Pam Grange writes about his visit.
Of course, Mike is best known for the 8 years he played B.J. Hunnicutt, opposite Alda’s Hawkeye Pierce, in M*A*S*H, during which period he earned nominations for Director’s Guild and Emmy awards for the episodes he wrote and directed. In his first post-M*A*S*H TV role, a CBS-TV movie called “Memorial Day,” he starred opposite Shelley Fabares – of “Coach” and “Superman” among other roles. They married in 1984.
Mike expressed a lot of gratitude for the opportunities he’s had in his life, including a lot of world travel. Raised in a working-class Irish family which was, to say the least, more fear-provoking and violent than nurturing, he set off young on his two life journeys: the dream of being in show business and the journey to find out who he was as a human being. To this day, he considers M*A*S*H one of the highlights of his life and, in response to a question, said that he had lots more fun being part of the show than we did watching it.
One of the experiences that occurred during his second journey took place while he was stationed in Tokyo as a Marine. He was shocked to learn, for instance, that other marines were not at all accepting or forgiving of the fact that Mike had a black Marine buddy. He slowly but surely came to define “human rights” as a large umbrella that covered a lot of issues, including gay rights and prisoners’ rights. He feels that every person has value but little by little many of us have come to feel invisible and that we don’t matter. Mike’s strongly behind the view that we all have to be as good as our principles have taught us, and that if our government is failing us, then it’s our responsibility to do something about it. He currently chairs a group called Death Penalty Focus, and, thanks to our good friend and author Michealene Risley – who did a glowing intro for Mike – we also had representatives from the Ginetta Sagan Fund of Amnesty International and IDEX (International Development Exchange) in the audience.