‘M*A*S*H’ Actor Jamie Farr Opened Up on Working with Burt Reynolds for ‘Cannonball Run’

by Joe Rutland
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While millions of people know “M*A*S*H” actor Jamie Farr from his TV work, others may remember him from his various film work. Of course, that includes a certain classic with Burt Reynolds

Farr, who played Cpl. Max Klinger on the CBS sitcom, talked about working with Reynolds in “Cannonball Run.”

“Burt Reynolds was a lot of fun to work with,” Farr said in a 2020 interview with We Are The Mighty. “He was very loyal to his acting friends. Charles Durning did projects with Burt and had his friend Ossie Davis.”

Farr, who played the “Sheik” in “Cannonball Run” and its sequels “Cannonball Run II” and “Speed Zone,” compared Reynolds having similar cast members to another movie legend, John Wayne.

“Burt was like the John Wayne players, where he had the same people in his movies like Ward Bond or Paul Fix,” the “M*A*S*H” star said. “Doing his movies was like being at a party. It was a party every single day and [I] didn’t know what was going to come next. Hal Needham was the director of the Cannonball movies, which even made it more fun.”

‘M*A*S*H’ Star Appeared As ‘Sheik’ In Original Movie and Ensuing Sequels

“Cannonball Run” was released in 1981 and based upon a 1979 cross-country outlaw road race that started in Connecticut. It would end in California. Besides Farr and Reynolds, others in that cast included Dom DeLuise, Jackie Chan, Roger Moore, and Farrah Fawcett.

Farr, though, has also appeared in many TV shows beyond “M*A*S*H” in his career. He’s made guest-starring spots in “Hazel,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “The Lucy Show,” “The Andy Griffith Show,” and “Kolchak: The Night Stalker.” That’s just a small list for Farr, who is still alive and well at 87 years old.

“M*A*S*H” gave Farr something he’d sought for a long time in his acting career: stability. He originally was working for comedian Red Skelton under a personal services contract. That meant he’d only work for Skelton, but that experience helped catapult him even further in his career.

Farr’s Role Originally Was Just Supposed To Be A One-Day Job

The whole Klinger role actually was supposed to be a one-day job. He showed up in a dress and attempted to get out of the Korean War on Section 8. Well, Farr impressed them so much that he returned for a dozen episodes in the second season.

When the fourth season of “M*A*S*H” kicked off on CBS, Farr was there as a full-time cast member. For a bit, Klinger continued wearing dresses and seeking a way out.

But that changed for Farr as he took over the clerk’s role in the 4077th once Gary Burghoff left the show. Klinger became more responsible and showed depth at times. He often wore baseball shirts of his hometown Toledo Mud Hens. Farr really was born in Toledo, Ohio, on July 1, 1934.

Outsider.com