In 1995, M*A*S*H star Jamie Farr opened up about why none of the cast members had written a memoir about their time on the hit TV show.
Farr, who is best known for his role as Corporal Max Klinger, was a fan favorite of the wildly popular ’70s and ’80s television show. His goofy, cross-dressing character forever tried (and failed) to get a Section 8 discharge from the military.
Considering the success of M*A*S*H, you’d think someone in the cast would have written about their experiences. However, Farr was the first to come out with a biography. More than a decade after M*A*S*H ended in 1983, Farr released Just Farr Fun – a memoir of his acting and Broadway career.
During a May 1995 interview, Farr was asked why none of the cast had written a memoir until now. At first, Farr shared a hilariously simple answer. He joked that the cast couldn’t read or write.
“Because they’re illiterate!” Jamie Farr said with a laugh about the cast of M*A*S*H.
Farr wanted to share some of his “fun” stories from being in show business for 42 years. He thought that most memoirs of the time were too serious, and he wanted his to be more lighthearted.
“I did it because I got tired of reading a bunch of books that everybody was either coming out of the closet or they were abused or they had some kind of substance problem. There was some kind of thing that was going on. You know, I’m tired of these books. I’d like to write a book where you had a lot of fun in the business for 42 years and share your stories. That’s really the reason why I came out with it,” Farr explained.
‘M*A*S*H’ Star Reveals Why He Always Looks Like the ‘Happiest Man in the World’
During the same interview, the reporter asked Farr about his cheery disposition. The M*A*S*H actor explained why he’s happy to wake up each day and keeps a constant smile on his face.
“Well, I don’t know. I never met the second happiest man or the first happiest man. So I can’t judge where I fall into that category,” Farr joked. “But, there was a line, I think it comes from (the movie) Auntie Mame. ‘Life is a banquet and some poor suckers are starving to death.’ That really is basically it. I think it’s great.”
He went on to share an anecdote about an old friend in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio. Farr says her words have stuck with him for years.
“I remember, there’s this Lebanese lady that I dearly loved who raised 13 children back in Toledo and she retired in Phoenix, Arizona. My wife and I used to visit her quite often,” the M*A*S*H star explained. “She said, ‘you know, I get up every morning and say ‘Thank you, God.’ I do the same thing now. There are so many people in my life that are passing away, and you realize, ‘Oh my goodness. I haven’t spent time with them. I haven’t shared some moments.'”
In addition, the actor shared some perspective on valuing the time you have left on this Earth.
“You accumulate a great deal of acquaintances and friendships over the years. And you just can’t always spend as much time as you would like …,” he said. “Sometimes you get a call and, gee, an uncle passed away that you really liked. Or a cousin or somebody else. So each day becomes a little more precious than the day that preceded it.”