Fast Facts

  • Grew up in West Hollywood, the son of a movie-studio carpenter. Childhood acquaintances included Ricky Nelson and Natalie Wood.
  • Served in the Marine Corps after graduating from Hollywood High School, and was a private detective before going into acting full-time.
  • Played a bellhop (uncredited) in 1967's The Graduate.
  • Met second wife Shelley Fabares in 1970 (14 years before their marriage) when she was a guest on his first series, The Interns.
  • Directed five episodes of M*A*S*H and wrote or co-wrote four, including the 1980 Christmas episode "Death Takes a Holiday," which earned him an Emmy nomination.
  • Provided the voice for Pa Kent in the 1996-2000 WB cartoon series Superman; Fabares voiced Ma Kent.
  • Worked with musician Jello Biafra and director Keith Gordon on the anti-war documentary Whose War? (2006), which focused on the Iraq War.
  • Published his autobiography, Just Call Me Mike: A Journey to Actor and Activist, in 2007.
  • After a recurring role on ABC’s Desperate Housewives, he made guest appearances on Ghost Whisperer and Without a Trace in 2009, and on Miami Medical in 2010.
  • Served on California's Commission on Judicial Performance.
  • Is an avid motorcyclist.


  • 1980, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy, Variety or Music Series: Nominee
  • 1981, Emmy — Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series: Nominee


  • Shelley Fabares — Wife
  • Kathy Farrell — Sister
  • Agnes Farrell — Mother
  • Erin Farrell — Daughter
  • Judy Farrell — Ex-wife
  • Sally Farrell — Sister
  • Jim Farrell — Brother
  • Michael Josh Farrell — Son
  • Joe Farrell — Father


  • Attended Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles, CA; attended University of California, Los Angeles, CA


  • Birth Name: Michael Joseph Farrell
  • Birth Place: St. Paul, MN
  • Birthday: February 6, 1939, Aquarius
  • Profession: Actor, Director, Producer, Writer

Trending TonightSee all »