Archive for June, 2009

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Farr-out Memories

June 27, 2009
Photographer Ryan Vetter and I visit Jamie Farr in Kansas City

Photographer Ryan Vetter and I visit Jamie Farr in Kansas City

During my 22-year TV news career, I’ve talked with many politicians, newsmakers and celebrities and I am not easily star-struck.    One of my favorite celebrities, one of my favorite people period, is Jamie Farr.    To me, Jamie is a true star and as we get ready for the 25th anniversary of the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic I’ve been thinking a lot about why:  it’s because he cares about others above himself.   

I’ve known Jamie for years and I’m honored to call him a friend.  Recently, I had a chance to travel to Kansas City where Jamie was performing in a play and we talked about his growing up in Toledo, his show business career, and the LPGA tournament that bears his name.   Two hours flew by; I’ve truly never had a more interesting, enjoyable conversation.    We all know Jamie from the blockbuster television series M*A*S*H, but Jamie’s star on the Hollywood walk of fame didn’t come easily nor overnight.  

He left Toledo for Hollywood right after graduating from Woodward High School.  Imagine the courage that took for an 18 year old boy with only a few dollars in his pocket!  He worked hard:  in just two years he earned a role in the critically acclaimed movie “The Blackboard Jungle,”  landed a recurring role on the Red Skelton Show, and just as his star was rising, the war in Korea came calling.  Jamie  served two years of active duty in the Army and returned to Hollywood, where he found it tough to pick up where he left off.   He almost quit the business numerous times, but every time he thought about doing something else, he’d land another role. 

Through all the ups and downs, Jamie never forgot Toledo.  He nurtured his friendships with people he grew up with here, and when a young man named Judd Silverman had the idea for Jamie to lend his name to a golf tournament to benefit the community and put Toledo on the sports map, Jamie enthusiastically agreed.  

You can hear Jamie tell these stories much better than I during our special program “25 years of the Jamie Farr.”  Click on the link below to see the special, and bonus interview material with Jamie.   The details Jamie remembers from his childhood in North Toledo paint a picture of close-knit Americans.  The stories of his life in Hollywood are fascinating.   The legacy of his golf tournament in Toledo is a better life for thousands of people here.    

Thank you, Jamie  for the Farr-out memories!

http://www.wtol.com/global/Story.asp?s=10607362