Jamie Farr was a Toledo hero during his time on M*A*S*H
A hero on 'M*A*S*H' and a hero in Toledo. The man in the dress defended his hometown on and off set.
Jamie Farr was known for his role as Sgt. Maxwell Q. Klinger on M*A*S*H for 11 seasons. Klinger was the cross-dressing star who brought smiles and laughter to an estimated 105 million viewers per week.
Many fans found something genuine in Farr. It could have been Farr's humble beginnings in Hollywod, or it could be his Midwestern attitude. Farr was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. Something he isn't afraid to tell people.
In a 1977 interview with Albuquerque Journal, Farr explained that he and his character in M*A*S*H had a few things in common. They both served in the military and they were both born in Toledo.
"A lot of things are based on the truth in the show," Farr said. "But as far as I know, I'm the only one that is really from the hometowns we claim on the show."
According to the interview, Farr was honored by Toledo City Officials in June of 1977. He was presented with a ceremonial glass, which is Toledo's version of the key to the city. At the time, they also dedicated a new performing arts wing to Farr at Scott High School.
Farr said his family has deep ties to the city of Toledo. His mother was a singer and actress when she was young and his father ran a corner grocery store at Locust St. and Ontario.
"I try to defend Toledo as much as I can on the show, especially when the other actors take digs at it," he said. "Like the line about even grass dying in Toledo, or the one about there being nothing to do in Toledo but go to the movies."
For Farr, being from Toledo was never a bad thing, so he kept on being the hero the city never knew they needed.
"When I was a kid growing up I never knew Toledo was as pretty as it is," he said. "I only knew what my eyes saw and for as far as a penny would take me on a bus."
While trying to develop a career in acting, Farr left Toledo for Hollywood. There he spent two years in service and one year studying at the Pasadena Playhouse.
Farr moved to Hollywood with high expectations, but according to the interview, he was unable to find a role right away. It wasn't until 1961 that he had one of his first reoccuring roles on The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Once the role on M*A*S*H came for Farr, he became a hometown hero in Toledo.
Today, Toledo is still honoring Farr. In 2017, Farr was honored with a plaque for the Jamie Farr Park. According to an interview with WTVG Toledo, Farr gave a speech after receiving the plaque.
"I've been given so many awards... but I've got to tell you that is probably it for me," he said. "The great Danny Thomas has a park named after him on the south side of Toledo and I have a park named after me on the north side of Toledo. This is the only city in the United States gaurded by two noses!"