Jamie Farr

Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his nearly four-hour Archive interview, actor Jamie Farr describes his childhood in Toledo and his foray into acting. He describes his training at the Pasadena Playhouse, his role in the film Blackboard Jungle, and his extensive work with comedian Red Skelton. Farr speaks of his service during the Korean War, and briefly touches on his many television appearances throughout the 1960s on programs like My Three Sons, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and I Dream of Jeannie. Farr then details the role and show for which he's best known - that of "Maxwell Q. Klinger" on M*A*S*H. He recalls working with the cast and crew members, what a typical production week was like, and comments on specific episodes. He also talks about After MASH, and his involvement with game shows including The Gong Show and Hollywood Squares. Nancy Harrington conducted the interview on December 15, 2011 in Bell Canyon, CA.

"I always tell everybody, 'that's an original character.' Because every time any man put on women's clothing, it was either as a disguise, like in "Some Like it Hot" or "Charley's Aunt", or they're trying to be silly. But nobody had ever put it on and just played it straight, just as a guy. Klinger was an original."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Jamie Farr on cross-dressing as "Klinger" on M*A*S*H and reaction from fans
Jamie Farr on awkward off-camera moments dressed as  M*A*S*H 's "Klinger"
Jamie Farr on the laugh track on M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on the finale of M*A*S*H and creating a real time capsule
Jamie Farr on how his nose helped his career and almost getting a nose job
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early childhood and influences; on how his mother was almost aboard The Titanic; on childhood mishaps
On how he got involved with The Pasadena Playhouse; on rooming with William Holden's cousin; on his first professional acting job in "Mr. Roberts"; on his first time on television
On getting a role in the film Blackboard Jungle; on being in Life magazine
On the pilot for Mighty O; on Sherwood Schwartz looking for a project for Red Skelton and tapping Farr for it; on meeting Red Skelton; on getting drafted and getting several movie roles; on entertaining troops with Red Skelton; on his father's death
On The Red Skelton Show; on his friendship with Red Skelton; on branching out on his own; on meeting his wife
On meeting Carl Reiner; on getting a role in a George Stevens movie The Greatest Story Ever Told and the role's connection to St. Jude and Danny Thomas; on his friendship with Danny Thomas

Chapter 2

On Danny Thomas; on appearing on The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Danny Kaye Show
On guest appearances on My Three Sons, My Favorite Martian, Lucy, Ben Casey, You Are There, and I Dream of Jeannie; on working with Andy Griffith, Charlton Heston and others who always looked out for him; on how the casting business has changed
On writing an episode of Blue Light; on former writing partner, Eddie Carroll (who went on to voice "Jiminy Cricket"); on attending film school while acting on M*A*S*H
On Hy Averback hiring him for the series The Chicago Teddy Bears; on how Hy Averback played a role in getting Farr on M*A*S*H; on auditioning for "Maxwell Q. Klinger" on M*A*S*H
On the premise and scripts of M*A*S*H; on the best night of television ever - Saturday night with All in the Family, M*A*S*H, The Bob Newhart Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and The Carol Burnett Show; on the main characters and "Klinger" recurring on M*A*S*H
On cross-dressing as "Klinger" and his favorite outfits on M*A*S*H

Chapter 3

On his appearance on Insight; on his M*A*S*H character "Klinger's" character traits and background
On on the M*A*S*H episode "The Interview"; on "Klinger" as an iconic character
On a typical production week on M*A*S*H; on working with the cast and crew; on his favorite episodes and directing an episode of M*A*S*H
On the end of M*A*S*H; on the ratings of the final episode; on the show's legacy
On "Klinger's" return in After MASH; on his work on game shows and talk shows

Chapter 4

On his involvement with The Gong Show; on appearances on Match Game, Password, Hollywood Squares, and Super Password
On the original Hollywood Squares; on co-hosting The Mike Douglas Show
On the Cannonball Run films; on negotiating a raise on M*A*S*H
On then-current projects; on advice to aspiring actors; on how his nose helped his career; on his proudest achievement; on how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

AfterMASH

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Jamie Farr on "Klinger's" return in After MASH and the chemistry of the show not being right

All in the Family

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Jamie Farr on the best night of television ever - Saturday night with All in the Family, M*A*S*H, The Bob Newhart Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and The Carol Burnett Show

Ben Casey

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Jamie Farr on his guest appearances on Ben Casey

Blue Knight, The

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Jamie Farr on the miniseries The Blue Knight with William Holden

Bob Hope Specials

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Jamie Farr on a memorable Bob Hope special in which he and Milton Berle wear the same dress

Bob Newhart Show, The (1972-78)

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Jamie Farr on the best night of television ever - Saturday night with All in the Family, M*A*S*H, The Bob Newhart Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and The Carol Burnett Show

Carol Burnett Show, The (1967-78)

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Jamie Farr on the best night of television ever - Saturday night with All in the Family, M*A*S*H, The Bob Newhart Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and The Carol Burnett Show

Danny Kaye Show, The

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Jamie Farr on appearing on The Danny Kaye Show

Dick Van Dyke Show, The

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Jamie Farr on meeting Carl Reiner and getting a part of The Dick Van Dyke Show
Jamie Farr on appearing on The Dick Van Dyke Show

F Troop

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Jamie Farr on how Hy Averback played a role in getting Farr a role on M*A*S*H

Gong Show, The

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Jamie Farr on his involvement with The Gong Show
Jamie Farr on getting asked to do Hollywood Squares just as he finished The Gong Show
Jamie Farr on The Gong Show movie and his multiple appearances on the TV show

Hollywood Squares, The

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Jamie Farr on getting asked to do Hollywood Squares just as he finished The Gong Show
Jamie Farr on the original Hollywood Squares

I Dream of Jeannie

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Jamie Farr on appearing on I Dream of Jeannie

Insight

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Jamie Farr on his appearance on Insight

Lucy Show, The

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Jamie Farr on his guest appearances on Lucy

M*A*S*H

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Jamie Farr on his role on The Red Skelton Show being similar to his role on M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on how Hy Averback played a role in getting Farr a role on M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on the premise of M*A*S*H; on the scripts and characters; on his role as "Maxwell Q. Klinger"
Jamie Farr on cross-dressing as "Klinger" on M*A*S*H and reaction from fans from the "Big Mac" episode
Jamie Farr on his character, "Klinger" on M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on the filming of the finale of M*A*S*H and creating a real time capsule
Jamie Farr on his character, "Klinger's" roots on M*A*S*H (contd.) and his character traits
Jamie Farr on the M*A*S*H episode "The Interview"
Jamie Farr on the M*A*S*H episode "The Interview"
Jamie Farr on a typical production week on M*A*S*H; on the cast and crew
Jamie Farr on the M*A*S*H episode "The Interview"
Jamie Farr on favorite scenes from M*A*S*H episodes
Jamie Farr on directing an episode of M*A*S*H 
Jamie Farr on M*A*S*H coming to an end and the ratings of the final episode and the show's ongoing popularity and legacy
Jamie Farr on negotiating a raise on M*A*S*H

M*A*S*H: "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen"

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Jamie Farr on the filming of the finale of M*A*S*H and creating a real time capsule
Jamie Farr on M*A*S*H coming to an end and the ratings of the final episode and the show's ongoing popularity and legacy

M*A*S*H: "The Interview"

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Jamie Farr on the M*A*S*H episode "The Interview"
Jamie Farr on the M*A*S*H episode "The Interview"
Jamie Farr on the M*A*S*H episode "The Interview"

Mary Tyler Moore Show, The

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Jamie Farr on the best night of television ever - Saturday night with All in the Family, M*A*S*H, The Bob Newhart Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and The Carol Burnett Show

Match Game

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Jamie Farr on his appearances on Match Game

Merv Griffin Show, The

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Jamie Farr on his first (almost) appearance on The Merv Griffin Show

Mike Douglas Show, The

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Jamie Farr on co-hosting The Mike Douglas Show

My Favorite Martian

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Jamie Farr on his guest appearances on My Favorite Martian

My Three Sons

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Jamie Farr on his guest appearances on My Three Sons

Password

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Jamie Farr on his work on game shows
Jamie Farr on loving Password

Red Skelton Show, The

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Jamie Farr on his role on The Red Skelton Show being similar to his role on M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on Sherwood Schwartz writing for The Red Skelton Show
Jamie Farr on his time on The Red Skelton Show

You Are There

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Jamie Farr on appearing on You Are There
Topics

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Jamie Farr on difficulties with the original format of The Gong Show
Jamie Farr on memorable episodes of The Gong Show with Jaye P. Morgan

Characters & Catchphrases

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Jamie Farr on how Larry Gelbart got the inspiration for "Maxwell Q. Klinger" on M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on his input on "Klinger's" wardrobe on M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on awkward off-camera moments dressed as  M*A*S*H 's "Klinger"
Jamie Farr on his favorite "Klinger" outfits on  M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on his character, "Klinger" on M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on "Klinger's" strengths and weaknesses
Jamie Farr on how he's similar to his character, "Klinger" on M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on how "Klinger" on M*A*S*H evolved over the series
Jamie Farr on why "Klinger" stopped wearing dresses on M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on "Klinger's" wedding dress on M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on his input for "Klinger's" character traits on M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on "Klinger" on M*A*S*H being an iconic character

Comedy-Variety

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Jamie Farr on Sherwood Schwartz writing for The Red Skelton Show

Emmy Awards

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Jamie Farr on Loretta Swit's Emmy win for an episode of M*A*S*H

Fame & Celebrity

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Jamie Farr on cross-dressing as "Klinger" on M*A*S*H and reaction from fans from the "Big Mac" episode

Historic Events and Social Change

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Jamie Farr on keeping in touch with Red Skelton when Farr got drafted in 1957 and the pair entertaining troops together
Jamie Farr on getting drafted during the Korean conflict

Korean War

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Jamie Farr on keeping in touch with Red Skelton when Farr got drafted in 1957 and the pair entertaining troops together
Jamie Farr on getting drafted during the Korean conflict
Jamie Farr on the premise of M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on the dog tags he wore as "Klinger" on M*A*S*H and how the show was similar to the real Korean Way (in which Farr had served)

Memorable Moments on Television

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Jamie Farr on cross-dressing as "Klinger" on M*A*S*H and reaction from fans from the "Big Mac" episode
Jamie Farr on the final episode of M*A*S*H

Pop Culture

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Jamie Farr on how Larry Gelbart got the inspiration for "Maxwell Q. Klinger" on M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on his input on "Klinger's" wardrobe on M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on awkward off-camera moments dressed as  M*A*S*H 's "Klinger"
Jamie Farr on his favorite "Klinger" outfits on  M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on his character, "Klinger" on M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on "Klinger's" strengths and weaknesses
Jamie Farr on how he's similar to his character, "Klinger" on M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on how "Klinger" on M*A*S*H evolved over the series
Jamie Farr on why "Klinger" stopped wearing dresses on M*A*S*H 
Jamie Farr on "Klinger's" wedding dress on M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on his input for "Klinger's" character traits on M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on "Klinger" on M*A*S*H being an iconic character

TV's Golden Age (1940s & '50s)

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Jamie Farr on Sherwood Schwartz writing for The Red Skelton Show

Television Industry

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Jamie Farr on cross-dressing as "Klinger" on M*A*S*H and reaction from fans from the "Big Mac" episode
Jamie Farr on difficulties with the original format of The Gong Show
Jamie Farr on memorable episodes of The Gong Show with Jaye P. Morgan

War

View Topic
Jamie Farr on getting drafted during the Korean conflict
Jamie Farr on keeping in touch with Red Skelton when Farr got drafted in 1957 and the pair entertaining troops together
Jamie Farr on the premise of M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on the dog tags he wore as "Klinger" on M*A*S*H and how the show was similar to the real Korean Way (in which Farr had served)

We Cried

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Jamie Farr on the final episode of M*A*S*H

We Laughed

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Jamie Farr on cross-dressing as "Klinger" on M*A*S*H and reaction from fans from the "Big Mac" episode
Professions

Actor

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Jamie Farr on advice to aspiring actors
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Jamie Farr on the premise of M*A*S*H; on the scripts and characters and his character, "Maxwell Q. Klinger"
Jamie Farr on a typical production week on M*A*S*H; on the cast and crew
Jamie Farr on the final episode of M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on negotiating a raise on M*A*S*H

Game Shows

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Jamie Farr on his involvement with The Gong Show

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Jamie Farr on Sherwood Schwartz writing for The Red Skelton Show
People

Alan Alda

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Jamie Farr on Larry Gelbart and Gene Reynolds wanting to make a TV show of M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on working with Alan Alda ("Hawkeye") on M*A*S*H

Allan Arbus

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Jamie Farr on Allan Arbus' character evaluating "Klinger" on M*A*S*H

Frankie Avalon

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Jamie Farr on the beginnings of his golf tournament in Toledo

Hy Averback

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Jamie Farr on Hy Averback hiring him for The Chicago Teddy Bears and how Averback played a role in getting Farr a role on M*A*S*H

Lucille Ball

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Jamie Farr on his guest appearances on Lucy and working with Lucille Ball

Chuck Barris

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Jamie Farr on difficulties with the original format of The Gong Show
Jamie Farr on a memorable episode of The Gong Show in which the judges took over the show
Jamie Farr on The Gong Show movie and his multiple appearances on the TV show

Milton Berle

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Jamie Farr on a memorable Bob Hope special in which he and Milton Berle wear the same dress

Lenny Bruce

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Jamie Farr on how Larry Gelbart got the inspiration for "Maxwell Q. Klinger" on M*A*S*H

Gary Burghoff

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Jamie Farr on working with Gary Burghoff ("Radar") on M*A*S*H

Art Carney

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Jamie Farr on appearing with Harvey Korman, Danny Kaye, and Art Carney on a "Three Musketeers" sketch on The Danny Kaye Show

Jack Cassidy

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Jamie Farr on difficulties with the original format of The Gong Show

William Christopher

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Jamie Farr on working with Bill Christopher on M*A*S*H

Walter Cronkite

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Jamie Farr on appearing on You Are There

Doris Day

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Jamie Farr on working with Doris Day

Dom DeLuise

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Jamie Farr on the Cannonball Run films

Milton Delugg

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Jamie Farr on difficulties with the original format of The Gong Show

Mike Douglas

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Jamie Farr on co-hosting The Mike Douglas Show

James Drury

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Jamie Farr on doing a screen test with The Virginian's James Drury

Charles Dubin

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Jamie Farr on Charles Dubin directing an episode of M*A*S*H that had no cuts within each film segment

Dick Van Dyke

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Jamie Farr on appearing on The Dick Van Dyke Show

Clint Eastwood

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Jamie Farr on taking an acting class with Clint Eastwood

Barbara Eden

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Jamie Farr on appearing on I Dream of Jeannie

Larry Gelbart

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Jamie Farr on how Larry Gelbart got the inspiration for "Maxwell Q. Klinger" on M*A*S*H and how Farr got the role
Jamie Farr on Larry Gelbart and Gene Reynolds wanting to make a TV show of M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on his character, "Klinger's" roots on M*A*S*H (contd.)
Jamie Farr on working with Larry Gelbart on M*A*S*H

Andy Griffith

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Jamie Farr on working with Andy Griffith

Merrill Heatter

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Jamie Farr on his work on Merrill Heatter game shows

Charlton Heston

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Jamie Farr on working with Charlton Heston

William Holden

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Jamie Farr on rooming with William Holden's cousin while studying at The Pasadena Playhouse
Jamie Farr on the miniseries The Blue Knight with William Holden

Bob Hope

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Jamie Farr on a memorable Bob Hope special in which he and Milton Berle wear the same dress

David Isaacs

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Jamie Farr on writers Ken Levine and David Isaacs developing "Klinger's" Toldeo roots on M*A*S*H

Danny Kaye

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Jamie Farr on appearing on The Danny Kaye Show
Jamie Farr on appearing with Harvey Korman, Danny Kaye, and Art Carney on a "Three Musketeers" sketch on The Danny Kaye Show
Jamie Farr on working with Danny Kaye

Harvey Korman

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Jamie Farr on appearing with John Mills and Harvey Korman on The Danny Kaye Show
Jamie Farr on appearing with Harvey Korman, Danny Kaye, and Art Carney on a "Three Musketeers" sketch on The Danny Kaye Show

Peter Lawford

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Jamie Farr on his first time on TV, in Dear Phoebe with Peter Lawford

Ken Levine

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Jamie Farr on writers Ken Levine and David Isaacs developing "Klinger's" Toldeo roots on M*A*S*H 

Jerry Lewis

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Jamie Farr on a party at Jerry Lewis' house

Larry Linville

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Jamie Farr on working with Larry Linville on M*A*S*H

Fred MacMurray

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Jamie Farr on his guest appearances on My Three Sons

Lee Majors

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Jamie Farr on his first (almost) appearance on The Merv Griffin Show

Dean Martin

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Jamie Farr on Dean Martin's nose job

John Mills

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Jamie Farr on appearing with John Mills and Harvey Korman on The Danny Kaye Show

Jaye P. Morgan

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Jamie Farr on memorable episodes of The Gong Show with Jaye P. Morgan

Harry Morgan

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Jamie Farr on episodes of M*A*S*H with Harry Morgan
Jamie Farr on working with Harry Morgan on M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on a memorable Harry Morgan episode of M*A*S*H 
Jamie Farr on speaking at Harry Morgan's funeral and using some of the lines from "Tuesdays with Morrie" in his speech

Howard Morris

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Jamie Farr on Howard Morris looking out for him

Edward R. Murrow

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Jamie Farr on the M*A*S*H episode "The Interview" based on Murrow in Korea

William S. Paley

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Jamie Farr on William Paley's wife loving M*A*S*H

Gene Reynolds

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Jamie Farr on how Hy Averback played a role in getting Farr a role on M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on Larry Gelbart and Gene Reynolds wanting to make a TV show of M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on his character, "Klinger's" roots on M*A*S*H (contd.)

Burt Reynolds

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Jamie Farr on his first (almost) appearance on The Merv Griffin Show

Ginger Rogers

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Jamie Farr on wearing an outfit as "Klinger" on M*A*S*H that Ginger Rogers wore 

Wayne Rogers

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Jamie Farr on working with Wayne Rogers on M*A*S*H

Mickey Rooney

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Jamie Farr on Mickey Rooney's chemistry not being correct on The Red Skelton Show

Telly Savalas

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Jamie Farr on the Cannonball Run films

Sherwood Schwartz

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Jamie Farr on Sherwood Schwartz looking for a project for Red Skelton and tapping Farr for it
Jamie Farr on Sherwood Schwartz writing for The Red Skelton Show

Dinah Shore

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Jamie Farr on the beginnings of his golf tournament in Toledo

Frank Sinatra

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Jamie Farr on the Cannonball Run films

Red Skelton

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Jamie Farr on Sherwood Schwartz looking for a project for Red Skelton and tapping Farr for it
Jamie Farr on his role on The Red Skelton Show being similar to his role on M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on keeping in touch with Red Skelton when Farr got drafted in 1957, and Skelton helping his career after the Korean War
Jamie Farr on Sherwood Schwartz writing for The Red Skelton Show and how well Farr and Skelton got along
Jamie Farr on the dog tags he wore as "Klinger" on M*A*S*H and how the show was similar to the real Korean Way (in which Farr had served)

Aaron Spelling

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Jamie Farr on Aaron Spelling looking out for him

George Stevens

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Jamie Farr on getting a role in a George Stevens movie The Greatest Story Ever Told and the role's connection to St. Jude and Danny Thomas

McLean Stevenson

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Jamie Farr on working with McLean Stevenson on M*A*S*H

Loretta Swit

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Jamie Farr on Loretta Swit's Emmy win for an episode of M*A*S*H
Jamie Farr on working with Loretta Swit ("Houlihan") on M*A*S*H

Danny Thomas

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Jamie Farr on praying to St. Jude
Jamie Farr on his friendship with Danny Thomas
Jamie Farr on Danny Thomas
Jamie Farr on his character, "Klinger's" roots on M*A*S*H (contd.)

Robert D. Wood

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Jamie Farr on M*A*S*H as CBS' crown jewel

JoAnne Worley

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Jamie Farr on difficulties with the original format of The Gong Show

All Interviews

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