Judy Farrell, best remembered for her portrayal as Nurse Able on “MASH,” has passed. Her age was 84.
Farrell’s son, Michael Farrell, verified to The Times that his mother perished Sunday morning in a hospital, nine days after having a stroke.
Loretta Swit, who co-starred with Farrell on “MASH,” told Entertainment Weekly: “Judy was a most beautiful woman — inside and out.” We all grew up together. She was kin. This has been a difficult loss, but we will always cherish her remembrance. “Rest in peace, Nurse Able.”
Farrell played Nurse Able in eight segments of the comedy-drama war television series that tracked physicians and support personnel at the fictitious 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War.
According to The New Yorker, the series was “one of the highest-rated television series of all time… and widely regarded as the gold standard for quality programming in its day.” Audiences and reviewers equally praised the performance.” The renowned sitcom ran from 1972 to 1983.
Farrell has also featured in other famous TV programmes such as “Fame,” “Quincy M.E.,” and “The Partridge Family.” She wrote for “General Hospital” offshoot “Port Charles” from 1998 to 2003. Farrell most recently appeared as Diane Harris in the 2006 romance comedy “Long-Term Relationship.”
“Very sad to hear about Judy Farrell’s death,” said filmmaker Rob Williams in a memorial message on social media. “I developed that script at the Twin Bridges Screenwriting Salon, which was run by Judy and her husband Joe Bratcher (who also played her husband in LTR),” he added. “And I was honoured that they agreed to be in the film.” Judy was always nice and amusing, and she was very encouraging.
Farrell was born May 11, 1938, in Quapaw, Oklahoma. She’d been performing since 1969, when she appeared on two episodes of “Judd, for the Defense” and one episode of “Get Smart.” She continued to work in television for the next decade, winning an episode here and there until she landed her most prominent part as Nurse Able in 1976.
During her tenure on “MASH,” she also collaborated with her ex-husband. She and co-star Mike Farrell, who portrayed Capt. B.J. Hunnicutt, were married from 1963 to 1983. They have two children: Michael and Erin Farrell.
After her divorce from Colin Farrell, she married performer and director Joe Bratcher in 1985.
Emily St. Martin is a nightlife writer on the Fast Break Desk. Before joining the Los Angeles Times, she worked for the New York Times, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, NBC, Vice, Los Angeles Magazine, and the Southern California News Group. She earlier worked for the Hollywood Reporter. She received third place for greatest news story at the L.A. Press Club in 2022. St. Martin has a bachelor’s degree in writing from the University of La Verne and a master’s degree in creative nonfiction from UC Riverside.