Actor Mike Connors dies at 91

Posted January 29, 2017

As Joe Mannix, the heroic detective of the CBS action series, he raked in one of TV's highest salaries in the early 1970s.

Mike Connors, best known for his role as detective Joe Mannix on the 1960s show Mannix, died Thursday in Tarzana, California.

Mannix ran for eight seasons from 1968 to 1975 and was the last series produced by Desilu productions. Episodes normally climaxed with a brawl. The actor once said that, while previous small-screen PIs were hard-nosed and cynical, Mannix "got emotionally involved" in his cases. The role also earned Connors four Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe for best actor in a dramatic series in 1970.

Born Krekor Ohanian in Fresno, Calif., Connors was of Armenian descent (a trait carried over to his Mannix character) and served in the Air Force during World War II. Tall and athletic, he attended UCLA on a basketball scholarship and was noticed by veteran Hollywood director William Wellman, who steered him into acting. He also had several film films, including Island in the Sky and The Ten Commandments. Mannix's secretary was portrayed by Gail Fisher, one of few African-American actresses on a regular network television series at the time, Variety noted.

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Connors guest-starred in "Two and a Half Men" in 2007 and other television shows like "Murder She Wrote", "Love Boat", and "Walker, Texas Ranger".

In May 2011, he sued CBS and Paramount for millions of dollars for unpaid royalties.

Connors is survived by his wife Mary Lou, his daughter Dana, his son-in-law Mike Condon and his granddaughter Cooper Wills.