of Emily”.
Stage roles and small parts on TV eventually landed him in the soap “Days of Our Lives”, where he starred as Scott Banning for two years. “Days” was followed by leading roles in two series, “The Interns,” with Broderick Crawford, and “The Man and The City,” with Anthony Quinn. The latter involved a seven-year contract with Universal Pictures.
Mike is best known for playing Captain B.J. Hunnicutt in the ever popular series M*A*S*H. His eight years with the memorable show allowed the opportunity to both write and direct several episodes, earning him nominations for Director’s Guild and Emmy Awards.
His first production experience outside of M*A*S*H was the CBS-TV film
“Memorial Day”, in which he starred opposite Shelley Fabares, Danny Glover and Robert Walden.
On the documentary front, among many others, Farrell co-hosted “Saving the Wildlife” for PBS, hosted “The Best of the National Geographic Specials” and had a great adventure scuba diving with his children, Michael and Erin, among hundreds of sharks in French Polynesia for “The World of Audubon”.
On December 31, 1984 Mike married actress Shelley Fabares (star of ABC-TVs “Coach”) Partnering with his friend Marvin Minoff, he formed ‘Farrell/Minoff productions’ Farrell/Minoff’s first production was the feature film “Dominick and Eugene”, starring Tom Hulce, Ray Liotta and Jamie Lee Curtis. After following that with a number of TV movies, one of their more noteworthy productions was “Patch Adams”, starring Robin Williams.
Beyond the film industry, Mike is a very active and outspoken citizen. Promoting human rights and prison reform and opposing the death penalty are his prime concerns, making him a regular lecturer to interested audiences.
In 1996 Mike was presented the Valentine Davies Award by the Writers Guild of America, given to members: “whose contribution to the entertainment industry and the community-at-large have brought dignity and honor to writers everywhere.”
In February 1998 he was appointed to a three-year term on the Commission on Judicial Performance, an 11 member California State Commission that adjudicates complaints against judges.
Sixteen years after the end of M*A*S*H, NBC-TV offered him “Providence,” where he played veterinarian Jim Hansen with cast-mates Melina Kanakaredes, Concetta Tomei, Paula Cale and Seth Peterson.
In 2002 Mike was elected First Vice President of the Screen Actors Guild in Los Angeles and served three years in that capacity.
In 2004 he received the Donald Wright Award from California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, only the third time in its 28 year history that the award has been presented to a recipient who was neither a lawyer nor a judge.
While continuing to work on stage and screen, he still makes time to travel and lecture. When given the chance, Mike loves to read, spend time with his wife and kids and loves cross-country motorcycling. His bike trips have crisscrossed, amongst others, the US, Canada, Australia and Europe.
Mike Farrell has been represented by Innovative Artists and Shelter Entertainment for many years.