Judy Farrell, the first wife of actor Mike Farrell, had a recurring role on the television series “M*A*S*H” as Nurse Able. She appeared in a total of eight episodes of the show.
In 1963, Judy and Mike tied the knot, and they eventually made their home in Laguna Beach. She worked as a teacher at a secondary school, and he served legal documents as a process server. They both worked part-time at the Laguna Playhouse after hours.
They did this up to the point when Mike wanted to give acting a full-time shot, at which point the pair relied on Judy’s salary to get by while Mike pursued casting directors and producers.
After being married for three years, the couple decided to live apart for one year. The actor from “Providence” said that their lines of communication were muddled:
“There was just a breakdown in communication. After being acquainted, we were better able to accept one other’s differences and similarities. Now, once a problem emerges, we are often able to spot the danger indicators and take action prior to the situation becoming a full-blown crisis.
Erin, who is now 58 years old, was the couple’s first child; their son Michael, who is now 52, was born in 1970. Judy breastfed both of her children for a total of nine months, during which time she and Mike went everywhere with them. The elated father came clean and said:
When we refused to leave Mike in the care of a babysitter, we came under a lot of criticism from other people. However, we were certain that the individuals who surrounded him should remain the same.
The Farrells have always had full-time support, as well as an au pair named Kim Frame, who is 23 years old and a photographer. Mike added that their acquaintances had questioned the family’s unwillingness to punish their children because of the following:
“We were cautioned by other people that if we went to them every time they cried and refused to punish them, we would do them irreparable damage. However, we came to the conclusion that there is just no way to spoil a kid. In the end, they aren’t apples, are they?”
Shelley Fabares, who would later become Mike’s second wife, and he first met each other when Mike was still married to Judy, 83, but they did not begin dating until later.
They first became acquainted in 1970, when she appeared as a special guest on an episode of his ill-fated television series “The Interns.” Nevertheless, the chance encounter 12 years later sparked the beginning of their love affair. Both Mike and Fabares ran into each other once more during a conference for CBS affiliates.
At the time, they had both just completed their divorces. Both Fabares and her husband, record magnate Lou Adler, were separated by the time Mike divorced Judy in 1983. Fabares had departed her marriage.
After speaking with Fabares for a short while at the conference, he asked her to join him for coffee and, subsequently, to an exhibition of photographs and videos he had taken during a trip to Central America.
Within a year, the 83-year-old man proposed to the 78-year-old woman named Fabares at a health-food restaurant located in Topanga Canyon, and she accepted his proposal. 1984 was the year when the couple finally tied the knot.
They exchanged vows at the home of Fabares’ aunt, the legendary actress Nanette Fabray, located in Pacific Palisades. The first several years of the newlyweds’ marriage were fraught with difficulties.
Both Michael and Erin, Mike’s children from his first marriage, had a hard time completely embracing their new stepmother. Fabares recounted the circumstances that led to their ultimately allowing her entry:
“The children suffered greatly as a result of the divorce. It required a great deal of love, patience, bravery, and strength, but today they have two stable homes, which is what we all wanted for them.
Then, there came a moment when her close friend Donna Reed, who had portrayed her TV mom on the 1960s comedy “The Donna Reed Show,” was given a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
Reed sadly passed away in 1986, not long after she was diagnosed with an illness. On the other hand, Fabares’ mother began exhibiting indications of Alzheimer’s disease, which prompted her and her sister Smokey to move their mom to an assisted living facility.
The actress and singer said that when Reed and her mother were both ill at the same time, she experienced mental exhaustion and was absent from her body 98 percent of the time.
“Mike never once cast doubt on the decision for me to be a patient at the hospital for an extended period of time. He never failed to put my mind at ease. He took care of every detail for me. He has become a haven of refuge for me. The incredible gift that he has bestowed upon us is the ability to draw strength from him even when circumstances around us are chaotic “It was described by her.
Since then, Mike has declined the number of opportunities to appear on television, and while he continues to act in and produce for television and cinema, he now devotes most of his time to working for the cause of jail reform and on human rights campaigns all around the globe.
Meanwhile, his wife of 37 years has become involved in fund-raising for the Alzheimer’s Association and occasionally joins him on his missions along with the children. She has been with him for the whole of their marriage.
Craig T. Nelson, who co-starred with Fabares in “Coach,” can speak to the fact that the pair seems to be a fantastic match for one another. According to Nelson, the couple is exempt from the conventional regulations of the entertainment industry due to the fact that they possess a great intelligence and are kind individuals. Bill Fagerbakke concurred and said:
“I once told Shelley that it appears like they never dispute, but she said that they had fierce arguments. I told her that it looks like they never argue. I have a sneaking suspicion that she’s fibbing.”
Because they have been married for such a long time, it seems like their union will last. Mike gushed over his wonderful wife, describing her as possessing “a spark within her that is absolutely amazing.” “I feel that spending time with her is a reliable way to revitalize myself.”
The sentiment is shared by Fabares, who has been nominated for the Emmys twice and said: “Mike is the one who keeps me in check, although sometimes I believe I have him fooled. It’s a good balance overall.”
When Fabares became critically sick, the couple was already going through some difficulties in their marriage, but those difficulties were compounded. The woman, who was originally from California, was injured in 1994 when she went through the floor joists while her house was being built.
Because of the fall, she fractured every rib on the left side of her body. The accident had serious repercussions for her health, and she ultimately required a liver transplant as a consequence of the injuries she sustained.
Her fractured ribs were fixed, but the attending physicians strongly suggested that she see her primary care physician again in a few days as a preventative measure. On the other hand, the follow-up examination revealed liver count readings that were “off the charts.”
Fabares was prescribed medicine, and while her condition did not seem to improve, the physicians were unable to determine what was wrong with her for many years. Her liver levels remained much above the norm, but they seemed to reach a level of stability.
Then, in the beginning of 1999, things began to go from bad to worse for her. One day, Fabares had what is known as an oesophageal bleed, which is rapid and severe bleeding in the esophagus. She was brought to the Emergency Department at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center because of this condition.
The incident was attributed by the physicians to growing liver disease, and they advised her to have a transplant as soon as possible. The failure of Fabares’ liver had progressed to the point that medication could no longer turn back the clock, and she ran the risk of having another bleed at any moment, which might have been.
The actress most known for her role in “Clambake” remembered that she had stated her belief that the transplant was nothing more than a “safety precaution” at the time, and that it was possible that she did not really need it. Fabares eventually accepted the notion that she would pass away if she did not get a new liver and moved on with her life.
She was put on the waiting list for a liver transplant in April of 1999, and she was aware that the wait would be a protracted one. Fabares made the observation that more than half of the patients who were waiting for a liver transplant did not survive long enough to get one:
“I was acutely conscious of the fact that I was making the most of the time I had. The tension was tremendous, but there was also a degree of acceptance on my part of the situation. There are no words that can adequately describe what it is like to go through this experience, not just physically, but also mentally and spiritually.
Both she and Mike felt anxious as a result of the fact that they had gotten a few “false alarms” about the transplant. These “false alarms” occurred as a result of individuals dialing the incorrect numbers on her pager:
“It brought my heart to a complete halt. Mike and I both made an effort to settle down because we were really afraid that the tension might lead us to pass away before we ever received the transplant.
The two of them finally came to the realization that they did not need to pay attention to the pager anymore whenever it went off. During this time, Fabares’ health continued to worsen while she awaited the arrival of a donor organ.
She recalled feeling fatigued all the time and said, “I was just exhausted.” “I wasn’t in any discomfort, but I was sleeping virtually all the time,” she said. On October 23, 2000, when the wait was finally ended, the pager went off, and this time it was perfectly timed for everything to fall into place.
The transplant was a success, and now it has been years since the terrifying event. Fabares stated that although she would not want it on anybody – and in some ways, she has been blessed by what came out of it – she would not wish it on herself either.
“This event has had such a profound impact on me. The fact that my life has been restored to a degree of normality does not change the fact that I am a different person.
“The guy to whom I am married is such an incredible blessing in my life. “He was with me every step of the way,” Fabares said of her devoted husband, Mike. “I was so extremely unwell for such a long time, and we didn’t know what was wrong, but he was with me every step of the way.”
He was at her side at each and every one of her doctor’s appointments. She continued by saying, “He’s just massive, and I don’t know how I could have gone through this without him.” “He’s just monumental.”
Fabares said that a devastating disease may drive some families apart, but that it only served to bring theirs closer together and make them stronger. “I am thankful for the gift of life. I am thankful for my medical professionals. I am thankful for what I have discovered about myself and about life. The thing that I am most thankful for is my hubby. She said, “I’ve improved a great deal.”
Mike, who was born and raised in Minnesota, gave up his career to care for his wife around the clock and helped restore her ability to have a happy and productive life. Now, 23 years later, she is in good health and content with her life.
The love story of Fabares and Mike is a picture-perfect illustration of the power of genuine affection, demonstrating that two people who care deeply for one another are able to weather any storm together.