John Carroll O'Connor (August 2, 1925 - June 21, 2001) was an American actor, famous for his portrayal of the character Archie Bunker in the television sitcoms All in the Family (1971-1979) and Archie Bunker's Place (1979-1983). O'Connor later starred in the television series In the Heat of the Night as Police Chief Bill Gillespie from 1988 to 1994.
O'Connor's own politics were left-wing, but he understood Archie Bunker, and played him not only with bombast and humor but with touches of vulnerability. The writing on the show was consistently left of center but O'Connor deftly used every chance he had to skewer the liberal pieties of the day. The result was an absorbing, entertaining television show, which was based on the BBC show Til Death Us Do Part and its follow up, In Sickness and in Health with Archie Bunker based on Alf Garnett, but somewhat less abrasive.
O'Connor was born in The Bronx, New York and he lived during much of his youth in the New York City borough of Queens, the same borough where his character Archie Bunker would later live. He served in the Merchant Marine during World War II and began his acting career shortly afterwards. O'Connor's many film roles include Lonely Are The Brave (1962), Cleopatra (1963), In Harm's Way (1965), Hawaii (1966), The Devil's Brigade (1968) and Kelly's Heroes (1970). Mister O'Connor also appeared on episodes of many popular television series such as Gunsmoke, I Spy, The Fugitive, The Wild Wild West. Although O'Connor was famous for murdering the English language as Archie Bunker, it should be pointed out he was highly educated and cultered. In fact, he was once an English teacher before turning to acting. Personal tragedy struck O'Connor in 1995, his only son Hugh committed suicide after a long battle with drug addiction.