John Carroll O'Connor (August 2, 1924 – June 21, 2001) was an American actor, producer, and director whose television career spanned four decades. A lifelong member of the Actors Studio, O'Connor first attracted attention as Major General Colt in the 1970 film Kelly's Heroes. The following year, he found fame as the bigoted working man Archie Bunker, the main character in the 1970s CBS television sitcoms All in the Family (1971 to 1979) and Archie Bunker's Place (1979 to 1983). O'Connor later starred in the NBC/CBS television crime drama In the Heat of the Night from 1988 to 1995, where he played the role of southern Police Chief William (Bill) Gillespie. At the end of his career in the late 1990s, he played the father of Jamie Buchman (Helen Hunt) on Mad About You.
In 1996, O'Connor was ranked number 38 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time.
O'Connor died on June 21, 2001, in Culver City, California, from a heart attack brought on by complications from diabetes. He was 76 years old. His funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Westwood, Los Angeles, California, and was attended by All in the Family cast members Rob Reiner, Sally Struthers, and Danielle Brisebois, as well as producer Norman Lear. Jean Stapleton, who had been a close friend of O'Connor's since the early 1960s, did not attend the service due to a commitment for a stage performance.
O'Connor's best friend Larry Hagman and his family were also there, alongside the surviving cast of In the Heat of the Night, including Alan Autry and Denise Nicholas, who also attended the Mass. Actor Martin Sheen, then starring on The West Wing, delivered the eulogy. O'Connor is buried at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery with his son Hugh's cenotaph placed on his grave stone.
In honor of O'Connor's career, TV Land moved an entire weekend of programming to the next week and showed a continuous marathon of All in the Family. During the commercial breaks, TV Land also showed interview footage of O'Connor and various All in the Family actors, producers with whom he had worked, and other associates.