“M*A*S*H” and “Bonanza” were two very different shows, but they have some surprising things in common. For instance, can you guess which character “M*A*S*H” star Mike Farrell played on the iconic Western?
Farrell, who played B.J. Hunnicutt on “M*A*S*H,” portrayed yet another doctor on “Bonanza,” this one not quite so upbeat and freewheeling.
In the episode “The Hidden Enemy,” Farrell played Dr. James Wills, a talented new doctor who arrives in town and promises to bring cutting-edge medical procedures with him. But Wills is addicted to morphine and his time in the town brings trouble and, ultimately, tragedy, per IMDb.
‘M*A*S*H’ Vet Mike Farrell Also Worked with Robin Williams
In a 2020 interview with Studio 10, Farrell talked about his time on “M*A*S*H” and other projects he worked on following the hit series. He noted that “M*A*S*H” lives on in reruns, so much so that people who watched the show with their grandparents can now watch it with their grandchildren.
“The legacy of the show is ongoing and undying, I think,” Farrell said.
One of those post-“M*A*S*H” projects was the movie “Patch Adams,” starring Robin Williams. Farrell said that while he was unhappy with how the movie turned out, he couldn’t fault Williams’s performance, and he was heartbroken by the news of the actor and comic’s death.
“The first time I met him, he was quiet and calm and thoughtful,” Farrell recalled. “And there was none of the gags, none of the jokes, none of the impressions, none of that stuff. So he was capable of all of that. There’s a kind of genius in Robin that he was able to channel. My wife worked with him a couple of times. And he was irrepressible.”
Watch the full interview here:
Farrell Says Classic Show Was the Highlight of His Acting Experience
While Farrell surely enjoyed his time on “Bonanza,” he will always look back on “M*A*S*H” as the highlight of his career. The veteran actor still tears up when discussing the show’s final episode, and he was emphatically grateful on the subject of the opportunity to act in “M*A*S*H.”
“It makes me very proud, I must say,” Farrell said. “It also humbles me greatly. I’m hugely indebted to the people that made it possible for me to be part of that show. And I’m hugely indebted to the people who embraced me and helped me be part of that show. I will never forget it. I will always think of it as the gem of my theatrical experience.”
So today’s television audiences have two chances to see Farrell act on hit shows: his starring role on “M*A*S*H,” and, if they’re watching closely, his brief appearance on “Bonanza,” another television classic.