Reprinted from Truthdig
In this week's episode of KCRW's "Scheer Intelligence," Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer talks with former "M.A.S.H." actor Mike Farrell about his efforts to save the lives of people awaiting execution in the United States, and the pitfalls awaiting celebrities who get involved in social causes.
Farrell played Capt. B.J. Hunnicut on the television series "M.A.S.H." between 1975 and 1983. He has been active in several causes and is president and a board member of the nonprofit organization Death Penalty Focus.
Robert Scheer:Welcome to "Scheer Intelligence." This is Robert Scheer, and my guest today -- and it's the guest that supplies the intelligence -- is Mike Farrell. For those who are too young to remember, when he was the star on "M.A.S.H." for -- what was it -- about six years?
Mike Farrell: Eight.
RS: Eight years. Everyone in the country knew who Mike Farrell was. He's had a long, distinguished career as an actor, and he actually has been a leader in the Screen Actors Guild, much like Ronald Reagan was, only as opposed to Reagan, Mike Farrell has chosen to use his celebrity as an actor to support progressive causes, and, actually, not just progressive causes that are basic to the whole human condition. He was for 10 years a leader and is still very active in [the] human rights organization Human Rights Watch.
RS: Which is probably along right up there with Amnesty International. Those were the two major organizations that one looks to for a consistent and honest view of human rights around the world. And then he took on another cause, which is really quite difficult in terms of political acceptance, and that has to do with the death penalty in particular and the administration of justice in the prison system in general, and it's [called] Death Penalty Focus. And this is an issue where a lot of people think, "Okay, yes, let's be forward, but they did terrible crimes," and blah blah blah, and it's not one of those obvious do-gooder issues.