An Actor's Voice with Mike Farrell

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He's not just another pretty face. He's not even "just" a really good actor. He's a man who walks his talk, and who's had the courage to put his career at risk to speak truth to power and be a voice for the powerless. You know Mike Farrell from his role in the groundbreaking television series, M.A.S.H,. and as the gentle father and veterinarian on Providence. You may not know he's an activist as well, and has spent decades working on behalf of human rights and against the death penalty. In this interview you'll hear the story of his evolution as an actor, with intimate tales of Anthony Quinn and Alan Alda, and even Mr. Farrell's personal encounter with the "casting couch." You'll also get to know another side of the man who has become a cultural icon, and hear of his commitment to preserving the dignity of every human being. He explains, "We have so confused ourselves and stood our values on their heads to the degree that we've given up any notion of inspiring our young people to the point where they can fully realize their potential, instead of which we are busy slamming people into dehumanizing institutions." His strong words are made all the more powerful by the calm certainty you've come to know so well, and you may find you appreciate his on-screen work even more when you discover that his beauty really is not skin deep at all. (hosted by Michael Toms)


Mike Farrell is an actor, writer, director, and producer. He is also a lifelong opponent of the death penalty, and an advocate for human rights, animal rights, immigrants, and the environment. He has worked with Human Rights Watch and similar organizations, serving on delegations to many countries around the world. As president of Death Penalty Focus he does outreach and coordinates efforts to block executions. He is the recipient of more than thirty-seven awards for his work as an activist, including Person of the Year in 2007 from the Los Angeles Times, and was the first annual recipient of the Mike Farrell Human Rights Award in 2006 from Death Penalty Focus.

Mr. Farrell is the author of:

To learn more about the work of Mike Farrell go to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • Why Anthony Quinn was such a great teacher
  • How the cast of M.A.S.H. really felt about one another
  • How the media undermines your ability to make choices
  • What is the Celtic aspect of Christianity as shared by his friend the late John O'Donohue
  • Why prisons do each of us more harm than good
Host: Michael Toms      Interview Date: 9/27/2008        Program Number: 3278