Monday, January 14, 2008

NCADP 2008: Lifetime Achievement Award

As noted earlier, this week we are featuring this year's crop of NCADP awardees. Today we kick off the series by recognizing Mike Farrell, recipient of this year's NCADP Lifetime Achievement Award. Special thanks to NCADP Board Member Paul O'Shea for writing this up:

When Mike Farrell steps to the podium this week to receive the NCADP Lifetime Achievement Award, he will join a distinguished group of individuals renowned for their work to abolish the death penalty.

Mike’s honor recognizes more than 30 years of passionate advocacy (including a term on NCADP’s board). Over the years his commitment to eradicating the death penalty ranges from organizing and supporting campaigns to save specific individuals, educating the public through television and radio interviews and debates, addressing forums, writing essays and newspaper op-eds, meeting with state governors and other officials, coordinating and organizing meetings, and maintaining contact with other activists and organizations. He is as hands-on an activist as there is in the movement-- all while maintaining a successful acting career and involving himself in a host of other political issues and charitable causes.

For Mike Farrell it began in the 1970s with a visit to the Tennessee State Prison on behalf of the Southern Coalition on Jails and Prisons. There he met death row prisoners for the first time and saw the squalid conditions that prevailed. For the next three decades he intervened in death penalty cases in states including Virginia, California, Iowa, Illinois, Utah, Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas and Kentucky. Mike was also involved in a campaign to institute a moratorium on federal executions.

Today, Mike Farrell is president of the board of directors of Death Penalty Focus (co-sponsor of NCADP’s 2008 national conference) where he notes on the organization’s website, “Our goal is to educate our fellow citizens about the reality of the death penalty and to help propel our country to a more humane, more fair, more honorable systems of justice. As the self-proclaimed human rights leader of the world, America can do better.” A more detailed picture of his work is available on the website

Many of Mike’s exploits are recorded in his entertaining and well-written autobiography, Just Call Me Mike, published last year. The book recounts the life of an activist in the cause of social justice and human rights, from his early years at Hollywood High School through serving with the Marines into the beginnings of his television and film career.

To many, Mike will always be remembered as Captain B. J. Hunnicutt of the legendary television series, M*A*S*H. He also had prominent roles in the television series’ Providence and Desperate Housewives and has written, directed and produced television and stage productions.

Please check back daily this week to see NCADP's other award winners!

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