When Jamie Farr wasn't acting on M*A*S*H he was developing a nightclub routine

Farr was known for his comedy on-screen and in clubs across Los Angeles.

The Everett Collection

Jamie Farr left quite the legacy behind after his long 11-season portrayal of Cpl. Maxwell Klinger on M*A*S*H (1972). The role started as a small part and was originally intended to be a one-episode wonder. However, his character quickly turned into a fan favorite.

With his cross-dressing, comedic timing and relatability, Cpl. Klinger was hard not to love. As much as his character tried escaping the 4077th, he sure became an essential part of it. 

Despite some initial mixed reviews from viewers watching at home, Klinger never knocked his character. Even with his famous flower hats and low-cut dresses, Farr learned to embrace his character, and so did his many fans.

"The character will get tired of me before I do of it," Farr said in a 1976 interview The Cincinnati Post

Farr said he'd continue to like his character as long as the writers kept making Klinger genuine, believable and fresh. With fits like his, they had the fresh part down pat. 

Many fans would argue that the reason his character stood out among the rest wasn't just because of his distinctive fashion, but rather his comedic timing and delivery. 

Farr's career was more well-rounded than his M*A*S*H character by far. According to the interview, during series' hiatus he would make rounds on daytime television, like Dinah! (1974), where he would display his wide range of comedic abilities. To further his comedy career, Farr said he was also in the process of developing a nightclub routine. 

"To develop my act, I appear unheralded in the improvisation and try-out clubs around Los Angeles to test my material and timing," Farr said. "Frankly, I have ranged from a very good 20 minutes to a very, very bad next 20 minutes."

He used his time on M*A*S*H as a way to make a name for himself in comedy, with the hope of going on the road with it. Although, if he had wanted to go on tour performing comedy, all he would have needed to do was put on one of Klinger's iconic dresses. 

"Where could I get as much exposure, playing to millions of viewers each week, and have as much fun?" Farr said. "There's never a dull moment on the M*A*S*H set. I think we have the happiest, nuttiest, cast in television."

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9 Comments

WordsmithWorks 22 days ago
Most remembrances of Klinger involve his cross dressing. But I'll wager that the character was on longer as "one of the gang" Klinger wearing fatigues than Klinger in dresses. Personally, I prefer the former.
boomerdragon61 22 days ago
My favorites were always Klinger, Mulcahy, Kellye, Igor, Rizzo, Zale, and Val Bisoglio's cook (can't recall his character's name at the moment). They always added so much even if their lines were minimal. Klinger and Mulcahy gradually expanded into the ensemble and I would have loved to see more of the others. There's only so much a half hour show can hold, especially with a large cast like MASH. Also loved Colonel Flagg and Sidney when they dropped in. I keep getting a vision of Flagg and Frank Drebbin as a team for some reason...
Jimtypes 23 days ago
Farr was part of every MASH cast. His part grew to be quite serious. I never appreciated MASH after Stevenson left but it was always on in homes where I worked as a care giver, I came to appreciate the later episodes and especially Klinger.
Avie 24 days ago
"Farr's career was more well-rounded than his M*A*S*H character by far."

"Well-rounded" isn't a sacrosanct turn of phrase, on which modifiers must be tacked. Just write BETTER-rounded.

Simplify.
Wiseguy70005 24 days ago
Wearing a dress on tour would have looked like he was just cashing in on his M*A*S*H character and that he couldn't get laughs any other way.
lyddjj808 24 days ago
Can anyone tell me HOW to watch a show on this app?!?
cperrynaples lyddjj808 22 days ago
Currently the only streaming show on the MeTV app is The Donna Reed Show and it's just FOUR episodes! I suggest you do a search on your device!For example,Donna Reed is on Catchy Comedy and can be streamed on several outlets! Disclaimer: You can only watch the first 5 seasons! I think it's because of a dispute between Sony & the Donna Reed estate!
Jon 24 days ago
Happy early birthday to Mr. Farr, who will be 90 on Monday, July 1.
MadMadMadWorld Jon 19 days ago
That is almost inconceivable, but it means he was already 38 when he was a 'draftee' when the series started airing in Sep. 1972!
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