Five Decades of Friendship: Mike Farrell and Alan Alda’s Bromance

Credit: @thealanalda

The term bromance certainly isn’t new, but did you know where it originated? Okay, truthfully, we don’t know that, either, but we can give it a good guess. When Wayne Rogers left the show M*A*S*H in 1975, actor Mike Farrell’s life would change forever. He was cast to play the role of J.B. Hunnicutt, and he made a new friend. Who was that friend? None other than famed actor Alan Alda, and the two became exceptionally close. They were close on set, but they were even closer off-set, and many think that they created the bromance. They were such good friends, and their friendship had not ended over the years. Let’s take a look at their long-time friendship and the fact that Mike Farrell and Alan Alda are still involved in their longtime bromance.

Mike Farrell and Alan Alda Clashed on More than One Occasion

Despite decades of friendship – and a bromance – these two did not always see things from the same perspective. There was a time working on their hit show that Farrell did not think his character would do something specific in the script. He spoke out about it, saying that he did not think his character would do this, and it caused some drama – and a changed script – between himself and Alda. They were on opposite sides of the spectrum on this issue, but they ultimately made up.

Mike Farrell and Alan Alda Had a Secret Clubhouse

Okay, maybe not so much a secret clubhouse as a place that they unofficially thought of as their own when they filmed their hit show. It was more of a shed. A storage shed if you want to be specific. The show stored things like the bloody dummies that were used in specific scenes in the shed, but Farrell and Alda would go in there to hang out. It was unofficially their unofficial hideout, and they used their time in their wisely. What might they be doing in a shed filled with props? Of course, they were playing chess. It is how they spend their free time unwinding, and we are here for this story.

credit: @thealanalda

In his new book, Alda said, “When Mike Farrell wasn’t tripping me, we relaxed there between shots, playing chess. We shared the shed with stacks of bedpans and bloody dummies that were used on the stretchers during triage. After a while, the place seemed a little depressing, so I had fresh flowers delivered every week. But apparently, we shared the shed with more than dummies. Every night the mice would come in, eat the chrysanthemums, and pee on our chessboard.” If that’s not the best story, what is?

Mike Farrell and Alan Alda are Still Good Friends

Sometimes, a bromance never dies. This one did not. It’s been fifty years since M*A*S*H premiered in 1972 – 51 now that it is a new year – and things never change. While it’s true that Mike Farrell did not start working on the show until 1975 (the show was well into its third season at that point), the show did officially turn 50 in 2022. So, while Mike Farrell and Alan Alda have only been friends for 48 years at this point, we feel confident that we can round that up to 50 years. They met on the show, and they’ve been friends ever since.

They did reunite for the 50th anniversary, and they spent some time chatting on Alan Alda’s podcast. If you listened to their conversation, you’d see their friendship is the type that doesn’t falter over time, distance, and even a lack of visits and conversations between them. They are hilarious together, and it’s clear they have a great friendship.

Credit: @thealanalda

M*A*S*H was a Gift to Mike Farrell and Alan Alda

At the end of the day, this show is nothing short of an absolute gift to these two men. They got to know one another, and they’ve been friends for nearly five decades now. If you cannot see the gift in that, you’re missing the point. This show was not only good for both actors and their respective careers, but it was also good for their friendship. They were given the gift of a lifelong friend, which is rare. The show allowed Mike Farrell to work with his wife, too. When they met, she was a teacher in Laguna Beach, California, but she ended up working as a nurse on the show from 1976 on.

Though their marriage didn’t last, they do share two kids. He’s since remarried, but this show allowed him to work with his wife, welcome his kids and make a lifelong friend. It’s a lot to take in, but we love that there is so much appreciation for it so many years later.

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