Jamie Farr turns 89: M*A*S*H’ star settled down for simple life after collapsing during show rehearsals

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: The great comedian of the 70s, Jamie Farr, became a household name after his successful stint as Corporal Klinger or Maxwell Q in the hit show ‘M*A*S*H’. Born on July 1, 1934, the Lebanese-American actor Jameel Joseph Farah is celebrating his 89th birthday! While he is most known for his role in ‘M*A*S*H’, he has appeared in several other television shows and films. His love story with his wife Joy Ann Richards, whom he gave an engagement ring 13 years after first proposing to her, is equally legendary!

Farr has appeared in plays like ‘Flamingo Court’ with actress Anita Gillette and ‘Jack of Diamonds’. He is also credited for his starring roles in films like ‘The Blackboard Jungle’ and ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’. He appeared on shows like ‘The Chicago Teddy Bears’, ‘The Red Skelton Show’, and ‘The Danny Kaye Show’, before appearing as Corporal Klinger on ‘M*A*S*H’. A US Army veteran in real life, Farr carved his fame in Hollywood by portraying the role of a cross-dressing corporal who wanted a way out of the military.

Jamie Farr in 'M*A*S*H' (IMDb)
Jamie Farr in ‘M*A*S*H’ (IMDb)

Where is Farr now?

Since 2018, the veteran comic artist is living a retired life with his wife Joy Ann Richards, and their two children. He is also said to be a doting grandparent to his grandson Dorian. The couple, who are together for six decades, published a children’s book called ‘Hababy’s Christmas Eve’ in 2003. The celebrated comedian is said to be suffering from rheumatoid arthritis since the ’90s. However, it was not stopped his Hollywood career.

Later in his acting career, Farr came back to his roots and reprised being a stage actor. While his role as Corporal Klinger on ‘M*A*S*H’ made him a household name, he worked equally hard to break the image. In a 2015 interview to Gary Smith of The Hamilton Spectator, he said, “Look, I know I will always be identified with Klinger, dress and all. Why? Because the show was such a huge success. It ran for so many years. Still, in some ways I always knew I had to escape from that role, but you don’t turn your back on something as popular as that without a mighty struggle. And you know, I’m grateful for the fact it made me a name.’’

In 2014, the actor collapsed once during a play’s production in Edmonton. He said, “That shook me,” before adding, “It made me feel my own mortality. But, you know, I’ve always been a person with the will to be happy, a positive kind of guy, so I just tried to keep on going.” He got a stent in his heart and continued to act after that. However, after collapsing again for the second time in 2018 during rehearsal, he realized it was time for him to hang his boots. Since then he is out of the Hollywood limelight and enjoying a quiet life with his family.

‘Everyone in the place thought I had proposed!’

As much as Farr is known for his memorable roles, he is also known equally for his enduring love story with his former model wife Joy Ann Richards. After getting married in 1963, Farr and Richards are one of the Hollywood’s longest-running married couples. While their love story is extremely endearing and has withstood the test of time, the beginning wasn’t smooth. In fact, Farr did not have enough money to buy Richards an engagement ring. But he had faith in their love as he asked Richards while proposing, “Look, I may not have anything. You may be hitching your star to a falling comet, but why don’t we take a chance,” as per an interview by Weekly World News.

The couple got married on February 16, 1963, at St Nicholas Orthodox Christian Cathedral, Los Angeles. Farr’s co-stars from ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’, Peter Mann, David McCallum, John Considine, and David Hedison attended the wedding in their biblical regalia. During an interview, Farr jokingly narrated the priest getting nervous while conducting the ceremony.

While Farr could not afford an engagement ring before, he did not deprive Richards of owning one. Thirteen years after proposing to her for the first time, Farr proposed again – but this time with a 1.50-carat emerald engagement ring surrounded by diamonds on the side. The couple were at his favorite restaurant accompanied by their children, Jonas Samuel and Yvonne Elizabeth-Rose. He shared with People later, “We were at our favorite restaurant and the manager brought it on a silver tray and asked if Joy would like an appetizer,” before adding, “Our two kids were sitting there with us and everyone in the place thought I had proposed! I want my children to know that we are very, very lucky.”

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