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|Also Known As:||Michael William Connors,Kreker Ohanian,Michael Connors,Touch Connors,Touch Connors,Touch Conners||Died:|
|Born:||August 15, 1925||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Fresno, California, USA||Profession:||Cast ... actor|
Tall and masculine, Mike Connors was discovered on a UCLA basketball court by director William Wellman and went on to appear in supporting parts and occasional leads in feature films until he found TV stardom as private detective Joe Mannix in "Mannix" (CBS, 1967-75).
Originally named Krekor Ohanian, Connors grew up facing the discrimination heaped upon the Armenian community of Fresno, CA. He served in the Air Force during World War II and then matriculated at UCLA. By 1952, he made his feature film debut in the RKO release "Sudden Fear," billed as Touch Connors. ('Touch' had been his nickname at UCLA and agent Henry Wilson thought it fit the era.) He continued playing small and supporting roles for several years. He was a member of John Wayne's downed transport crew in "Island In the Sky" (1953), and even played an Amalekite herder trying to keep water from the future wife of Moses in "The Ten Commandments" (1956). By 1958, he had changed his name to Michael Connors, and co-starred in "Live Fast, Die Young," as a member of a gang of thieves. Connors was a prisoner of Alec Guinness several years after the end of World War II in "Situation Hopeless--But Not Serious" (1965) and had one of his best movie roles as Hatfield the card shark in the Bing Crosby/Ann-Margret remake of "Stagecoach" (1966). In 1979, after years of TV series work, Connors became Mike Connors in the movies, with "Avalanche Express" and even produced as well as starred in "Too Scared to Scream" (1985), in which he was tracking down a psycho killer. Connors played Jack Warner, (for whom he made "Islands in the Sky") in the feature film "James Dean: Race With Destiny" (1996).
Connors first worked in TV starting in 1954 with an episode of "Ford Theatre" and was active as a guest star, particularly as a heavy in Westerns, throughout the decade. CBS gave him his first chance to star in a series with "Tightrope!" (1959-60), in which he played an undercover agent. "Mannix," often considered one of the most violent detective shows in TV history, brought true stardom as well as three Emmy nominations as Best Actor in a Drama Series and a 1970 Golden Globe Award. Later, he was the father figure for young agents in "Today's FBI" (ABC, 1981-82) and hosted the syndicated series "Crimes of the Century" (1989). His TV longform work began with his playing a Captain in "High Midnight" (CBS, 1970) and he sought to have "Revenge for a Rape" (ABC, 1976). In 1988-89, Connors played Colonel Hack Peters, a comrade of Robert Mitchum's Pug Henry in the miniseries "War and Remembrance" (ABC).
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