Very few people, no matter how excellent their acting skills, get to make the kind of impact and record the kind of success that Jamie Farr has had in his over 60 years as an actor. The silver-haired and bespectacled, on-screen genius is at the tail-end of his career now, but we can’t seem to forget his contributions to the industry in a hurry.
He is living proof yet again that talent exists anywhere and everywhere if you just keep an open mind and look hard. Jamie Farr is of Lebanese descent, although born in the United States. He is mostly known for his projects like the 1970s dramedy M*A*S*H, the action comedy, The Cannonball Run (1981), and 1988’s Scrooged.
Jamie Farr – Biography (Age)
The actor cum comedian was born to his parents Jamelia and Samuel Farah, in Toledo, Ohio. Born on July 1, 1934, he came from humble means. His father was a grocer and his mother a seamstress.
Jamie attended Woodward High School where he was an outstanding student. While there, he had already started exploring acting and once participated in a local acting contest at the age of 11 which he won. As he recalls years later, the prize money for winning the contest was two dollars.
After high school, he was discovered by a scout from MGM while he was attending the Pasadena Playhouse. This discovery led to his involvement in Blackboard Jungle (1955), playing the role of a mentally challenged student.
He wasn’t really considering a full-time career in acting until he was buoyed by his mentor and veteran actor, Danny Thomas. His career was interrupted by a two-year stint in the United States Army where he served tours in Korea and Japan
After his discharge, he was involved in many movies albeit in minor, forgettable roles. He was eventually cast in a relatively bigger role as Lt. Gardelli in the Warner Brothers military comedy, No Time for Sergeants.
He appeared as the character Thaddaeus in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965). Jamie Farr spent the rest of the 1960s doing a slew of guest appearances on television series like The Donna Reed Show (1965), My Favorite Martian (1965 – 1966), Who’s Minding the Mint? (1967), The Flying Nun (1968 – 1969), and Family Affair (1969).
In 1972, Farr was brought on for a single episode guest appearance in the first season of the sitcom M*A*S*H. He played the cross-dressing Corporal Maxwell Klinger. The actor was brought back for 12 episodes in the second season and by the fourth season, he has become a series regular. His time with the show came to an end in 1983 after appearing in 216 episodes. He also appeared in 30 episodes of After MASH, reprising his M*A*S*H role from 1983 to 1985.
He also appeared as The Sheik on 1981’s The Cannonball Run, a role he reprised in its sequels: Cannonball Run II, and Cannonball Fever. He is the only cast member to appear in all three installments.
Jamie Farr has literally been involved in everything television has to offer. From game shows like Body Language and The $25,000 Pyramid to talk shows like Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and a daily radio travel show, Travelin’ Farr, the actor has built an immense career portfolio.
More recently, Jamie Farr was seen in an episode of That 70’s Show (2003) as himself. He also starred as Adam Johnson in the 2007 movie, A Grandpa for Christmas. In 2018, he joined the cast of the comedy series The Cool Kids, playing the character Dudley.
Farr is a true veteran of the industry and for his efforts, he received his very own star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame in 1985.
The veteran screen man is also all about philanthropy. Since 1984, he has been part of the LPGA tour as a host of a women’s professional golf tournament. Over the years, the tournament known as the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic has been able to raise north of $6.5 million in donations to children’s charities.
In 1998, a park in his hometown of Toledo was renamed to The Jamie Farr Park in his honor. This was the park where he used to hang out with his friends when he was a child.
Jamie Farr’s Family: Wife and Kids
Farr’s busy career didn’t stop the famous actor from maintaining a stable marriage and family life. The actor has only been around the matrimonial block once. He married the love of his life, Joy Ann Richards in 1963. Together, they have two children, Jonas Farr, and Yvonne Farr. They also have a grandson, Dorian.
In 2003, Jamie and his wife, Joy, collaborated on the writing of a children’s book they titled “Hababy’s Christmas Eve.” The book was basically a narration of the first ever Christmas from the perspective of the animals.
What Is His Net Worth?
Jamie Farr has come a long way from making two dollars in his first acting competition to appearing in 216 episodes of M*A*S*H and many projects beyond that. This all leads up to a plethora of appearances in commercials, movies, series, and TV shows.
However, it must be emphasized that Farr came up in a time when actor paydays weren’t what they are today. Plus, there’s the extra problem of adjusting for inflation. Whatever be the case, many online sources put the veteran actor’s net worth at $7.5 million.