Mike Farrell's real wife appeared in eight episodes of M*A*S*H

Their love story spans 20 years and ended when M*A*S*H did.

"I don’t remember leaving a wake-up scream," Mike Farrell's B.J. Hunnicutt says sleepily in the opening scene of the M*A*S*H episode "Out of Sight, Out of Mind."

Two nurses, a blonde and a brunette, have entered the Swamp in the middle of the night, whispering loudly and coming to ask Hawkeye to help after the heat stopped working in their tent. It's not their whispers that disturb B.J., but rather Frank's overreaction to their presence, shouting loudly at the nurses to quiet down.

"It's warm in here," Hawkeye says, jokingly lifting his covers. The brunette scolds Hawkeye, reminding him that there are four nurses in their tent, all freezing. Hawkeye begrudgingly gets up and goes to help the nurses.

The blonde nurse in this opening scene, for those uninitiated to M*A*S*H family history, is actually Farrell's first wife, Judy Farrell. She appears in eight episodes of the show and this fifth season episode is her first appearance.

Judy Farrell was married to Mike for 20 years, divorcing the same year M*A*S*H ended.

In Mike Farrell's biography Just Call Me Mike, he talks at length about their relationship and how Judy got him into acting. They both began their theater careers at the Laguna Playhouse in California, and among the many talented young stars they encountered on this scene was future movie star Harrison Ford.

As Mike and Judy's love grew, so did their love of acting, and Mike decided to shoot his shot and go to Hollywood. Judy was supportive, but the distance strained things between them. She had a life in Laguna, and he was spending all his time in L.A. Still, Judy was thrilled for her husband, Mike writes.

In the beginning, Mike struggled to get the serious parts he wanted, and though he soon got a contract and had a steady paycheck to support his family, he became disappointed with how far he was getting in Hollywood. Then, an opportunity to replace Wayne Rogers on M*A*S*H arose, and Mike said he was definitely interested. He cautiously hoped for the best, being a fan of the M*A*S*H movie.

By this time, Mike and Judy had two kids and had become "doting parents," Mike writes, the kind of devoted parents who others claim stopped being fun to be around.

When Mike got called in to audition for M*A*S*H, he says he was as nervous as a kid on a first date and that he remembers little about that day because his nerves blocked out the memory. Of course, we all know he got the part, and over his time on the show, his wife Judy would also occasionally appear in episodes.

Mike writes of the cast, "They had come to love Judy."

Ultimately, the divorce was a result of their lives continuing to go in different directions. "I was devastated," Mike writes in his book. The couple remained amicable through it all, and both remarried, her to actor Joe Bratcher and him to actor Shelley Fabares.

In her career, Judy Farrell appeared in more than a dozen TV series, including Get Smart, Emergency!, The Partridge Family and Fame. She also wrote more than 100 episodes of Port Charles and an episode of Fame. She appeared the most on M*A*S*H, though, and even got to be a part of the show's famous finale, where she got to see for herself the power of Mike Farrell's acting talent – which she helped bud and bloom – as he helped deliver one of the most poignant final moments in TV history.

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KevinGIJOE 22 months ago
After Judy, Mike married Shelley Fabares (Donna Reed Show, Coach) and they have been married for nearly 40 years.
pastwasfun 46 months ago
Two things that I like about MASH is that it was a " dramedy" and that it humanized the enemy. In watching war movies or TV shows I always felt that the other side were humans also. Both sides had to have soldiers defending their country or beliefs and soldiers who didn't want to be there.
JohnGibbons 47 months ago
With a few exceptions I think the early episodes were poor as well as the last few seasons. The wheelhouse was seasons 3-6.
This is typical of many programs since it generally takes a year or two to develop characters and often they stay too long and cheapen the effort.
JoeRay 47 months ago
I can't believe all the hating on Alan Alda in these comments. He was the heart of the show. The only time it ever seemed like Alda was dominating scenes via the script was with him and Wayne Rogers who the writers seemed to use more as a straight man to the Hawkeye character.
I always wished ER wrote him in the show as Hawkeye who relocates from Maine to Chicago after his Father dies. I think that could have been a unique TV character relocation.
Wiseguy JoeRay 47 months ago
Would never happen. The Hawkeye name and character was owned by 20th Century Fox. ER was produced by competing studio Warner Bros. Fox would never have allowed it.
robert JoeRay 47 months ago
i had to stop watching it because it became or always was an alan alda monologue. he had more lines than the rest of the cast combined it seemed. tiring.
Mirramanee 47 months ago
I agree with so many others here who feel that the show went into left field after the first 3 seasons. Granted that war is not generally a funny subject, but the show was supposed to be a comedy, not a drama. It tried to walk the fine line between both and ended up being a dramedy (maybe the first one of its kind? Not sure about that.). Alan Alda got way too much air time and script compared to the rest of the supporting cast, all of whom were greatly talented in their own right. Every so often, an episode would concentrate on one of the supporting cast, but for the most part, it was all about Alda and that grew tiresome to me. It might have been a good idea to ship Hawkeye home somewhere along the line to give the other characters a chance to shine more.
savoycheer Mirramanee 47 months ago
I agree. Way too much time spent on Alda, few and little time spent on the rest of the talented cast.
Gordon 47 months ago
Unfortunately they ended up giving Alan Alda WAYYYYY too many lines of script. The opportunity was there to reveal the many layers of so many of the regulars, the patients, the visiting characters and the Koreans both North and South but they turned it into the Alan Alda Show. There must be a bunch of animosity for Alan by the rest of the actors of the show.
LP1Guy 47 months ago
Personally, I loved the show from start to finish and thought the ensemble cast was mostly great throughout, although my least favorite actors were Loretta Swit and David Ogden Stiers.
My all-time favorites were Gary Burghoff, Jamie Farr and Henry Morgan!
I've met Jamie Farr twice and William Christopher (many years later they toured together doing The Odd Couple & saw them in Toledo where I lived at the time.)
I also met Gary Burghoff twice at an art gallery in Toledo where he signed a numbered print of one of his amazing close-up animal paintings! He's a very talented artist! He was so nice & we had long chats both times & he imparted some great trivia not generally known.
Sorry for rambling on.
MrsPhilHarris LP1Guy 47 months ago
My least favourite was BJ Hunnicutt. Loved a lot of the supporting cast though.
savoycheer LP1Guy 47 months ago
My least favorite was Col. Henry Blake. Was glad to see his exit.
Al333 47 months ago
Once Henry, Trapper, and Frank left, it became the Plan Alda show. Everything episode turned into teachable moments. The had about 5 good years. And Potter did nothing for me.
MrsPhilHarris Al333 47 months ago
I agree that after Henry and Trapper left it lost it's charm. Too much Hawkeye for me.
Joseph 47 months ago
It was definitely a much better show with Trapper and Henry. It didn't get horrible immediately after they left but it definitely lost its edge and in its last few years the show was downright horrible, with the 'comedic' moments being generic TV sitcom humor coupled with an obsession with pun based 'humor' and the 'serious' moments being irritatingly overwrought sanctimonious sermons about how war is bad.

In it's first few seasons, the funny parts were actually funny and the serious parts were genuinely moving.

Also, I thought it was obnoxious the way how they ceaselessly scorned the US military, the North Koreans were portrayed as noble. I don't mind joking about the US military (as long as it's funny), but the whole "the commies are cool!" thing was annoying.

Also, their characters were surgeons, far removed from combat, literally partying half the time. Surgeons live with blood guys and death even at home in peace time, so their constant whining was really tiresome.

But I digress...
Mrswinchester 47 months ago
See. I'm the opposite. I hated Trapper. His voice was obnoxious. And Henry was tolerable at best. When I watch, I usually skip the first three seasons.
Wiseguy Mrswinchester 47 months ago
The best years were seasons 4-6. Once BJ grew the moustache the writing became self-serving with so many bad puns it was annoying.
OldTVfanatic 47 months ago
As much as I love MASH most of the time, I struggle to reconcile the differing tones the show took over time. I usually watch the show to get a good laugh away from reality, but more often than not Hawkeye’s self moralizing and pseudo-sanctimonious outbursts cause me to move away from the show. B.J. was more balanced and somewhat sneaky, which brought Hawkeye back to a tolerable level. As a personal aside, I actually met Mike Farrell while he and crew filmed Dominic and Eugene in my neighborhood in 1987.
NostalgiCritic 47 months ago
Denny is dead on. The show was a comedy masterpiece the first few seasons. Once Alda's ego and Farrell's sensitivity dominated the show, it generally failed to entertain. That said, I argue that David Ogden Stiers was the best actor of the bunch. Granting that the early seasons are the best, my two favorite episodes come form the later seasons. They are "Bottle Fatigue," where Winchester learns that his sister plans to marry (gasp)...an ITALIAN; and "Old Soldiers," in which Winchester displays a magnificent sensitivity to Colonel Potter's life experience. In my opinion, Stiers was the only reason to justify watching M*A*S*H after the departure of Rogers and Stevenson.
Moody NostalgiCritic 47 months ago
I agree that the show was a lot better in the early seasons & I even liked it after Henry & Trapper left. But when that obnoxious snob Winchester arrived I just couldn't watch anymore. The show just wasn't as funny.
denny 47 months ago
MASH was terrible after Wayne Rogers and McClean Stephenson left the show. Alda became a woman and Ferrell talked about Peg all the time.
neil 47 months ago
robert neil 47 months ago
they need to put the old one in mothballs. it can't be getting any ratings.
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