Connors as Joe Mannix, 1968
August 15, 1925
Fresno, California, U.S.
|Died||January 26, 2017 (aged 91)|
Tarzana, California, U.S.
|Other names||Touch Connors|
|Alma mater||University of California, Los Angeles|
Mary Lou Willey
(m. 1949; his death 2017)
Krekor Ohanian (Armenian: Քրեկոր Օհանյան; August 15, 1925 – January 26, 2017), known professionally as Mike Connors, was an Armenian-American actor best known for playing private detective Joe Mannix in the CBS television series Mannix from 1967–75, a role which earned him a Golden Globe Award in 1970, the first of six straight nominations, as well as four consecutive Emmy nominations from 1970-73. He starred in the short-lived series Tightrope! (1959–60) and Today's FBI (1981-82). Connors' acting career spanned six decades; in addition to his work on television, he appeared in numerous films, most notably the 1965 World War II black comedy Situation Hopeless... But Not Serious, in which he and Robert Redford played American soldiers taken prisoner by a German villager played by Alec Guinness.
Connors was born Krekor Ohanian, Jr., in Fresno, California in 1925 to Armenian parents. His father was also named Krekor Ohanian (1881–1944) and his mother was Alice Surabian (1898–1978). They married in 1915 and had six children, Paul I, Paul II, Dorothy M., Arpe A., Krekor and Eugene.
At school, he often got into fights due to the discrimination then faced by Armenians, who were looked upon as outsiders. He recalled that this made his family more tight-knit.
He was an avid basketball player in high school, who was nicknamed "Touch" by his teammates. During World War II he served as an enlisted man in the United States Army Air Forces. After the war, he attended the University of California at Los Angeles on a basketball scholarship, where he briefly played under coach John Wooden. He was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
Director William A. Wellman got him into acting after noticing his expressive face while Connors was playing basketball. He appeared on the Los Angeles CBS station as Touch Connors in an episode of Jukebox Jury before the program went national via ABC in 1953. Connors is credited in his early films, such as Sudden Fear (1952), Island in the Sky (1953), Swamp Women (Swamp Diamonds), Five Guns West (1955), The Day the World Ended (1955), Shake, Rattle and Rock (1956), and Flesh and the Spur (1957) as "Touch Connors".
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His film career started in the early 1950s. Connors was cast in the critically acclaimed John Wayne film, Island in the Sky in which he was a crewman on one of the search-and-rescue planes. In 1956, still billed as Touch Connors, he played an Amalekite herder in Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments.
He appeared in numerous television series, including the co-starring role in the 1955 episode "Tomas and the Widow" of the anthology series Frontier. He guest-starred on the early sitcoms, Hey, Jeannie! and The People's Choice. He guest-starred in two Rod Cameron syndicated crime dramas, City Detective and the Western-themed State Trooper, and played the villain in the first episode filmed (but second one aired) of ABC's smash hit Maverick, credited as “Michael Conners”, opposite James Garner in 1957. Also in 1957, he appeared in one episode of the series The Silent Service (S01 E15 "The Ordeal of S-38"), in the credits for which he was billed as "Touch Conners."
In 1958, Connors appeared in the title role of the episode "Simon Pitt", the series finale of the NBC Western Jefferson Drum, starring Jeff Richards as a frontier newspaper editor. He appeared in another NBC Western series, The Californians.
That same year, Connors was cast as Miles Borden, a corrupt US Army lieutenant bitter over his $54 monthly pay, on NBC's Wagon Train in the episode "The Dora Gray Story", with Linda Darnell in the title role. About this time, he also appeared on an episode of NBC's Western series Cimarron City.
Connors appeared in other syndicated series: The Silent Service, based on true stories of the submarine section of the United States Navy; Sheriff of Cochise, set in and about Bisbee, Arizona; Whirlybirds, an aviation adventure series; and Rescue 8, based on stories of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. An episode of Studio 57 starring Connors and titled "Getaway Car" was proposed as a pilot for a series about the CHP to be called Motorcycle Cop. Connors also co-starred (as the villain) in the classic 1956 Roger Corman sci-fi film, The Day The World Ended, and also co-starred in Roger Corman's Swamp Women that same year.
Later, he was cast in the episode "The Aerialist" of the anthology series, Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond. In 1963, he guest-starred as Jack Marson in the episode "Shadow of the Cougar" on the NBC modern Western series, Redigo, starring Richard Egan. In 1964, Connors appeared in a pinch-hit role for Raymond Burr as attorney Joe Kelly in the Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Bullied Bowler". In 1965, he co-starred in one of Robert Redford's earliest film roles, a World War II black comedy, Situation Hopeless... But Not Serious.
Connors later took the starring roles in Tightrope! (1959–1960), Mannix (1967–1975), and Today's F.B.I. (1981–1982). Mannix was originally produced by Desilu Productions (later absorbed by Paramount Television). Then-president Lucille Ball pushed for CBS to keep the show on air after a lackluster first season in the ratings. This move enabled the show to become a long-running hit for the network. Connors was able to work with his boss on-screen during a cross-promotion episode of Ball's Here's Lucy series in 1971, showing his skill at comedy. The episode, which opened Lucy's fourth season, is titled "Lucy and Mannix are Held Hostage". This was notable as the first episode shot at Universal Studios, after Ball ceased producing her program at Paramount Studios.
Connors played Air Force Colonel Harrison "Hack" Peters in Herman Wouk's 1988 World War II-based miniseries War and Remembrance. Connors' final appearance was in a Two and a Half Men episode, as a love interest of Evelyn Harper (Holland Taylor).
Personal life and death
Connors married Mary Lou Willey in 1949; together they had a son, Matthew Gunner Ohanian, and a daughter, Dana Lou Connors. Mike Connors was a cousin of French singer Charles Aznavour (who was of Armenian descent).
|1952||Sudden Fear||Junior Kearney|
|1953||The 49th Man||Lt. Magrew|
|1953||Sky Commando||Lt. Hobson Lee|
|1953||Island in the Sky||Gainer|
|1954||Day of Triumph||Andrew|
|1955||Five Guns West||Hale Clinton|
|1955||The Twinkle in God's Eye||Lou|
|1955||Day the World Ended||Tony Lamont|
|1956||Swamp Women||Bob Matthews|
|1956||The Oklahoma Woman||Tom Blake|
|1956||Flesh and the Spur||Stacy Doggett||Also executive producer|
|1956||The Ten Commandments||Amalekite Herder|
|1956||Shake, Rattle & Rock!||Garry Nelson|
|1957||Voodoo Woman||Ted Bronson|
|1958||Suicide Battalion||Major Matt McCormack|
|1958||Live Fast, Die Young||Rick|
|1960||The Dalton That Got Away||Russ Dalton|
|1964||Panic Button||Frank Pagano|
|1964||Good Neighbor Sam||Howard Ebbets|
|1964||Where Love Has Gone||Major Luke Miller|
|1965||Situation Hopeless... But Not Serious||Sgt. Lucky Finder|
|1966||Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die||Kelly|
|1985||Too Scared to Scream||Lt. Alex Dinardo||Also producer|
|1989||Fist Fighter||Billy Vance|
|1993||Public Enemy #2||Himself|
|1994||William Saroyan: The Man, the Writer||Narrator||Voice|
|1997||James Dean: Race with Destiny||Jack Warner|
|2000||The Extreme Adventures of Super Dave||Grandpa Osborne||Uncredited|
|2003||Nobody Knows Anything!||Joe Mannix|
|1954||The Ford Television Theatre||Christopher Ames||Episode: "Yours for a Dream"|
|1954||Mr. & Mrs. North||Mark Willard||Episode: "Murder for Sale"|
|1955||City Detective||Massey||Episode: "Baby in the Basket"|
|1955||The Lineup||Episode: "The Messenger Case"|
|1955||Frontier||Tomas||Episode: "Tomas and the Widow"|
|1955||Schlitz Playhouse of Stars||Mel Dunlap / Lou Renaldi||2 episodes|
|1955||The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp||Pat Smith||Episode: "The Big Baby Contest"|
|1956||Have Camera Will Travel||Larry||Television film|
|1956||Dr. Hudson's Secret Journal||Episode: "The Diana Story"|
|1956||The Millionaire||Victor Volante||Episode: "The Victor Volante Story"|
|1956||The Loretta Young Show||Al Kiner||Episode: "Now a Brief Word"|
|1956||The Adventures of Jim Bowie||Rafe Bradford||Episode: "Broomstick Wedding"|
|1956||Gunsmoke||Bostick||Episode: "The Mistake"|
|1956||The People's Choice||Bob Staples||Episode: "Sock and the Law"|
|1956–1959||State Trooper||Jim Madison / Jim Herndon||2 episodes|
|1957||Hey, Jeannie!||Lash Connor||Episode: "Jeannie, the Westerner"|
|1957||Sheriff of Cochise||Jess Stiles||Episode: "Husband and Wife"|
|1957||Code 3||Bill Dalhart||Episode: "The Water Skier"|
|1957||Lux Video Theatre||Glen Kramer||Episode: "The Latch Key"|
|1957||The Silent Service||Don Melhop||Episode: "The Ordeal of S-38"|
|1957||Those Whiting Girls||Hotel Guest||Episode: "The Trio"|
|1957–1959||Whirlybirds||Tom Grimaldi / Wally Otis||2 episodes|
|1957||M Squad||Pete Wikowlski||Episode: "Pete Loves Mary"|
|1957||Have Gun – Will Travel||Johnny Dart||Episode: "The Bride"|
|1957||The Gale Storm Show||Jerry Moss||Episode: "Mardi Gras"|
|1957||Maverick||Sheriff Barney Fillmore / Ralph Jordan||2 episodes|
|1957||The Walter Winchell File||Dave Hopper||Episode: "The Steep Hill"|
|1958||Wagon Train||Lt. Miles Borden||Episode: "The Dora Gray Story"|
|1958||Telephone Time||Cy Yedor||Episode: "The Checkered Flag"|
|1958||Official Detective||Martin Whiting||Episode: "The Cover-Up"|
|1958||Studio 57||Patrolman Jeff Saunders / Hap Gordon||2 episodes|
|1958||Cheyenne||Roy Simmons||Episode: "Dead to Rights"|
|1958||Target||Episode: "Death Makes a Phone Call"|
|1958||The Texan||Larry Enright||Episode: "The Edge of the Cliff"|
|1958||Cimarron City||Bill Thatcher||Episode: "Hired Hand"|
|1958||Rescue 8||Joe Starky||Episode: "Find That Bomb!"|
|1958||Jefferson Drum||Simon Pitt||Episode: "Simon Pitt"|
|1958||Lawman||Hal Daniels||Episode: "Lady in Question"|
|1959||The Rough Riders||Randall Garrett||Episode: "Wilderness Trace"|
|1959||Bronco||Hurd Elliott||Episode: "School for Cowards"|
|1959||Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond||Mario Patruzzio||Episode: "The Aerialist"|
|1959||The Californians||Charles Cora||Episode: "The Bell Tolls"|
|1959||Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer||Marty / Lou Torrey||2 episodes|
|1959–1960||Tightrope!||Nick Stone (undercover agent)||37 episodes|
|1962||The Untouchables||Eddie O'Gara||Episode: "The Eddie O'Gara Story"|
|1962||The Expendables||Mike||Television film|
|1963||Redigo||Jack Marston||Episode: "Shadow of the Cougar"|
|1964||Perry Mason||Joe Kelly||Episode: "The Case of the Bullied Bowler"|
|1967–1975||Mannix||Joe Mannix||194 episodes|
|1968–1970||The Red Skelton Show||Plastic Surgeon / Airline Pilot / Henry Pringle / Himself / Federal Witness||3 episodes|
|1971||Here's Lucy||Joe Mannix||Episode: "Lucy and Mannix Are Held Hostage"|
|1973||Beg, Borrow, or Steal||Vic Cummings||Television film|
|1976||The Killer Who Wouldn't Die||Karl Ohanian||Television film|
|1976||Revenge For A Rape||Travis Green||Television film|
|1977||Police Story||Curtis 'Manny' Mandell||Episode: "Stigma"|
|1978||Long Journey Back||Vic Casella||Television film|
|1979||The Death of Ocean View Park||Sam Jackson||Television film|
|1979||High Midnight||Capt. Lou Mikalich||Television film|
|1981–1982||The Love Boat||Mark Hayward / Sidney Sloan||4 episodes|
|1981–1982||Today's FBI||Ben Slater||18 episodes|
|1984||Earthlings||Captain Jim Adams||Television film|
|1984||The Fall Guy||Himself||Episode: "Private Eyes"|
|1988–1989||War and Remembrance||Col. Harrison 'Hack' Peters||4 episodes|
|1989||Alfred Hitchcock Presents||Robert Logan||Episode: "Driving Under the Influence"|
|1989–1995||Murder, She Wrote||Boyce Brown / Walter Murray||3 episodes|
|1993||Armen and Bullik||Joe 'Uncle Do Do' Armen||Television film|
|1993||The Commish||James Hayden||Episode: "Scali, P.I."|
|1993||Hart to Hart Returns||Bill McDowell||Television film|
|1994||Burke's Law||Jack Duncan||Episode: "Who Killed the Anchorman?"|
|1997||Diagnosis: Murder||Joe Mannix||Episode: "Hard-Boiled Murder"|
|1998||Walker, Texas Ranger||Judge Arthur McSpadden||Episode: "Code of the West"|
|2007||Two and a Half Men||Hugo||Episode: "Prostitutes and Gelato"|
Awards and nominations
|1970||Golden Globe Awards||Best Actor – Television Series Drama||Mannix||Won|
|1970||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series||Mannix||Nominated|
|1971||Golden Globe Awards||Best Actor – Television Series Drama||Mannix||Nominated|
|1971||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series||Mannix||Nominated|
|1972||Golden Globe Awards||Best Actor – Television Series Drama||Mannix||Nominated|
|1972||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series||Mannix||Nominated|
|1973||Golden Globe Awards||Best Actor – Television Series Drama||Mannix||Nominated|
|1973||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series||Mannix||Nominated|
|1974||Golden Globe Awards||Best Actor – Television Series Drama||Mannix||Nominated|
|1975||Golden Globe Awards||Best Actor – Television Series Drama||Mannix||Nominated|
- "GOP Convention, Day 1, Session 2". aparchive.com. July 14, 1980. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
- Grode, Eric (January 27, 2017). "Mike Connors, Glass-Jawed Star of 'Mannix', Dies at 91". The New York Times.
- "Pop culture: 'Mannix' star Mike Connors (RIP) played ball at UCLA, golf at Southern Hills". Tulsa World. January 28, 2017. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
- Weaver, Tom (2003). "Mike Connors". Eye on Science Fiction: 20 Interviews with Classic SF and Horror Filmmakers. McFarland. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-7864-1657-8.
- "The Dora Gray Story". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 16, 2012.
- "Cimarron City". ctva.biz. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
- Terrace, Vincent (2013). Encyclopedia of Television Pilots, 1937–2012. McFarland. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-7864-7445-5.
- "Charles Aznavour biography". IMDb. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
- Saperstein, Pat (January 26, 2017). "Mike Connors, 'Mannix' Star, Dies at 91". Variety. ISSN 0042-2738.
- "The Cover-Up". Classic TV Archives. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
- Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2009). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946–Present. Random House. p. 1394. ISBN 978-0-307-48320-1.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mike Connors.|