January 12, 2020

Carroll O'Connor from 'All in the Family' Once Opened up about the Death of His Son

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"All in the Family" actor Carroll O'Connor once said in an interview that he would never be able to put his son Hugh's passing entirely behind him.

Hugh, an actor and the only son of O'Connor, died by suicide after a long battle with drug addiction in March 1995.

Following his son's death, O'Connor had alleged that Harry Perzigian was Hugh's drug supplier, as reported by CNN.

Carroll O'Connor at Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California, United States in 2000. | Photo: Getty Images


Perzigian then filed a suit against him, claiming he was defamed by the statements of the actor made after the demise of his child. However, in 1997, a Los Angeles jury favored with O'Connor.

In an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live," O'Connor said:

"I can't forget it. There isn't a day that I don't think of him and want him back and miss him, and I'll feel that way until I'm not here any more."

Carroll O'Connor laughs as his son Hugh squeezes his cheek. | Photo: Getty Images


As reported by The New York Times, Hugh, who played Deputy Lonnie Jamison in the television series "In the Heat of the Night," died of a gunshot wound at his home. He was 33.

The police discovered a note, and they considered his death a suicide. According to O'Connor, for 16 years, his child had been dependent on different drugs and substances. 

While working on starting his acting career in the early 1950s, O'Connor filled in as a substitute high school English teacher to pay the rent.

Harry Perzigian, who claims Carroll O'Connor slandered him when he publicly blamed him for son Hugh's suicide death, outside Los Angeles courtroom. | Photo: Getty Images


Since Hugh's death, the actor has become an open supporter against drug abuse, CNN reported.

He helped campaign for a California law that permits dead addicts' family members to sue their drug dealers for money related damages. O'Connor, whose television career spanned four decades, said:

"Any other state that needs me, I'll speak up."


While working on starting his acting career in the early 1950s, O'Connor filled in as a substitute high school English teacher to pay the rent, according to IMDB.

He met his wife, Nancy, at the University of Montana while both were performing in a play.

O'Connor is best known for his starring roles as Archie Bunker in "All in the Family" (1971) and as Police Chief Bill Gillespie on "In the Heat of the Night" (1988).

Carroll O'Connor, Nancy, and Hugh visited New York City Mayor John Lindsay at City Hall in 1973. | Photo: Getty Images


He generally wore his wedding band on his middle finger and not the traditional ring finger while playing Archie Bunker.

In 1989, he underwent heart bypass surgery and angioplasty to prevent a stroke nine years later.

In June 2001, he passed away from a heart attack due to complications from diabetes in Culver City, California. He was 76.