At 88, Jamie Farr is described as looking ‘great’ and attributes prayer to changing his life.

Years ago, Jamie Farr found success as an actor, basking in the glow of fame. However, his genuine happiness blossomed with the discovery of his faith and the unwavering love of the woman who stood by him long before fame and fortune.

Raised in a humble, low-income family, Jamie Farr absorbed values that would shape his character forever. His parents, happily married and proprietors of a neighborhood grocery store, instilled in him principles he held dear.

In a recent 2022 interview, Farr fondly recalled his upbringing, emphasizing the invaluable lessons learned from his parents. Their compassionate nature, demonstrated through acts of kindness towards the homeless in their community, left an indelible mark on his soul.

Jamie Farr wearing round wire-rimmed glasses, for director Richard Brooks’s film, ‘Blackboard Jungle’. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Jamie Farr’s upbringing was steeped in compassion, with his father often saving the ends of cold cuts to share with hungry individuals in their neighborhood. Reflecting on those days, Farr explained, “In those days, you didn’t call them homeless – they were tramps or hobos – and they would stop in, and my dad would make them a sandwich. They would ask if they could do anything in return, and my dad would say, ‘No, that’s perfectly all right.'”

Born in Toledo, Farr spent his youth facing ridicule from peers who mocked his nose. However, it was his unwavering faith in God that guided him toward a career in acting.

“… I believed God had called me to be an actor, to entertain – even help – people. And I’d worked hard at it,” he affirmed.

Farr’s dedication eventually paid off when he landed a role in a 1992 production of “Guys and Dolls” as a replacement for Nathan Detroit in the Broadway revival, stepping in after Nathan Lane had to withdraw from the production.

Before his Broadway debut, Jamie Farr decided to hone his craft by attending acting classes at the Pasadena Playhouse in California. He even secured a few minor roles in films such as “No Time for Sergeants” and “The Blackboard Jungle.”

However, Farr’s career momentum took a hit when he was deployed to Japan and Korea. Upon his return, he found himself overshadowed by peers like Clint Eastwood, Dennis Weaver, and Robert Blake, leaving him disheartened about his prospects in the film industry.

During this challenging period, one of Farr’s biggest supporters was his fiancée, Joy Richards, who worked as a bookkeeper. Despite his financial constraints, Farr would give her rides to work, unable yet to afford an engagement ring for his beloved.

Feeling desperate about his future, Farr turned to his faith, seeking inspiration through regular attendance at church. Eventually, a glimmer of hope emerged.

A new major studio announced plans to produce a movie about the life of Jesus titled “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” with George Stevens set to direct. Inspired by the opportunity, Farr immediately contacted his agent: “Meyer, they’re making this movie about the Bible. With my distinctive Middle-Eastern features, there must be a role for me in it.”


As Jamie Farr waited to hear back from his agent, he turned to prayer for guidance. When instructed to send over a reel of himself, he continued to pray as he awaited the studio’s response. However, his hopes were dashed when he learned he was not wanted for the film.

Feeling disheartened, Farr refrained from lighting candles or contributing money to the church on his next visit, feeling more lost than ever before.

But then, in a remarkable turn of events, the studio reversed its decision and offered Farr the role of Nathaniel Bartholomew in the film. Overwhelmed with gratitude, Farr immediately apologized to St. Jude for his lack of faith and then joyously called his fiancée to share the news, finally able to begin planning their wedding.

However, there was yet another twist in store. His agent called with yet another change from the studio: they now wanted Farr to play Apostle Thaddeus. In a moment of revelation, Farr realized that Apostle Thaddeus’s full name is Jude Thaddeus—Saint Jude, the Apostle of the Hopeless, the very figure to whom he had been directing all of his prayers.

Deeply humbled by this experience, Farr’s faith was reaffirmed, and he felt a renewed sense of purpose and gratitude.

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When Jamie Farr first proposed to his now-wife, he was a 27-year-old aspiring actor, a nobody in the eyes of the world. However, the unexpected opportunity to star in “The Greatest Story Ever Told” marked a turning point in his career, setting him on a path of success that not only allowed the couple to get married but also provided financial stability.

In 1963, the couple exchanged vows in a beautiful church ceremony, surrounded by their loved ones. As Farr looked up at the depictions of Jesus’s apostles adorning the walls, his gaze settled on St. Jude.

Reflecting on that moment, Farr remarked, “I like to think that he was my best man.”

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Initially, Jamie Farr often took on the role of making dinner while his wife worked. Over time, the couple welcomed two children into their family.

However, Farr’s true breakthrough came with his iconic portrayal of Maxwell Klinger on the beloved series “M*A*S*H”.

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