Remembering Television’s ‘Archie Bunker’ Carroll O’Connor

We celebrate the life today of the late actor Carroll O’Connor, whose portrayal of bigoted yet not mean-spirited Archie Bunker on the groundbreaking CBS sitcom All in the Family made him and the program an absolute American institution of television, taking otherwise taboo subjects like impotence, rape, unemployment, menopause, sex, and of course, politics and societal attitudes and changes, and brought them right into 1970’s living rooms, in an America that was radically going through many makeup changes during that turbulent decade. O’Connor, who died on June 21, 2001, would have been 90 years old today.

For O’Connor, an actor who had been in varied productions such as the big budget overblown spectacle Cleopatra to working with James Garner’s gumshoe detective in Marlowe, to the hilariously irascible General Colt in the Clint Eastwood led war comedy, Kelly’s Heroes, getting the role of Archie Bunker was the actor’s coup of a lifetime. Although he had been in the aforementioned films and various television productions to boot, O’Connor was not even near the household name he would become in the lieu of his breakthrough performance on the breakthrough sitcom.

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