skip navigation
Robert Conrad

Robert Conrad

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

Warner Bros. Romance Classics... Troy Donahue stars in four fun-filled classics sure to satisfy your appetite for... more info $31.96was $39.98 Buy Now

Baa Baa Black Sheep: Black... Loosely based on the memoirs of Major Greg "Pappy" Boyington who led one of the... more info $12.97was $19.97 Buy Now

Coach of the Year ... Jim Brandon, a former player of the Chicago Bears, has been paralyzed during the... more info $13.95was $12.99 Buy Now

Assassin ... A retired agent from an Intelligence Agency is contacted by the Agency in order... more info $12.95was $12.99 Buy Now

The Wild Wild West: The Second... Eccentric and visionary, this series is resurrected in this collection of... more info $18.95was $22.98 Buy Now

Columbo: Season Four ... From a spoiled kidnapping plot to murder at a historic military academy, Columbo... more info $13.95was $34.98 Buy Now

Also Known As: Conrad Robert Falk Died:
Born: March 1, 1935 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois, USA Profession: producer, actor, screenwriter, director, nightclub singer, milk truck driver, boxer, custodian

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

o become leaders of the Indian tribes whose competition for land with white settlers comprises much of the miniseries. The role allowed Conrad to show his depth as an actor - something that few of his previous efforts had done.Conrad got a second chance at exploring a complicated character when he took on infamous Watergate conspirator G. Gordon Liddy in "Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy" for television in 1982. An avowed admirer of Liddy, who served as technical advisor on the project, Conrad threw himself into the part, winning some hard-fought critical respect for his performance. For a brief period in the early 1980s, Conrad appeared to be pursuing opportunities in comedy - he hosted "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ) and appeared in the dark political satire "Wrong is Right" (1982) for director Richard Brooks. But his action hero past was never far behind him, thanks to the success of the reunion TV-movies "The Wild Wild West Revisited" (1979) and "More Wild Wild West" (1980), so he settled once again into regular rotation as tough cops and detectives in unmemorable TV-movies.Conrad returned to series work on three separate occasions during the 1980s and into the following decade. The...

o become leaders of the Indian tribes whose competition for land with white settlers comprises much of the miniseries. The role allowed Conrad to show his depth as an actor - something that few of his previous efforts had done.

Conrad got a second chance at exploring a complicated character when he took on infamous Watergate conspirator G. Gordon Liddy in "Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy" for television in 1982. An avowed admirer of Liddy, who served as technical advisor on the project, Conrad threw himself into the part, winning some hard-fought critical respect for his performance. For a brief period in the early 1980s, Conrad appeared to be pursuing opportunities in comedy - he hosted "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ) and appeared in the dark political satire "Wrong is Right" (1982) for director Richard Brooks. But his action hero past was never far behind him, thanks to the success of the reunion TV-movies "The Wild Wild West Revisited" (1979) and "More Wild Wild West" (1980), so he settled once again into regular rotation as tough cops and detectives in unmemorable TV-movies.

Conrad returned to series work on three separate occasions during the 1980s and into the following decade. The first was "High Mountain Rangers" (CBS, 1988), with Conrad and his real-life sons Shane and Christian as members of an elite emergency rescue team. Daughter Joan also served as executive producer on the show, which lasted just three months. Remarkably, the show spawned a spin-off, "Jesse Hawkes" (CBS, 1989), which only aired six times before its cancellation. "High Sierra Search and Rescue" (Hallmark, 1995), with Conrad's second wife, LaVelda Fann, among its cast, also enjoyed an equally brief run. The following year, Conrad made his first appearance in a major theatrical release in over a decade with a brief appearance in the Arnold Schwarzenegger comedy "Jingle All the Way" (1996). His dry sense of humor was put to excellent use when he attended the 1997 Golden Raspberry Awards - which celebrated the worst in film entertainment - to accept all three of the trophies awarded to the big-screen adaptation of "The Wild, Wild West" (1997). Conrad had been a vocal opponent of the film version, which cast Will Smith in the role of James West.

After the new millennium, Conrad slowly limited his on-screen appearances to narration jobs for various documentary series and contributing to the DVD releases of "Wild, Wild West." He settled in California's High Sierras with his family and gave the impression that he had retired from the entertainment business. He re-surfaced in 2003 after being involved in a car accident that left him and the passenger of the other car in serious condition. Conrad was later found to have a high blood alcohol level at the time of the accident, and was given six months of house arrest and a lengthy probation. Despite rumors that he had suffered permanent injuries as a result of the accident, Conrad went public in 2005 with a bid to run for president of the Screen Actors Guild. He had been an active member during the 1980s, when both he and Charlton Heston formed a conservative unit that helped to unseat the more liberal Edward Asner from the presidency. Conrad's campaign ended in September of 2005 when he was defeated by Alan Rosenberg.cked but mostly serious Western adventure about two Secret Service agents who carried out clandestine missions for President Ulysses S. Grant. Conrad was James West, who provided the fists and the romance, while Emmy nominee Ross Martin was Artemus Gordon, a master of disguise. As the show grew in popularity, it took on a more tongue-in-cheek tone - perhaps to match the increasingly outrageous adventures of James Bond on the big screen - with Conrad facing threats from robots, earthquake machines, and arch-villains like the diminutive Dr. Loveless (Michael Dunn). Conrad could also be counted upon to engage in one or more knock-down, drag-out brawls with evildoers per episode, as well as any manner of stunts, all of which he performed himself with a team of stuntmen. This dedication to the show occasionally resulted in injury for Conrad, including a 12-foot fall from a balcony that resulted in a concussion.

While enjoying the popularity of "West," Conrad also directed and wrote a Western, "The Bandits" (1967), which marked the film debut of actor Jan-Michael Vincent. Thought not a success, the film launched his career as the occasional director of his own television efforts. After "West" was cancelled in 1969, Conrad struggled to find a worthwhile follow-up on television. Jack Webb's "The D.A." (NBC, 1971-72) cast him in a documentary-style procedural about the trials of a deputy district attorney, while "The Adventures of Nick Carter" (1972) was a failed pilot that attempted to exploit his "Wild, Wild West" fan base by casting him as the famed hero of 19th century pulp detective fiction. Conrad later replaced Roy Scheider as the spymaster hero of "Assignment Vienna" (ABC, 1972-73), a drama shot on location in Europe. None of these efforts could attract a substantial audience, however, and Conrad's attempts to generate a film career met with equal indifference. "Murph the Surf" (1975), based on the real-life exploits of jewel thief Jack Roland Murphy, enjoyed a small cult following, but for the most part, Conrad was finding more employment as pitchman for Everyready batteries. The brawny spots also made him the object of spoofs by Johnny Carson and other TV comics, which Conrad took in stride with considerable good humor.

Conrad finally struck paydirt in 1976 with "Baa Baa Black Sheep," a World War II series about a group of misfit fliers battling the Japanese in the South Pacific. Buoyed by impressive footage of real aerial dogfights from the Department of Defense, the series found favor with male audiences. For his work, Conrad won a People's Choice Award for Favorite Male Actor as well as received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance. The accolades were not enough to extend the show's lifespan beyond its debut season, however and NBC pulled the plug on the show at the end of the 1976-77 season. Conrad was unwilling to let the series die without a fight so he attended a meeting of NBC affiliates and made direct appeals to station managers in an attempt to drum up support for the show. The grass roots effort paid off with a revival in 1977 under a new title, "Black Sheep Squadron," which ran for another season before once again taking the plunge in 1978. Conrad would direct numerous episodes during the show's network run, and cast his daughter, aspiring actress Nancy Conrad, in a semi-regular role as a military nurse.

During his run on "Black Sheep," Conrad was also a regular presence on "Battle of the Network Stars" (ABC, 1976-1986), a regular series of TV specials which pitted the stars of each network's programs against each other in often silly Olympic-style competitions. Conrad captained the NBC team six times between 1976 and 1980, and was the focus of an embarrassing incident that saw him pitching a public fit over his team's loss to ABC in the 1976 special. He challenged ABC captain Gabe Kaplan to a face-off that would decide the winner of the event, but was defeated by the star of "Welcome Back, Kotter" (ABC, 1975-79) in a foot race. In 1979, Conrad returned to series work in another spy series, "A Man Called Sloane" (NBC, 1979-1980). It failed to find its niche with viewers, but Conrad rebounded with an impressive turn in the ambitious 26-hour miniseries "Centennial," based on the novel by James Michener. Robert Blake and Charles Bronson were originally considered for the key role of the French Canadian Pasquinel, but Conrad eventually inherited the role, which was among the meatiest parts of his career. An opportunistic trapper and panhandler with two families - one white; one Native American - he pays for his gold lust with his life, but not before fathering two sons wh

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Glory Days (1988) Director
2.
  High Mountain Rangers (1987) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Jingle All the Way (1996) Officer Hummell
2.
 Search and Rescue (1994) Griffin "Tooter" Campbell
3.
 Two Fathers: Justice For the Innocent (1994) Stack Stackhouse
4.
 Sworn To Vengeance (1993) Sergeant Jack Stewart
5.
 Mario and the Mob (1992) Mario Dante
6.
 Anything to Survive (1990) Eddie
7.
 Gladiator School (1988) Officer Chick Stacy
8.
 Glory Days (1988) Michael "Mike" Moran Sr
9.
 High Mountain Rangers (1987) Jeff Hawkes
10.
 One Police Plaza (1986) Lieutenant Daniel Malone
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Sang in Chicago nightclubs while working as a milk truck driver
:
Actor Nick Adams helped Conrad to obtain a contract at Warner Bros.
1958:
Earliest feature film appearances include a role in "Thundering Jets"
1959:
Co-starred in the ABC detective series "Hawaiian Eye"
:
Toured with a nightclub act; appeared in USA, Australia and Mexico
1965:
Portrayed Pretty Boy Floyd in the biopic "Young Dillinger"
:
Starred as James West on the CBS series "The Wild, Wild West"
1969:
First played the character of Paul Ryan in the NBC TV-movie "The D.A.: Murder One"
:
Reprised role of District Attorney Paul Ryan in "The D.A." (NBC)
1972:
Starred in the unsuccessful pilot "The
:
Starred in "Assignment: Vienna" (ABC)
1974:
Portrayed Allan Kuhn, the partner of burglar Jack Murphy in the big screen biopic "Murph the Surf/Live a Little, Steal a Lot"; Conrad and Kuhn developed the story for the feature
:
Appeared as Pappy Boyington in "Baa Baa Black Sheep/The Black Sheep Squadron"; also directed episodes ; daughter Nancy Conrad appeared in episodes as a nurse
:
Played the French-Canadian trapper Pasquinel in the NBC miniseries "Centennial"
1979:
Starred in short-lived series "The Duke" (NBC); also directed episodes
1979:
Played John Dillinger in "The Lady in Red"
1979:
First reprised the role of James West in the CBS TV-movie "The Wild Wild West Revisited"
:
Played title role in series "A Man Called Sloane" (NBC); also directed episodes
1980:
Again played West in "More Wild Wild West" (CBS)
1982:
Had title role in the NBC TV-movie "Will, G Gordon Liddy"
1982:
Last film appearance for 14 years in "Wrong Is Right"
1984:
Had title role in the busted NBC pilot "Hard Knox"
1985:
Teamed with George Hamilton for "Two Fathers' Justice" (NBC)
1986:
Played title role in the CBS movie "Charley Hannah"
1987:
Made CBS pilot "High Mountain Rangers"
1988:
Credited as creator and also starred in "High Mountain Rangers" (CBS); sons Christian and Shane co-starred
1988:
Directed and starred in the CBS TV-movie "Glory Days"
1989:
With sons Christian and Shane, starred in the sequel series "Jesse Hawkes" (CBS)
1994:
Starred in the NBC pilot "Search and Rescue"
1994:
Reteamed with George Hamilton for the sequel "Two Fathers: Justice for the Innocent" (NBC)
1995:
Created and starred in the short-lived NBC series "High Sierra Search and Rescue"; wife LaVelda Fann was a regular on the show
1996:
Had first big screen role in over a decade in "Jingle All the Way"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Northwestern University: Evanston , Illinois -

Notes

March 2003, Conrad was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol after a head-on crash with another car. The driver of the other vehicle, suffered multiple fractures to his left leg.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Joan Kenlay. Married in 1952; divorced; mother of Conrad's five older children.
wife:
LaVelda Fann. Actor. Married in 1977; mother of Conrad's three younger children.

Family close complete family listing

daughter:
Joan Conrad Erwin. Former producer. Mother, Joan Kenlay.
daughter:
Nancy Conrad. Producer, actor. Mother, Joan Kenlay.
daughter:
Christy Conrad. Mother, Joan Kenlay.
son:
Christian Conrad. Actor. Born on September 17, 1964; mother, Joan Kenlay.
son:
Shane Conrad. Actor. Born on September 24, 1971; mother, Joan Kenlay.
daughter:
Kaja Conrad. Mother, LaVelda Fann.
daughter:
Camille Conrad. Mother, LaVelda Fann.
daughter:
Chelsea Conrad. Mother, LaVelda Fann.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute