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Carroll O'Connor Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trade Mark (5)  | Trivia (79)  | Personal Quotes (14)  | Salary (1)

Overview (5)

Born in Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA
Died in Culver City, California, USA  (heart attack brought on by complications from diabetes)
Birth NameJohn Carroll O'Connor
Nickname Matt Harris
Height 5' 11" (1.8 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Carroll was born in Manhattan and raised in Forest Hills, a heavily Jewish community in New York City's borough of Queens. After graduating from high school in 1942, O'Connor joined the Merchant Marines and worked on ships in the Atlantic. In 1946, he enrolled at the University of Montana to study English. While there, he became interested in theater. During one of the amateur productions, he met his future wife, Nancy Fields, whom he married in 1951. He moved to Ireland where he continued his theatrical studies at the National University of Ireland. He was discovered during one of his college productions and was signed to appear at the Dublin Gate Theater. He worked in theater in Europe until 1954 when he returned to New York. His attempts to land on Broadway failed and he taught high school until 1958. Finally in 1958, he landed an Off-Broadway production, "Ulysses In Nighttown". He followed that with a Broadway production that was directed by 'Burgess Meredith', "God and Kate Murphy", in which he was both an understudy and an assistant stage manager. At the same time, he was getting attention on TV. He worked in a great many character roles throughout the 1960s. A pilot for "Those Were The Days" was first shot in 1968 based on the English hit, "Till Death Do Us Part", but was rejected by the networks. In 1971, it was re-shot and re-cast as All in the Family (1971) and the rest is history.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: John Sacksteder <jsack@ka.net>

Spouse (1)

Nancy O'Connor (28 July 1951 - 21 June 2001) ( his death) ( 1 child)

Trade Mark (5)

On All in the Family (1971) he always smoked his cigars in his favorite woven Wingback Chair.
Played the roles that reflected upon liberalism or aggressiveness.
New York City accent.
Gruff voice
His characters often clashed with the younger generation over topical social issues

Trivia (79)

Completed part of his undergraduate studies at the University of Montana before returning to earn a master's degree in speech in 1956.
While attending the University of Montana he was an associate editor for the college newspaper, "The Kaimin". In 1949 he resigned his editing position in protest to the pressure from the campus administration that led to confiscation and destruction of an issue of the paper, which carried a cartoon depicting the Montana Board of Education as rats gnawing at a bag of university funds.
In 1997 he and his wife, also a University of Montana graduate, donated $1 million to the University of Montana's Center for the Rocky Mountain West, a regional studies and public policy institute. The Center was renamed Carroll and Nancy Fields O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in September 1997.
Spent some time at the Juilliard School of Fine Arts as an acting and dialogue professor.
Earned a reported $250,000 a week for "All in the Family" (1971) in 1980.
Father of Hugh O'Connor.
His favorite expressions as Archie Bunker on All in the Family (1971) were "Dingbat" and "Stifle" to his wife, Edith, and "Meathead" to his son-in-law, Michael.
Attended college in Ireland and began his career on the stage, playing in Dublin, London and Paris before making his Broadway debut in 1958.
On 17 January 1994 he lost his restaurant in the Northridge (CA) earthquake.
He was instrumental in the passage of the Drug Dealers Civil Liability Act in California. The Act states that citizens can sue drug dealers whom they feel are responsible for the drug-related deaths of family members. The Act came about as a result of his son's drug-related suicide.
Auditioned for the role of The Skipper on Gilligan's Island (1964).
Said that he came up with the address for the Bunker family residence (704 Hauser St.) when he was driving to work in L.A. He happened to find himself on Hauser Blvd. (a few blocks from CBS Television City) and thought the name sounded like part of Queens, NY, where Archie was supposed to live.
In the early 1950s, while trying to launch his acting career, he worked as a substitute high school English teacher in order to pay the rent.
He met his wife, Nancy, while both were performing in the play "Life with Father" at the University of Montana.
Was fluent in Italian.
He passed away on the same day that blues legend, John Lee Hooker did. Coincidentally, their stars are right next to one another on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Mickey Rooney was Norman Lear's first choice to play Archie in the pilot of All in the Family (1971). Rooney had reservations about the character, so he refused.
Was a brother of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity
Was so displeased with CBS' axing of Archie Bunker's Place (1979) in 1983, without a chance to film an actual series finale, that he vowed to never work for the network again (nonetheless, his late-1980s NBC series, In the Heat of the Night (1988), moved to CBS in 1992).
Performed the "Archie Bunker" role for a remarkable 12 years and 307 episodes (All in the Family (1971) and Archie Bunker's Place (1979)).
Died on June 21, 2001, 37 days before what would have been his golden wedding anniversary with Nancy Fields.
Archie Bunker, his character on All in the Family (1971), was ranked #24 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" [20 June 2004 issue].
His only son, Hugh O'Connor, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, despondent over the disintegration of his life resulting from his long-term drug addiction. He was speaking with his father on the phone at the time. O'Connor did a public service announcement shortly after his death about the perils of drug abuse.
In real life he was the total opposite of his "Archie Bunker" character. While Bunker was loud, had limited education and was staunchly conservative, O'Connor was a quiet, cultured and well-educated man whose political leanings were very liberal. In fact, his All in the Family (1971) co-star Rob Reiner once remarked that O'Connor was even more liberal than Reiner himself.
As executive producer of In the Heat of the Night (1988), he often asked longtime friends and musicians to guest-star. Two of his favorites were Jean Simmons and Bobby Short. He gave long-time friend Lois Nettleton a significant recurring role in the first few seasons.
Has one grandson, Sean Carroll O'Connor.
He adopted his only child, Hugh O'Connor (I), while in Rome filming Cleopatra (1963). He named him after his own brother, who was killed years before in a motorcycle accident.
His son, Hugh O'Connor (I), died on what would have been his third wedding anniversary. He was in the process of reconciling with his wife at the time of his death.
Attended Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC for at least one semester prior to enrolling at the University of Montana.
Best remembered by the public for his starring roles as Archie Bunker in All in the Family (1971) and as Police Chief Bill Gillespie on In the Heat of the Night (1988).
Listed as #20 on TV Land's Top 50 TV Icons Countdown. He beat out Alan Alda, George Clooney, Michael J. Fox (I) and Kermit the Frog.
Underwent heart bypass surgery in 1989 and angioplasty to prevent a stroke in 1998.
Of Irish descent.
His father Edward O'Connor was a New York City lawyer, and mother Elise O'Connor educated young Carroll about his language and life.
Graduated from Newtown High School in the New York City in 1942.
Was considered for the role of Dr. Zachary Smith on Lost in Space (1965).
Was a spokesman for Partnership for Drug Free of America from 1993-97.
While playing Archie Bunker he always wore his wedding ring on his middle finger and not the traditional ring finger.
Met Jean Stapleton on an episode of The Defenders (1961), years before co-starring with him on All in the Family (1971).
Appeared in almost all the episodes of All in the Family (1971) series, from 1971-79 but missed seven episodes, three of them because of a contract dispute with Norman Lear.
Attended the same school as: Don Rickles.
He enjoyed politics, golfing, dining, spending time with his family, traveling and reading.
His son, Hugh O'Connor, co-starred in In the Heat of the Night (1988) with him.
Despite high ratings, his series All in the Family (1971) was canceled in order for producer Norman Lear to propose another project just to keep O'Connor's character going, yet he did. He starred in the final spin-off series, Archie Bunker's Place (1979).
On All in the Family (1971), his character lived in Forest Hills, Queens, NY; in real life O'Connor grew up in Forest Hills, Queens, NY.
Received the starring role of Archie Bunker in All in the Family (1971) after Norman Lear (I) saw him in What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? (1966), after Mickey Rooney refused to play that character.
Didn't start acting on television until he was 36.
His wife Nancy O'Connor was an art major at the University of Montana.
Before he was a successful actor, he used to write an editorial for the Advocate as a little boy.
Was enrolled at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, but dropped out when the United States entered World War II.
Before he was a successful actor, he used to work with a young unfamiliar actor named Larry Hagman. O'Connor was working as an assistant stage manager for the Broadway play "God and Kate Murphy", in which Hagman starred.
Became best friends with Jean Stapleton from 1962 until his death on June 21, 2001.
Traveled to Ireland, midway through college, and decided to finish school in the land of his ancestors. His future wife, Nancy, followed him there.
Eldest of three children.
Began smoking while working on the stage production of "The Big Knife", a habit he would keep up until 1989, when doctors ordered him to quit.
Larry Hagman, Carl Reiner (Rob Reiner's real-life father), Martin Sheen, Richard Crenna, Norman Lear, Danielle Brisebois and ex-classmate Don Rickles all attended his funeral.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Television at 7080 Hollywood Blvd.
Graduated from the University of Montana in 1951 with degrees in both Drama and English.
Moved to Los Angeles, CA, in 1961.
His uncle, Hugh O'Connor, was a reporter for the "New York Times".
While attending the University of Montana, he joined the student theater company.
During World War II he was rejected by the US Navy and enrolled in the US Merchant Marine Academy for a short time. After leaving that institution, he became a merchant seaman.
Former Norman Lear contract player, Marla Gibbs, along with her daughter, Angela Elayne Gibbs had both worked with him on a separate episode of In the Heat of the Night (1988). At that time, Marla's daughter was married to the series' cinematographer.
Acting mentor and friend of Rob Reiner.
Among those attending his funeral were "All in the Family" (1971) creator Norman Lear, co-stars Sally Struthers and Rob Reiner, and Danielle Brisebois from "Archie Bunker's Place" (1079), as well as Larry Hagman, Martin Sheen, Don Rickles, Dom DeLuise, Carl Reiner, comic couple Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller, and Gov. Jerry Brown (II). The Catholic ceremony was presided over by Cardinal Roger Mahony.
He played the same character (Archie Bunker) on three different series: All in the Family (1971), Archie Bunker's Place (1979) and Gloria (1982).
After his role Return to Me (2000), he withdrew from acting at age 76 due to health problems. He died the following year.
Director Peter Bogdanovich cautioned him not to talk with the fake cigarette in his mouth.
Underwent heart bypass surgery that required him to miss the last four episodes of the second season of In the Heat of the Night (1988).
Encouraged his All in the Family (1971) co-star, Rob Reiner, to write several episodes in his early career.
Inherited a knack for learning languages from his mother.
Former college classmate of Jonathan Harris.
Began his television show All in the Family (1971) at age 46.
Met Jonathan Harris at the University of Montana's Student Theater Company, where they were both drama students. Coincidentally, O'Connor lost the role of Dr. Zachary Smith on Lost in Space (1965) to Harris, at the auditions.
In his later years he still received mail from fans. He answered every single piece of mail personally. When asked by friends why he didn't hire an assistant to answer the mail for him, he simply said that it was the least he could do.
He was the surrogate grandfather of Tracy Reiner, Rob Reiner's adopted daughter.
Co-starred in two films starring Sidney Poitier: The Defiant Ones (1958) and For the Love of Ivy (1968). OConnor later headlined "In the Heat of the Night" (1988) series, which was based on the Poitier film of the same name (In the Heat of the Night (1967).
Was most widely known to be a "social butterfly".
Appeared in one film nominated for Best Picture Academy Award: Cleopatra (1963).

Personal Quotes (14)

People see Archie Bunker everywhere. Particularly girls--poor girls, rich girls, all kinds of girls are always coming up to me and telling me that Archie is just like their dad.
Get between your kids and drugs any way you can if you want to save the kid's life.
Nothing will give me any peace. I've lost a son. And I'll go to my grave without any peace over that.
[asked to explain his criticism of critics] I think you all have been in a position where you all have said something out of pure emotion that is not all true. There are semi-literates. They write bad grammar. A lot of them copy what other people write and add a little twist of their own so that it appears the local boy has the inside track.
[In 1976, on how he was going to play Frank Skeffington in The Last Hurrah (1977) (TV)] I'm going to keep the bigotry Edwin O'Connor (I) had in the novel, but I'm going to play it as an undertone rather than as the main theme.
[In 1972] It happens every time I wear this here suit. I get a helluva hand.
[what happened when he was first approached to do The Last Hurrah (1977) (TV)] I say okay, but I wanted to see the [Spencer Tracy (I)] movie [The Last Hurrah (1958)]. So I did. I didn't think I could repeat what I saw on the screen, so I said, "Let me see the old screenplay . . . maybe what was on the screen wasn't the screenplay".
[regarding critics] I concluded too many of you don't know what you're doing.
[about his congressman, who was Polish but was elected from an overwhelmingly Irish district] The Polacks voted for him to get even with the Irish for tellin' all those Polish jokes; the Italians voted for him to prove it was the Irish; and the colored people voted for him 'cause they like Polish jokes and they thought he was the best one yet.
[in 1974] Television audiences are seeing more of the good and admirable qualities of blacks than they have ever seen before. Some of these shows are causing the fears that underlie prejudice to be a bit dissipated.
[on his popularity while playing the 50-something Archie Bunker on "All in the Family" (1971)] Archie is what he is. He is over 50 and you can't expect any turnover in his character. He might modify his racist language in the house because he grows tired of his wife and kids jumping all over him. I am not playing Archie with any ax to grind. As I have said before, Archie is made up of persons who really exist. I have seen them.
[about his life after his son's death] The biggest part of my life was the acquiring and the loss of a son. I mean, nothing else was as important as that.
[when at one point All in the Family (1971) was in danger of being canceled] I thought that the public would kick us off the air, because of this egregious guy [Archie Bunker]. No. They loved . . . they knew him.
[on auditioning for the Archie Bunker role in "All in the Family" (1971)] I was approached in 1968 and [a producer had] secured the rights to a show that was a big success in England and it was called "Till Death Us Do Part" (1965). I thought we'd never do a show that outrageous in this country. And I wanted to do something outrageous. I didn't think we'd last a month.

Salary (1)

All in the Family (1971) $200,000 per episode

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