Mike Connors

Active - 1952 - 2020  |   Born - Aug 15, 1925 in Fresno, California, United States  |   Died - Jan 26, 2017   |   Genres - Drama, Action, Western, Comedy, Mystery

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Born Krekor Ohanian, American actor Mike Connors was born and raised in the heavily Armenian community of Fresno, California. He studied law at UCLA, but distinguished himself in sports (he'd gotten in on a basketball scholarship). While in the Air Force, Connors switched his career goals to acting on the advice of producer/director William Wellman, who'd remembered Connors' college athletic activities. Hollywood changed young Mr. Ohanian's last name to Connors, and since this was the era of "Rocks" and "Tabs" it was decided that the actor needed a suitably rugged first name. So Connors spent his first few acting years as Touch Connors, a nickname he'd gotten while playing college football. His first picture was the Joan Crawford vehicle Sudden Fear (1952) but handsome hunks were a glut on the market in the early '50s, so Connors found himself in "B" pictures, mostly at bargain-basement American International studios. Renaming himself "Mike," Connors was able to secure the lead role as an undercover agent on the 1959 detective series Tightrope. The series was a hit but was dropped from the network due to complaints about excessive violence, though it cleaned up in syndication for years afterward. After a few strong but non-starring roles in such films as Good Neighbor Sam (1963) and Where Love Has Gone (1964), Connors landed the title role in Mannix (1967), a weekly TV actioner about a trouble-prone private eye. For the next eight high-rated seasons, Connors' Joe Mannix was beaten up, shot at, cold-cocked and nearly run over in those ubiquitous underground parking lots each and every week. The series ran in over 70 foreign countries, allowing Connors a generous chunk of profits percentages in addition to his lofty weekly salary-- which became loftier each time that the actor announced plans to retire. Mike Connors has starred in the 1981 series Today's FBI and filmed a cop-show pilot titled Ohanian (playing a character with his own real name), but nothing has quite captured the public's fancy, or been as lucrative in reruns, as Connors' chef d'ouevre series Mannix.

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