I loved watching Carroll O'Connor in All in the Family. Was he anything at all like his character, Archie Bunker? What can you tell me about him?
—B. Shipley, Hutchinson, Kan.
O'Connor actually was a well-educated, socially progressive, politically liberal man of the world, the opposite of All in the Family's bigoted, loudmouthed, blue-collar Archie. Born in Manhattan, N.Y., and raised in the borough of Queens, O'Connor studied abroad at the University of Ireland before earning a master's degree in speech in 1956 from the University of Montana. He died in June 2001 at age 76 due to heart failure, one month before his 50th wedding anniversary to wife Nancy Fields. His one son, Hugh, died of a drug overdose in 1995, spurring a heartbroken O'Connor on a mission to warn others about the dangers of addiction. He starred in In the Heat of the Night from 1988 to 1994, and also served as the TV series' executive producer and story editor, under the alias "Matt Harris."