14″ x 16″ Signed Oct. 25, 2002 at Chiller Theatre Expo, E. Rutherford, NJ
This dark-haired comic with a prominent nose is perhaps best known as the cross-dressing Corporal Max Klinger on “M*A*S*H” (CBS, 1973-83). What could have been a one joke appearance turned into a rich characterization. Klinger first dressed in women’s clothes in an attempt to obtain a medical discharge. The joke was played down and Klinger moved up to become the company clerk from the 1980 season on.
Of Lebanese extraction, Farr was born in Toledo, Ohio and trained at the Pasadena Playhouse. He made his film debut as one of the delinquents in Richard Brooks’ “Blackboard Jungle” (1955), billed as Jameel Farah. He adopted his new stage name when he appeared as Thaddeus in George Stevens’ “The Greatest Story Ever Told” (1965). Additional feature credits span three decades, but the majority are small roles or in genre fare. He was Sheik in both “The Cannonball Run” (1980) and its 1983 sequel and he offered an amusing turn as Jacob Marley in Richard Donner’s “Scrooged” (1988), adapted from Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol”.
Farr made his TV debut as a guest on “Dear Phoebe” (NBC, 1954) and was a member of the stock company of featured actors on the first season of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” (CBS, 1961-62). His first series gig was an inept bodyguard on the short-lived “The Chicago Teddy Bears” (CBS, 1971). On the fourth episode of “M*A*S*H”, the character of Cpl. Klinger was introduced. First directed to play the character with a stereotypical swish, Farr almost found his part excised as the producers objected to the cliche. The scenes were reshot with a different director and Klinger became a recurring character. The success of the characterization was double-edged: while it provided secure employment, Farr has become completely identified with the character. He reprised the role in the inferior sitcom sequel “AfterMASH” (CBS, 1983-84) but has subsequently been cast in bit parts in TV-movies and features.