Carroll O'Connor bio: life and death of the award-winning actor

Carroll O'Connor bio: life and death of the award-winning actor

Carroll O'Connor was an American actor, director, and producer whose career on TV went on for at least four decades. His popularity started growing after he was featured in the 1970 film, Kelly's Heroes, as Major General Colt.

Carroll O'Connor
Actor, producer, and director Carroll O'Connor in 1982. Photo: Jack Mitchell
Source: Getty Images

His fame continued to grow as he played the lead roles in CBS television sitcoms, All in the Family (1968 to 1979), and Archie Bunker's Place (1979 to 1983).

Carroll O'Connor profile summary

  • Full name: John Carroll O'Connor
  • Date of birth: August 2, 1924
  • Place of birth: Manhattan, New York
  • Date of death: June 21, 2001
  • Place of death: Culver City, California
  • Age at death: 76
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Actor
  • Zodiac sign: Leo

Early life

Carroll O'Connor was an Irish American who was born on August 2, 1924, in Manhattan, New York City. His parents were Edward Joseph O'Connor, a lawyer, and Elise Patricia O'Connor. His two younger brothers, Hugh and Robert, were both doctors.

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Carroll O'Connor young years were mostly spent in Forest Hills, Queens, and Elmhurst. In 1941, he joined Wake Forest University in North Carolina. However, he dropped out due to World War II.

Carroll O'Connor young
Carroll in a studio portrait issued as publicity for the US television series, 'All in the Family', USA, circa 1975. Photo: Silver Screen Collection
Source: Getty Images

When the war had ended, he joined the University of Montana-Missoula, where he was also an editor at the Montana Kaimin, the student newspaper.

After a while, he left the university with the intentions of helping one of his younger brothers, Hugh, get into medical school in Ireland. Carroll eventually joined the University College Dublin and completed his studies. After a short while, he began focusing on his acting career.


The start of his acting career entailed performing in theatrical productions in both New York and Dublin in the 1950s. His breakthrough occurred when he was featured in the Broadway adaptation of James Joyce's novel, Ulysses.

He made his TV acting debut as a character actor on two episodes of Sunday Showcase. This opened up new opportunities for him to be a cast member in numerous TV series. Some of these series are The Fugitive, Armstrong Circle Theatre, Bonanza, and The Great Adventure, among many more.

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O'Connor was privileged to land more roles in numerous movies and TV shows as he continued becoming a familiar face on the screens to many people.

Carroll O'Connor movies and TV shows

Carroll O'Connor movies and tv shows
Cast members of TV series, All in the Family. From the back: Rob Reiner, Jean Stapleton, Carroll O'Connor, and Sally Struthers. Photo: CBS Photo Archive
Source: Getty Images

While he was pursuing his acting career, he was cast in several movies and TV shows for different roles, most of which have been listed below.

Starring roles

  • All in the Family (1971–1979)
  • Archie Bunker's Place (1979–1983)
  • In the Heat of the Night (1988–1994)

Films (feature and made-for-TV)

  • Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" (1956)
  • The Defiant Ones (1958)
  • The Sacco-Vanzetti Story (TV mini-series) (1960)
  • A Fever in the Blood (1961)
  • Parrish (1961)
  • By Love Possessed (1961)
  • Lad: A Dog (1962)
  • Belle Sommers (TV) (1962)
  • Lonely Are the Brave (1962)
  • Cleopatra (1963)
  • The Silver Burro (TV) (1963)
  • Nightmare in Chicago a.k.a. Once Upon a Savage Night (TV) (1964)
  • In Harm's Way (1965)
  • The Last Patrol episode of The Time Tunnel (1966)
  • The Time Tunnel (1966)
  • What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? (1966)
  • Hawaii (1966)
  • Not with My Wife, You Don't! (1966)
  • Warning Shot (1967)
  • Point Blank (1967)
  • Waterhole#3 (1967)
  • The Devil's Brigade (1968)
  • For Love of Ivy (1968)
  • Death of a Gunfighter (1969)
  • Marlowe (1969)
  • Ride a Northbound Horse (TV)(1969)
  • Fear No Evil (TV) (1969)
  • Kelly's Heroes (1970)
  • Doctors' Wives (1971)
  • Of Thee I Sing (TV) (1972)
  • Law and Disorder (1974)
  • The Last Hurrah (TV) (1977)
  • A Different Approach (1978)
  • Brass a.k.a. Police Brass (TV) (1985)
  • Convicted (1986)
  • The GLO Friends Save Christmas (1986)
  • The Father Clements Story (1987)
  • Gideon (1998)
  • 36 Hours to Die (TV) (1999)
  • Return to Me (2000)

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Writing credits

  • Bronk (TV) (1975)
  • The Last Hurrah (TV) (1977)
  • Archie Bunker's Place (1979) TV series
  • Brass aka Police Brass (TV) (1985)
  • In the Heat of the Night (1988–1995) Numerous episodes

Producer credits

  • Bronk (TV) (1975) Series
  • The Last Hurrah (TV) (1977)
  • In the Heat of the Night (TV) (1988–1995)

Director credits

  • Archie Bunker's Place (TV) (1979)
  • In the Heat of the Night (TV) (1988)


  • In the Heat of the Night (TV) (1988)

Archive footage featuring Carroll O'Connor

  • Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey (2000)
  • The 53rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards (2001)
  • Inside TV Land: African Americans in Television (2002)
  • The 74th Annual Academy Awards (2002) Memorial tribute


  • Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Television Series Musical or Comedy (1972)
  • Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (1971, 1976, 1977, and 1978)
  • George Foster Peabody Broadcasting Award (1980)
  • Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (1989)
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Television Series Drama (1989)
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Television Series Drama nomination (1990)
  • Television Academy Hall of Fame, inducted 1990 for contributions to the television industry
  • NAACP Image Award (1992)
  • NAACP Image Award (1993)

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Is Carroll O'Connor still alive?

Well, Carroll O'Connor death occurred almost two decades ago. When did Carroll O'Connor die? The actor passed away on June 21, 2001, in Culver City, California.

Carroll O'Connor cause of death was a heart attack that was triggered by complications from diabetes. Carroll O'Connor age at death was 76 years.

Carroll O'Connor family

Who was Carroll O'Connor wife? O'Connor met Nancy Fields while attending the University of Montana-Missoula. In 1951, she graduated from the University with degrees in English and Drama.

After completion of her studies, she sailed to Ireland so that she could meet Carroll, who was visiting his brother, Hugh. Nancy and Carroll exchanged vows in Dublin on July 28, 1951.

Carroll O'Connor wife
Carroll O'Connor with his wife, Nancy O'Connor. Photo: Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection
Source: Getty Images

Who was Carroll O'Connor son? While filming Cleopatra in Rome, O'Connor and his wife adopted a six-day baby boy. They named him Hugh, after his brother who had passed away one year earlier.

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On March 28, 1995, their adopted son, Hugh, committed suicide after battling with drug addiction for a long time.

Carroll O'Connor net worth

At the time of his death, his net worth was guesstimated to be $20 million.

Carroll O'Connor made a significant impact during his time alive. For this reason, he is still remembered and appreciated today.

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Jonathan Brandis was a well-known American actor, popular for his role as Bill Denbrough in It. Despite dying at a young age, he is still remembered for his excellent contribution to the film and entertainment industry.


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Adrianna Simwa (Lifestyle writer) Adrianna Simwa is a content writer at where she has worked since mid-2022. She has written for many periodicals on a variety of subjects, including news, celebrities, and lifestyle, for more than three years. She has worked for The Hoth, The Standard Group and Triple P Media. Adrianna graduated from Nairobi University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in 2020. In 2023, Simwa finished the AFP course on Digital Investigation Techniques. You can reach her through her email:

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