Carroll O'Connor began his acting career abroad, performing in stage plays in Ireland, England and France before returning to the United States for his Broadway debut in 1958. His film work encompassed such classics as Lonely Are the Brave, Cleopatra, In Harm's Way, Death of a Gunfighter, What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? and Kelly's Heroes.
Although he was passed over for the role of the Skipper in Gilligan's Island, O'Connor found TV fame shortly thereafter as America's favorite bigot, Archie Bunker, in Norman Lear's ground-breaking All in the Family. His role earned him four Emmy Awards and seven TV Guide covers in eight years. He continued playing Archie in the spin-off series Archie Bunker's Place for four additional years. In the late 1980s, O'Connor garnered further acclaim (and another Emmy Award) for his self-produced series, In the Heat of the Night.
On June 21, 2001, O'Connor died of a heart attack. He was 76. He left behind an impressive body of work, both professional and philanthropic.
The quintessential all-American bigot, Archie Bunker is part of the "old guard" who fails to recognize the melting-pot mentality of the modern world. Archie is befuddled and annoyed by everyone - and everything - who doesn't share his narrow view of the world. He's a brash, uneducated blue-collar worker, and his small thinking doesn't win him a lot of friends. Archie's problems mostly stem from the changing values around him.
While he calls his wife Edith a "dingbat" and tells her to "stifle" when she talks too much, he truly loves her - and he's strayed just once, nearly having an affair with a female friend, Denise. Archie makes his living on the docks as a foreman and drives a cab on the side for extra money. He ultimately buys his favorite bar, Kelcy's, and renames it Archie Bunker's Place.