‘M*A*S*H’: After Starring with Andy Griffith in Breakout Movie, Jamie Farr Was Drafted into U.S. Army

by Anna Dunn
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M*A*S*H star Jamie Farr is known for his portrayal of Maxwell Q. Klinger on the hit series. However, his early career was put on a serious hold when he was drafted into the U.S Army.

The actor had just starred alongside Andy Griffith in a role where he ironically played a soldier. He wound up becoming a soldier himself, but of a different rank.

In a 2020 interview with We are The Mighty, the actor detailed what it was like going from playing a soldier to then actually reporting to duty.

“I was drafted into the Army and it was an inopportune time for me as my career was taking off. The last movie I could take part in before heading off to the Army was No Time for Sergeants where I played Lt. Gardelli,” he said.

“My hope was that the movie took a while to come out because I was a private in the Army. But [I was] a lieutenant in the movie so people would think I was demoted. I reported the next day after filming wrapped to the Army recruiting station.”

After serving for two years, Farr had a hard time in Hollywood. The business moves quickly and had seemed to move on from him. That’s when he went to his infamous buddy Red Skelton who quickly took him under his wing.

He still struggled after that until he ultimately found major success on M*A*S*H. Klinger wasn’t intended to be as big of a part of the series as he was, but production found Farr so funny, that they just had to keep him on board.

Farr Once Described the ‘M*A*S*H’ Finale as Bittersweet

A series finale can make or break the legacy of a show. For M*A*S*H, the finale cemented its legacy in entertainment history. The finale is still the most-watched live scripted television episode of all time by a long shot.

Farr told MeTV.com that shooting the finale was quite bittersweet. Not only was he saying goodbye to a job, but he was saying goodbye to coming to work with close friends. Apparently, there was a lot of crying and hugging behind the scenes.

“It was like severing something that – you wanted it to end because you know it had to end. But at the same time, it was something that you didn’t want secretly to end,” he said. “You wish it could go on forever because it was your life. It was part of your everyday existence.”

But while the show had to end, the memories of their time together live on in those 11 priceless seasons. Despite its age, M*A*S*H remains a popular TV show, with people watching it, discovering it, and analyzing it decades after the infamous finale.

Outsider.com