From a young age, M*A*S*H star Mike Farrell was “smitten” with the military. So as soon as he graduated high school, he enlisted in the Marines. And he remembers his time in uniform fondly.
Mike Farrell played Captain B.J. Hunnicutt of the U.S. Army on M*A*S*H. And his on-screen military knowledge came from real-life experiences. He actually served in the Marine Corps from 1957 to 1959.
In an interview with We Are the Mighty, Farrell said that his time in service shaped his entire life and career. And he’s proud to have been a Marine. But his “proudest achievement” of all was when he graduated as the Honor Man in his Corps platoon.
During Bootcamp, the platoon drill instructors choose one recruit who best exemplifies the highest traditions of the Marine Corps. So it was kind of a big deal when Farrell became that recruit. And to this day, he carries the honor with pride.
“I still have the Dress Blues hanging in my closet,” he shared. “I weigh the same as when I got out of Bootcamp. So I probably can still fit in them.”
And he added that all service members should be proud to have even made it through basic training.
“Completing the Marine Corps Bootcamp itself is a hell of an accomplishment,” he concluded.
‘M*A*S*H’: How B.J. Hunnicutt Actor Mike Farrell Emotionally Dealt With the Show Ending
During his years with the series, Farrell grew close to his co-stars and to the show’s message. Farrell served in the military shortly before the U.S. joined the Vietnam War. So, he understood the plight of the soldier.
Because of those reasons, filming the last episode of M*A*S*H was an emotional experience for the actor. Decades later, Farrell still gets misty-eyed when he thinks about his last day on set. And he detailed the experience during a June interview with MeTV.
“We went through this thing knowing this will be the last time I’ll ever stand here,” Farrell remembered. “This is the last opportunity I’m going to have to say goodbye to these characters.”
“At one point, I think it was the director, who said I’ve never had to tell actors to not cry so much in my life. Stop. Crying,” Farrell laughed.
The director then went on to tell the actors that they needed to hold it together to the fans could get the perfect series closer. “‘You’re letting the audience have the experience, don’t have the experience yourself.’ So we sucked it up and managed to get through it.”