Mike Connors Dies: Mannix Star Was 91

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Mike Connors passed away today of leukemia at a hospital in Tarzana, CA. He was 91.

Connors is best known for his role as Joe Mannix on the CBS series Mannix that ran from 1967-1975.

He was good guy, a private detective who could take a punch like none other. 

Mike Connors-1

Kreker J. Ohanian was born in Fresno, California in 1925. Of Armenian descent, the actor was told to change his name because it sounded too much like George O'Hanlon.

Connors began his film and television career in 1952 under the name Touch (a nickname he earned in college) Connors. 

Early on in the 1950s, he had a bevy of small roles in westerns such as Gun Smoke, Have Gun, Will Travel and Maverick. 

In 1959, Connors got his first series regular role in Tightrope.

Tightrope was originally going to be called Undercover Man, and that makes sense. Connor's character was an undercover agent who was assigned to infiltrate criminal gangs. 

If the promo photos mean anything, he did it by ensuring good looking women were flanking him from every angle. 

It was a role on Here's Lucy in 1971, however, that led to the final Desilu production and his most noted role as a headliner on Mannix.

Mannix was an incredibly stylish show, with some of the most groovy sets on television. (I can vouch for this today, having just watched yesterday -- what are the odds?)

mannix

The series was know for featuring some very cool rides, including a 1969 Dodge Dart, a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda convertible and a 1974 Dodger Challenger.

He didn't have a signature ride because of the number of times Joe Mannix, a Korean War veteran, had to make his escape out of the cars as they plunged over the side of a cliff or something equally dramatic.

With his good looks and athletic physique, Connors was a perfect fit for the action-oriented role.

His character not only took a punch, but about 17 gunshots and found himself unconscious over 50 times!

The show was a success, although considered violent at the time, and Connors was nominated for three Emmys and four Golden Globes. He took home one Globe.

After Mannix, Connors starred in the miniseries War and Remembrance, made appearances on The Love Boat, as well as Murder, She Wrote and even Two and a Half Men in 2007.

The Two and a Half Men role was the last credit role on his resume.

Connors appeared in movies and shows with some of the biggest names of the times, including John Wayne, Charleton Heston and Joan Crawford.

His fruitful career spanned over 50 years.

Another great love of his life was his wife, Mary Lou, and their marriage was also very successful

They celebrated their golden anniversary in 2005.

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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