Jamie Farr                             Inducted 1984 - Class of 1952

The fact that he wrote and acted in two variety shows while a student at Woodward was not that clear an indication of the fame Jamie Farr was to win as an entertainer. But Jamie Farr - then Jameel Joseph Farah - was also class president three time running at Woodward, features editor of the Tattler, president of the radio club, manager of the football and basketball teams, winner of the award as Woodward's most outstanding student, and a member of the National Honor Society. From all this it was clear that he was destined for big things.

Woodward High School, he was to write later, "would be my backdrop for a successful four-year run filled with all sorts of good times."

Now best known for his role as Corporal Klinger on the award-winning television show "M*A*S*H", Jamie Farr was graduated from Woodward in 1952 and immediately left his native city of Toledo for southern California. While working at the Pasadena Playhouse, he was discovered by an MGM

talent scout and won his first film role, in "The Blackboard Jungle." Inevitably he began to carve out a niche for himself on television - first as a regular on "The Red Skelton Show," then with a number of modest successes until he reached stardom on "M*A*S*H " as the reluctant soldier bucking for a Section 8 discharge.

In the first season of "M*A*S*H ", Jamie was hired for a single appearance. He clicked so well with the producers that he returned for six more episodes that year and appeared in a dozen segments of "M*A*S*H" in the second year of the show. By the time the third season of "M*A*S*H" began, he was a full member of the cast.

When the Korean field hospital finally folded its tents after the 1982-1983 season, Jamie became a co-star on the "M*A*S*H" spin-off, "After Mash," for CBS. The first episode was aired last September.

Jamie's film work also includes the features "The Cannonball Run" and "The Cannonball Run II," with Burt Reynolds, and two films for television, "Murder Can Hurt You" for ABC and "Return of the Rebels" for CBS. Producer Al Ruddy, for whom Jamie played a Rolls Royce-driving Arab sheik in "The Cannonball Run," said of him: "Jamie's an expert at getting a big laugh very quickly, with his voice, his body language, his eyebrows. He may be the only man in the world with funny eyebrows."

But, funny eyebrows not withstanding, Jamie Farr is primarily an actor. When the University of Toledo awarded him an honorary degree of doctor of performing arts in May, 1983, the UT president, Glen Driscoll, noted the actor's stardom in television and his "solid successes in the legitimate theater, films, nightclubs, and dinner theaters."

Other recognition has come to him. In 1977 he was honored by Toledo with a "Jamie Farr Day-and-a-Half." The following year he received the Governor's Award for Entertainment as a celebrated son of Ohio. The Ladies Professional Golf Association tournament to be held in Toledo next July has been named the Jamie Farr Toledo Golf Classic.

©2020 Woodward Alumni Hall of Fame

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