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Carroll O'Connor (1924)

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  Summary  

John Carroll O'Connor (August 2, 1924 – June 21, 2001) best known as Carroll O'Connor, was an American actor, producer and director whose television career spanned four decades. Known at first for playing the role of Major General Colt in the 1970 movie Kelly's Heroes, he later found fame as the bigoted working man Archie Bunker, the main character in the 1970s CBS television sitcoms All in the Family and Archie Bunker's Place . O'Connor later starred in the NBC/CBS television crime drama In the Heat of the Night from 1988 to 1995, where he played the role of southern Police Chief William Gillespie. At the end of his career in the late 1990s, he played the father of Jamie Stemple Buchman on Mad About You.

In 1996, Carroll O'Connor was ranked #38 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time.

  Biography  

 early life
O'Connor, an Irish American, was the eldest of three sons born in Manhattan, New York, to Elise Patricia and Edward Joseph O'Connor, who was a New York City lawyer. Both of his brothers were doctors: Hugh, who died in a motorcycle accident in 1961, and Robert, a psychiatrist in New York City. O'Connor spent much of his youth in Elmhurst and Forest Hills, Queens, in the same borough in which his character Archie Bunker would later live. In 1941 O'Connor enrolled at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, but dropped out when the United States entered World War II. During World War II he was rejected by the United States Navy and enrolled in the United States Merchant Marine Academy for a short time. After leaving that institution, he became a merchant seaman.

O'Connor attended the University of Montana-Missoula where he met Nancy Fields, who would later become his wife. He also worked at the Montana Kaimin student newspaper as an editor. At the U of M, O'Connor joined Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. At that time, however, O'Connor did not take any drama courses as an undergraduate. O'Connor later left U of M to help his younger brother Hugh get into medical school in Ireland, where he completed his studies at the University College Dublin. It was there that he began acting in Theatre.

After he graduated from the University of Montana in 1951 with degrees in drama and English, O'Connor's fiancée, Nancy, sailed to Ireland to meet O'Connor. The couple was married there on July 28, 1951. In 1956, O'Connor returned to Missoula to earn a master's degree in speech.

 death
O'Connor died on June 21, 2001 in Culver City, California from a heart attack brought on by complications from diabetes. His funeral mass was celebrated at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Westwood, Los Angeles, California and was attended by All in the Family cast members Rob Reiner, Sally Struthers and Danielle Brisebois, as well as producer Norman Lear. Actress Jean Stapleton, who played O'Connor's onscreen wife and who had been a close friend of O'Connor's since the early 1960s, did not attend the service due to a stage production performance commitment.

In honor of O'Connor's career, TV Land moved an entire weekend of programming to the next week and showed a continuous marathon of All in the Family. During the commercial breaks TV Land also showed interview footage of O'Connor and various All in the Family actors, producers with whom he had worked, and other associates. O'Connor's best friend Larry Hagman and his family were also there, alongside the surviving cast of In the Heat of the Night, including Alan Autry and Denise Nicholas, who also attended the memorial. O'Connor was buried at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery with his son Hugh's cenotaph placed on his grave stone.

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    1975

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Carroll O'Connor", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.