Mike Connors

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Mike Connors
Mike Connors Mannix 1968.JPG
Born Kreker Ohanian
(1925-08-15) August 15, 1925 (age 90)
Fresno, California, US
Alma mater University of California, Los Angeles
Occupation Actor of film and television
Years active 1952–present
Spouse(s) Mary Lou Willey (1949–present)
Children Matthew Gunner Ohanian
Dana Lou Connors

Mike Connors (born Kreker Ohanian[1] August 15, 1925) is an American actor best known for playing detective Joe Mannix in the CBS television series, Mannix. Connors' acting career spans six decades; in addition to his work on television, he has appeared in numerous films.

Early years[edit]

Of Armenian descent, Connors was born Kreker J. Ohanian in Fresno, California.[2]:16 He was an avid basketball player in high school who was nicknamed "Touch" by his teammates. During World War II he served in the United States Army Air Forces.[3] After the war he attended the University of California at Los Angeles on a basketball scholarship, where he played under coach John Wooden. He was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.[3] Director William A. Wellman got him into acting after noticing his expressive face while Connors was playing basketball. He appeared on the Los Angeles CBS station as "Touch" Connors in an episode of Jukebox Jury before the program went national via ABC in 1953. Connors is credited in his early films, such as Island in the Sky (1953), Swamp Women (a.k.a. Swamp Diamonds), Five Guns West (1955), The Day the World Ended (1955), and Flesh and the Spur (1957) as "Touch Connors".

Connors recalled in an interview that he was renamed by Henry Willson saying that "Ohanian" was too close to the actor George O'Hanlon and came up with "Touch Connors".[2]:19


Connors with Gail Fisher in a publicity photo for Mannix, 1970

His film career started in the early 1950s. Connors was cast in the critically acclaimed John Wayne film, Island in the Sky in which he was a crewman on one of the search-and-rescue planes. In 1956, still billed as Touch Connors, he played an Amalekite herder in Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments starring Charlton Heston.

He appeared in numerous television series, including the co-starring role in the 1955 episode "Tomas and the Widow" of the NBC western anthology series Frontier. He guest-starred on the early sitcoms, Hey, Jeannie! and The People's Choice. He guest-starred in two Rod Cameron syndicated crime dramas, City Detective and the western-themed State Trooper, and played the villain in the first episode filmed (but second one aired) of ABC's smash hit Maverick opposite James Garner in 1957.

In 1958, Connors appeared in the title role of the episode "Simon Pitt", the series finale of the NBC western Jefferson Drum, starring Jeff Richards as a frontier newspaper editor. He also appeared in another NBC western series, The Californians.

Connors with Genevieve Gilles in a publicity photo for Mannix, 1973

That same year, Connors was cast as Miles Borden, a corrupt US Army lieutenant bitter over his $54 monthly pay, on NBC's Wagon Train in the episode "The Dora Gray Story", with Linda Darnell in the title role.[4] About this time, he also appeared on an episode of NBC's western series Cimarron City.[5]

Connors appeared in other syndicated series: The Silent Service, based on true stories of the submarine section of the United States Navy; Sheriff of Cochise, set in and about Bisbee, Arizona; Whirlybirds, an aviation adventure series; and Rescue 8, based on stories of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. An episode of Studio 57 starring Connors and titled "Getaway Car" was proposed as a pilot for a series about the CHP to be called Motorcycle Cop.[6]

Later, he was cast in the episode, "The Aerialist", of the anthology series, Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond. In 1963, he guest-starred as Jack Marson in the episode "Shadow of the Cougar" on the NBC modern western series, Redigo, starring Richard Egan. In 1964, Connors appeared in a pinch-hit role for Raymond Burr as attorney Joe Kelly in the Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Bullied Bowler". In 1965, he co-starred in one of Robert Redford's earliest film roles, a World War II black comedy, Situation Hopeless... But Not Serious alongside Sir Alec Guinness.

Connors with Eddie Egan in a publicity photo for Mannix, 1972

Connors later took the starring roles in Tightrope! (1959–1960), Mannix (1967–1975), and Today's F.B.I. (1981–1982). Mannix was originally produced by Desilu Productions (later absorbed by Paramount Television). It was then-President Lucille Ball who pushed for CBS to keep the show on air after a lackluster first season in the ratings. This move enabled the show to become a long-running hit for the network. Connors was able to work with his boss on-screen during a cross-promotion episode of Ball's Here's Lucy series in 1971, showing his skill at comedy. The episode, which opened Lucy's fourth season, is entitled "Lucy and Mannix are Held Hostage". This was notable as the first episode shot at Universal Studios, after Ball ceased producing her program at Paramount Studios.

Connors played Air Force Colonel Harrison "Hack" Peters in Herman Wouk's 1988 World War II-based miniseries War and Remembrance.


In 1969, Connors won a Golden Globe for his role as Joe Mannix on Mannix.

Personal life[edit]

Connors married Mary Lou Willey in 1949. Together they have a son Matthew Gunner Ohanian and a daughter Dana Lou Connors. Connors lives with his wife in Encino, California.

Partial filmography[edit]




  1. ^ Room, Adrian (2010). Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins (5th ed.). McFarland. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-7864-5763-2. 
  2. ^ a b Weaver, Tom (2003). "Mike Connors". Eye on Science Fiction: 20 Interviews with Classic SF and Horror Filmmakers. McFarland. pp. 16–35. ISBN 978-0-7864-1657-8. 
  3. ^ a b "Mike Connors". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 24 April 2011. 
  4. ^ "The Dora Gray Story". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  5. ^ "Cimarron City". ctva.biz. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  6. ^ Terrace, Vincent (2013). Encyclopedia of Television Pilots, 1937–2012. McFarland. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-7864-7445-5. 
  7. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2009). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946–Present. Random House. p. 1394. ISBN 978-0-307-48320-1. 

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