Mike Connors: “I didn’t want to just walk through the part of Mannix when it was so successful”

Screen and television actor/star Mike Connors (born 1925 as Kreker Ohanian, of Armenian descent) gained worldwide fame and recognition when he was playing detective Joe Mannix in the long-running TV series “Mannix” (1967-1975), a role which gave him screen immortality. Consequently, meeting and talking to Mr. Connors at a restaurant in North Hollywood a couple of years ago, was a true delight. Even though retired from acting now, during our conversation he was recognized more than once when someone passed our table, noticing him and saying enthusiastically, “Hi, Mannix!” To which he politely replied, “Hey there, how are you doing? Take care!”

Before “Mannix” came along, he played in several features, in supporting and character roles opposite numerous screen veterans such as John Wayne, Angela Lansbury, Alec Guinness or Joan Crawford, and in TV shows, most notably in “Tightrope” (1959-1960) with Mr. Connors in his first starring role.

Initially, it was film pioneer and director William A. Wellman who introduced him to acting after noticing his expressive face while Connors was playing basketball. Mr. Connors: “He was the first one who asked me whether I wanted to be an actor or not.”

Did William A. Wellman give you any hints or guide you?

Short Time for Insanity
The cover of William A. Wellman’s autobiography, ‘A Short Time for Insanity’ (1974)

No, oddly enough. I was working before I really got to know him well. He had said, ‘When I am going to do my next picture, I will call you.’ But he then got ill and didn’t work in a picture for about a year and a half. In the meantime, I got work and when I met him a couple of years later, he gave me a small part in a John Wayne picture that he directed, called “Island in the Sky” [1953]. We became very good friends after that, but that was the only time I worked for him. His son [William Wellman, Jr.] has done a documentary on his father [“Wild Bill: Hollywood Maverick”, 1995] and wrote a book about one of his early screen classics “Wings” [1927] with Clara Bow [book titled ‘The Man and His Wings: William Wellman and the Making of the First Best Picture’, 2006].

How interesting were the 1950s when all those new, young actors were coming up, some of them becoming really big stars?

I thing that’s because of during the war period, there weren’t any young people getting into the entertainment business since they were all in the service. When the war was over, in 1945 and 1946, we all got out of the service and started getting scholarships, went to acting schools, and that’s why right towards the end of the 1940s and early 1950s, there were a lot of young people who started to hit, because they had those two, three, four five years after the war to develop their abilities as actors, beginning to do stage work and motion pictures, and get a name for themselves. A lot of actors that were stars just before the war went into service and their careers faded a little bit because they were out of the public eye for three or four years. That’s why I think that particular period was a big switch in the age and the amount of young talent coming along.

Could another reason also be that the studios had competition for the first time with the arrival of television, and new filmmakers such as Stanley Kramer and Fred Zinnemann brought a new kind of cinema with more realism, compared to most of the traditional studio films that had been made up until then?

Yes, there was more realism. I don’t know who was basically responsible for that. In the acting profession, naturally it was Brando with his form of Method and realistic acting, but as you say, television also had a great deal to do with it. More and more people were watching television, while less and less people were going to the theatres. Keeping stars under contract became very expensive, and the unions came in, so all of that had an effect on what was happening to the studios. I got right in at the tail end of the studio contracts: when I was looking for a contract with one of the studios, they were letting everybody go. So you’d sign to do a picture, and very seldom they gave you seven-year contracts anymore. I never had a studio contract, I only had picture deals, like a two-picture deal at Paramount, or an two-picture and a television series deal at Lorimar Productions, but most of the things I did were independent. Naturally I had a contract with Columbia studios when I did the series “Tightrope” [1959-1960, 36 episodes], then I got a contract with Paramount and Desilu studios when I did “Mannix” [1967-1975, 194 episodes], and a contract with David Gerber Productions when we did “Today’s F.B.I.” [1981-1982, 18 episodes], I think that was part of MGM.

Would you consider your character of undercover agent Nick Stone in the TV series “Tightrope” your breakthrough role?

I would say that was when people began to know who I was. That show was quite successful and unfortunately, the head of CBS studio, Jim Aubrey, wanted to switch the time when the show was on the air. In those days, the series were usually bought by a few sponsors, in other words there were one or two sponsors that financed the whole show. The half-hour “Tightrope” was sponsored by a pharmaceutical company, a cigarette company and a shaving lotion. They owned that half hour period at CBS. So the studio head said he wanted to switch the show from nine o’clock to ten o’clock, and on another night. But the sponsors wanted to keep this time, they had it for a long time, nine o’clock was a perfect time for them: ‘Now that we have a hit show, we don’t want to move it.’ But Aubrey said, ‘Either you accept the move, or you’re off the air.’ And then they said, ‘We’re gonna go off.’ So they left. And that’s why the show went off the air, because Jim Aubrey made an ultimatum which they didn’t want.

When it went off the air, did it hurt your career?

No, it didn’t hurt my career; it hurt me, because financially it was very helpful. Television in those days was strange: they said you’re either a motion picture actor or a television actor. The producer’s theory was: if the people can see you for free, they certainly are not going to pay to see you in a theatre. So therefore it was very difficult, once you had done television, to get a starring role in a motion picture. That’s why I kept doing television and very little motion pictures from the time I finished “Tightrope” till I got “Mannix”. I continued to do two-hour movies for television. And even when I finished “Mannix”, there was still that attitude: if you’re on television, they won’t pay to see you in a theatre. If you have a hit television series today, they immediately star you in a motion picture. They try you out there, but in those days, they didn’t. So when I finished “Mannix”, they told me: ‘Don’t do any more television, don’t do anything for a year or two, until people forget that you were Joe Mannix.’ And that’s what I did, and so I enjoyed spending time with my family. Before “Mannix”, I did pictures with Alec Guinness, Robert Redford, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Lee Marvin, Robert Shaw – I enjoyed that period a lot.

What was your basic training school to become an actor?

Farley Granger scan
Farley Granger (1925-2011). Picture: Marvin Paige Motion Picture and Television Archive

I started taking courses at UCLA. For three and a half years, I had drama courses and I did plays in and around California. Then I worked with a number of private tutors and coaches, one of them was Bob Parish who was a drama coach and teacher, and also with Jeff Corey. So I was very lucky, because I did a number of plays and worked with them, I got busy – luckily. Then I was offered a ninety-day contract at the Sam Goldwyn studio. Farley Granger was under contract for Sam Goldwyn and he was giving them a bad time about money. So they signed me, if Farley Granger was giving them a hard time, they’d sign a young actor from UCLA they could cast in all the parts they wanted. Eventually, Granger resigned at Goldwyn and they let me go, but what it did for me, is that when Hollywood saw that I had been signed with Goldwyn, every agent in town called me and wanted to handle me as an actor. So I was able to get a very good and famous artist agency in those days, Charles Feldman was the head of it. Cubby [Albert R.] Broccoli was one of the agents, and he handled me for a short time before he left to start producing. So sometimes things work out – the casting man at Goldwyn told me this story when I ran into him a year later, what the game was they played. He said, ‘If you had signed, you may have very well made those pictures that Farley Granger did. But when he signed, Goldwyn had one male and one female under contract. The others he would hire picture by picture.

Looking back now, do you feel it was a missed opportunity, career wise?

Yes, in way I think it was. Had Farley Granger not resigned and they put me in one of Goldwyn’s pictures – Goldwyn did some very good pictures – I think my career could have gone in the direction of motion pictures – if it went at all – it would have been motion pictures, rather than television. Maybe I would not have made it at all, or I would have become successful in motion pictures to the star quality.

What does “Mannix” mean to you, also back then when it was such a successful series shown all over the world?

“Mannix” was very important to me because it was so successful. Period. Very often, it was the number one show on television. They did a lot of publicity, a lot of promotion. I was nominated four times for an Emmy [1970-1973], five times for a Golden Globe [1970-1974, earning a Golden Globe in 1970 as Best Actor in a TV series, category drama], so I was very happy with it. I loved the show, I loved doing it, and it had no negatives as far as I was concerned. It would have had a negative had I been a person who said, ‘I only want to do motion pictures.’ But I just wanted to act, I loved acting, and I wanted to be recognized as an actor. And “Mannix” certainly did that for me. The show itself started a whole new era of detective shows, because this wasn’t the usual cynical private eye à la Humphrey Bogart. It was more a show about an all-round normal human being. The character of Joe Mannix could be taken advantage of by a pretty face, he could shed a tear on an emotional level, he was very close to his father and his family, so he was more a normal personality with normal behaviour. I think that’s a part of why the show was so successful, people could identify with him, both men and women. The audience got emotionally involved with the characters they saw on television. So it started a whole new type of action shows, so to speak.

Were you able to play the character of Joe Mannix the way you wanted it?

Well, I had a great relationship with the producers. There were three very bright people involved with “Mannix”. One of them was [producer] Bruce Geller who had also created the series “Mission: Impossible”, and the other two were [producers] Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts who had also written some very successful pictures, such as “White Heat” [1949] with James Cagney. They were so honest and they made sure the stories were very well written. They had great understanding to realize what was good for the portrayal and the character of Mannix. We never had any disagreements – which doesn’t happen very often. There are always conflicts, you know, but we never had any, so we were very lucky. Bruce Geller did have problems with Paramount though, because he didn’t care if it cost more money if it was a benefit to the show, where as the studio constantly wanted to save money and do it as cheaply as possible. Geller would always fight, there was even one point when he wasn’t allowed on the studio lot after they had a big disagreement, so he and I were on the phone constantly at night. Later on, when I did “Today’s F.B.I.”, I had conflicts with the producer who was a good friend and a terrific guy, but we did not see eye to eye as to how that show should go. It wasn’t the same feeling on that show that I had when I was doing “Tightrope” and “Mannix”. During “Today’s F.B.I.”, I did not look forward to going to work every day because we were not doing the kind of work that I thought the show should be.

Were you aware of the popularity of “Mannix”? People were really looking forward to watching the next episode.

Mike Connors Mannix scan
Mike Connors as Joe Mannix. Picture: Marvin Paige Motion Picture and Television Archive

You know, it’s interesting. The first couple of years, they would send me out on promotional tours during the weekends. The feedback that I got from the public when I went into those different cities, that was incredible. I was shocked about the impact that television had. And every time I went to another city, the ratings went higher. So I went to the head of television at Paramount and I said, ‘If you let me go early on Friday evening to promote the show and I’ll come back on Sunday night, can you give me a little late start on Monday morning? Because I think I can get “Mannix” to number one.’ He said, ‘Okay, if you can get this show to number one, Mike, we’re going to get you a nice gift, whatever it might be.’ So he agreed and I went off for about seven or eight weekends, two or three cities each weekend, doing promotion, radio and TV interviews, things like that. Then, it was few days before Christmas, I had to go to the store because we had family coming over. When I got back home, my wife said, ‘Oh, by the way, there’s something in the front driveway.’ I went out and there was a Maserati with a red ribbon around it. That was gift they gave me for getting “Mannix” to number one on the ratings.

Were you as enthusiastic about playing the character of Joe Mannix the very first day on the set as you were on the last day?

Naturally, the more familiar you become with the character, the less difficult it is to play the part. But there was this game I used to play: with each new episode, how am I going to keep the excitement and still be a little different? So I always tried to look for something new in the relationship with the other characters, and when I watched the episode, I could see if the little, subtle things I was trying to do, came through. To the people watching “Mannix”, it may not have been a big deal, but to me it was a little something extra that I was trying to do. I didn’t want to just walk through the part of Mannix when it was so successful. It made me concentrate more and use more energy. It kept me on my toes and kept me interested. And we always had a very interesting guest star. I will never forget Diane Keaton. When she appeared on the set [in an episode in 1971], the whole company crew fell in love with her. So off-beat, she put a smile on your face to watch her work. Everybody knew right away she would become a star, she had this off-beat, goofy quality. We also had Tom Selleck, Martin Sheen, John Ritter and so many other talented people, it was always exciting for me to work with those young people who were coming up. We once had this legendary dark-haired actress… – I’m having one of those senior moments here – what’s her name again… Ruth Roman! She was a star before all of us were born, so to speak. It was so exciting and so wonderful to have her on the set. But then, there were some people who didn’t treat her with the dignity and respect she deserved. Young people sometimes don’t respect the people that made this business because they have no idea about the history of Hollywood. They are not interested and simply don’t know what gave them the chance to do what they’re doing and becoming who they are. It bugs me that there is no respect or desire to know about the beginning or the past of Hollywood and what made it what it is. Some of those young people are only interested in the now, they need immediate gratification.

While for the people of your generation, it often took many years to work your way up, didn’t it?

Absolutely. We used to take all the various steps: you start in a small part, then you get a bigger part, then you get billing, then co-starring and starring, and finally your name appears above the title. You had to work your way up, and it took years and years. You went from A to Z, you went along the way and you appreciated for what finally came. Today, with the impact of television now, a waiter in any restaurant could become a big star all over the world within three months. And he also goes from A to Z but without going through all the numbers in between.

You’re very much interested in film history, I presume?

Orson Welles The Maggnificent Ambersons (1942)I love to read biographies and autobiographies about the business, but also about politicians for example. I just finished one about Winston Churchill, and there was an interesting quote about him. He was at a party, and this woman, the host of the party, said to him, ‘Winston, you’re terrible, you’re disrespectful and you’re a drunk!’ And he said, ‘Yes Madam, but you’re ugly and tomorrow I’ll be sober.’ There’s another one, with a woman in the British Parliament, I think, who told him, ‘You’re impossible, you drink too much, you do this, you do that, if you were my husband, I’d give you poison.’ And he said, ‘If you were my wife, I’d take it.’ I also just finished the autobiographies of Tony Curtis, George Hamilton and Roger Moore. Right now I’m reading a book that Bob Newhart’s wife gave me the other night, it’s about the stories behind four motion pictures. Two of them were “Rebel Without a Cause” [1955] and “The Magnificent Ambersons” [1942] with stories about Nicholas Ray and Orson Welles. You never know how much of it is true, but a number of things I heard before and I find those things fascinating.

Were you able to enjoy your success when you were at the peak of your popularity?

Oh, absolutely. I feel I was very lucky and I have enjoyed every minute of it. I wouldn’t change anything, I have no regrets as far as my career is concerned. Recently, my wife and I were watching something on television, and I said to her, ‘Do you realize how lucky we’ve been with all the success we had, being able to go to almost every country in the world, being recognized and people being nice to you, having as friends some of the funniest and wittiest people in the world, having met and dined with royalty like Grace Kelly in Monaco, and the top politicians in America, having had dinner at the White House? It’s a fairy tale, I mean, how did that happen? How lucky we are and were to be a part of that? There was never a time when I took any of it for granted, thinking, ‘Oh well, I deserve it.’ The good Lord has been good to me, that’s been pretty much the formula of our lives. We’ve been married now for about sixty years and we’ve enjoyed every bit of it, we’ve had a great life. The only negative is the death of my son. You then think and say, ‘What is the grand scheme to take away such a terrific young man?’ Who knows, maybe there is a formula and scheme in the world that you have to accept, no matter how hard and painful it is.

Did your work as an actor, and the responsibilities that come along with it, ever cause you sleepless nights?

As far as responsibilities are concerned, you always worry that you’re not going to do the best work possible, or that the director might say, ‘Oh God, why did I hire him to do this job.’ So you have the obligation to do the best you can. Eight times out of ten – and I am not alone on this – you go home at night and you say, ‘I could have done that better, I wish I could do that tomorrow. I missed a chance to do something there, why didn’t I do it.’ You relive the day’s work. Unfortunately, it’s always after the fact. Why didn’t I think of that while we were shooting it? So from that standpoint, yes, you have a great responsibility to what you are doing.

Why was “Mannix” cancelled in 1975?

You have to know that we didn’t go off the air because of bad ratings. Every year around May they announce the shows that are cancelled and those that are picked up. I was in New York one week before the new schedule was to be announced, at a CBS party on a Friday night, where they told me not to worry about a thing, you’re in, “Mannix” was picked up. But the following Wednesday, I got a phone call at about six o’clock in the morning from a writer in New York who said, ‘Mike, what have you got to say about “Mannix” being cancelled?’ I said, ‘What?!’ ‘Well, they just announced the new schedule and you’re not on it.’ I couldn’t believe what I heard. What happened between that Friday night and Wednesday, Paramount had a dispute with CBS and that’s why we went off the air. Even in our final year, we had a thirty-four show average, which means it still was a hit show. I was sad, because we had been doing the show for eight years, five days a week, eight months a year and you really become a family. Ninety percent of the crew members that started with the show were still there at the end. I felt very lost when it was over. I remember that I’d wake up and thought, ‘I should be getting in the car and drive to the studio.’ It took me a long time to get over the loss of that show.

I always thought that “Mannix” and “The Fugitive” were the best series of that period. Would you agree with that?

Well yes, that’s a very good comparison.

You said that you were lucky in so many ways. But isn’t it more than just pure luck that you were able to make it as a leading actor in one of the best and best-known TV series of its era?

You have to be in the right place at the right time, and handle the opportunities. It is a fascinating business. I was lucky, I got right in at the tail end of what I consider the great glamorous years of Hollywood, and I met some of those bigger than life stars, like John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Bette Davis, Rita Hayworth, Lee Marvin, Jack Lemmon, Maurice Chevalier, Joan Crawford… They were a whole different breed: a Hollywood star was a different thing in those days compared to a Hollywood star today, and I’m sure that a young person will say, ‘Ah well, he’s from the old school.’ But that’s not entirely true: I appreciate the tremendous talent that those young people have today, it’s incredible how talented some of them are. But the difference though is that extra charisma – or whatever it was – that when you heard or saw Clark Gable or Humphrey Bogart, there was no mistake: you immediately knew them. Today, some of those new actors, if I saw them on the street, I wouldn’t know who they are, although they are terrific actors. There’s that difference between that extra kind of charisma – a different speech, a different walk, something different that made them bigger than life. Today, more than anything, people are looking for the everyday man, they’re not looking for the most handsome or the most charismatic. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but I miss that extra something special that you could find in people like Cary Grant.

You’re still in great shape. What’s your secret?

I swim a lot, play golf, and I try to exercise at home as much as I can, I have a few exercise machines. Lately my back has been bothering me tremendously and my knees, from doing all of these stunts I did – I should have a knee replacement, but I’m fighting it – they prevent me from being as active as I would like to be. As a result, I put on a little weight, so now I go back to the swimming pool more. At this stage in life, I try to be careful with what I eat and do. There’s an old saying, ‘If I knew I’d live this long, I’d have better taken care of my body.’

North Hollywood, California
September 19, 2014

MOVIES

SUDDEN FEAR (1952) DIR David Miller PROD Joseph Kaufmann SCR Robert Smith, Lenore J Coffee (novel ‘Sudden Fear’ [1948] by Edna Sherry) CAST Joan Crawford, Jack Palance, Gloria Grahame, Bruce Bennett, Virginia Huston, Touch Connors (Junior Kearney)

THE 49TH MAN (1953) DIR Fred F Sears PROD Sam Katzman SCR Harry Essex (story by Ivan Tors) CAST John Ireland, Richard Denning, Suzanne Dalbert, Robert Foulk, Touch Connors (Lieutenant Magrew), Richard Avonde

SKY COMMANDO (1953) DIR Fred F Sears PROD Sam Katzman SCR Samuel Newman (story by Samuel Newman, Arthur E Orloff, William Sackheim) CAST Dan Duryea, Frances Gifford, Touch Connors (Lieutenant Hobson Lee), Michael Fox, William Klein

ISLAND IN THE SKY (1953) DIR William A. Wellman PROD John Wayne, Robert Fellows SCR Ernest K Gann (novel ‘Island in the Sky [1944] by Ernest K Gann) CAST John Wayne, Lloyd Nolan, James Arness, Andy Devine, Darryl Hickman, Touch Connors (Gainer), Carl ‘Alfalfa’ Switzer

DAY OF TRIUMPH (1954) DIR Irving Pichel PROD James K Friedrich SCR Arthur T Horman CAST Lee J Cobb, Joanna Dru, Robert Wilson, Ralph Freud, Tyler McVey, Touch Connors (Andrew), Toni Gerry

FIVE GUNS WEST (1955) DIR – PROD Roger Corman SCR R. Wright Campbell CAST John Lund, Dorothy Malone, Touch Connors (Hale Clinton), R Wright Campbell, Jonathan Haze, Paul Birch, James Stone, Jack Ingram

SWAMP WOMEN (1955) DIR Roger Corman PROD Bernard Woolner SCR David Stern CAST Beverly Garland, Carole Mathews, Touch Connors (Bob Matthews), Marie Windsor, Jil Jarmyn, Susan Cummings, Ed Nelson

THE TWINKLE IN GOD’S EYE (1955) DIR George Blair PROD Mickey Rooney SCR P. J. Wolfson CAST Mickey Rooney, Coleen Gray, Hugh O’Brien, Joey Forman, Don ‘Red’ Barry, Touch Connors (Lou), Jil Jarmyn

THE DAY THE WORLD ENDED (1955) DIR – PROD Roger Corman SCR Lou Rusoff (also story) CAST Richard Denning, Lori Nelson, Adele Jergens, Touch Connors (Tony Lamont), Paul Birch, Raymond Hatton, Paul Dubov, Roger Corman

JAGUAR (1956) DIR George Blair SCR Benedict Freeman, John Fenton Murray CAST Sabu, Chiquita Johnson, Barton MacLane, Jonathan Hale, Touch Connors (Marty Lang), Jay Novello, Fortunio Bonanova

THE OKLAHOMA WOMAN (1956) DIR – PROD Roger Corman SCR Lou Rusoff CAST Peggie Castle, Richard Denning, Cathy Downs, Tudor Owen, Martin Kingsley, Touch Connors (Tom Blake), Dick Miller

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956) DIR – PROD Cecil B DeMille SCR Jesse L. Lasky, Jr., Fredric M Frank, Æneas MacKenzie (novel ‘Pillar of Fire’ [1859] by Rev J H Ingraham; novel ‘On Eagle’s Wing’ by Rev A. E. Southon; novel ‘Prince of Egypt’ [1951] by Dorothy Clarke Wilson) CAST Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G Robinson, Yvonne De Carlo, Debra Paget, John Derek, Cedric Hardwicke, Nina Foch, Martha Scott, Judith Anderson, John Carradine, Vincent Price, Touch Connors (Amalekite Herder), Herb Alpert

SHAKE, RATTLE & ROCK! (1956) DIR Edward L. Cahn PROD Alex Gordon, James H Nicholson SCR Lou Rusoff CAST Touch Connors (Garry Nelson), Lisa Gay, Sterling Holloway, Douglass Dumbrille, Raymond Hatton, Margaret Dumont, Percy Helton

FLESH AND THE SPUR (1957) DIR Edward L. Cahn PROD Alex Gordon EXEC PROD Touch Connors SCR Charles B Griffith, Mark Hanna (story by Charles B Griffith, Mark Hanna) CAST John Agar, Marla English, Touch Connors (Stacy Tanner), Raymond Hatton, Maria Monay, Joyce Meadows, Kenne Duncan

VOODOO WOMAN (1957) DIR Edward L. Cahn PROD Alex Gordon SCR Russ Bender, V. I. Voss CAST Marla English, Tom Conway, Touch Connors (Ted Bronson), Lance Fuller, Mary Ellen Kay, Paul Dubov, Martin Wilkins

SUICIDE BATTALION (1958) DIR Edward L. Cahn PROD – SCR Lou Rusoff CAST Touch Connors (Matt McCormack), John Ashley, Jewell Lain, Russ Bender, Bing Russell, Scott Peters, Walter Maslow

LIVE FAST, DIE YOUNG (1958) DIR Paul Henreid PROD Richard Kaye, Harry Rybnick SCR Allen Rivkin, Ib Melchior (story by Ib Melchior, Edwin B Watson) CAST Mary Murphy, Norma Eberhardt, Michael Connors (Rick), Sheridan Comerate, Peggy Maley, Troy Donahue

THE DALTON THAT GOT AWAY (1960) DIR Jimmy Salvador PROD Henry A Lube SCR E. L. Erwin CAST Michael Connors, Elsie Cardenas, Carlos Rivas, Félix Mireno, Zachary Milton, Stillman Segar, George Russell, Reed Howes

PANIC BUTTON (1964) DIR George Sherman PROD Giuliano Simonetti SCR Hal Biller (story by Morton Friedman) CAST Maurice Chevalier, Eleanor Parker, Jayne Mansfield, Michael Connors (Frank Pagano), Akim Tamiroff, Carlo Croccolo

GOOD NEIGHBOR SAM (1964) DIR – PROD David Swift SCR David Swift, Everett Greenbaum, James Fritzell (novel by Jack Finney) CAST Jack Lemmon, Romy Schneider, Dorothy Provine, Michael Connors (Howard Ebbets), Edward Andrews, Louis Nye, Robert Q Lewis, Joyce Jameson, Anne Seymour

WHERE LOVE HAS GONE (1964) DIR Edward Dmytryk PROD Joseph E Levine SCR John Michael Hayes (novel by Harold Robbins) CAST Susan Hayward, Bette Davis, Michael Connors (Major Luke Miller), Joey Heatherton, Jane Greer, DeForrest Kelly, George Macready

HARLOW (1965) DIR Gordon Douglas PROD Joseph E. Levine SCR John Michael Hayes CAST Carroll Baker, Red Buttons, Raf Vallone, Angela Lansbury, Peter Lawford, Michael Connors (Jack Harrison), Martin Balsam, Leslie Nielsen, Mary Murphy

SITUATION HOPELESS… BUT NOT SERIOUS (1966) DIR – PROD Gottfried Reinhardt SCR Silvia Reinhardt, Jan Lustig (novel ‘The Hiding Place’ by Robert Shaw) CAST Alec Guinness, Michael Connors (Sergeant Lucky Finder), Paul Dahlke, Frank Wolff, Mady Rahl, Robert Redford

STAGECOACH (1966) DIR Gordon Douglas PROD Martin Rackin SCR Joseph Landon (story ‘Stage to Lordsburg’ by Ernest Haycox; screenplay STAGECOACH [1939] by Dudley Nichols) CAST Ann-Margret, Red Buttons, Michael Connors (Hatfield), Alex Cord, Bing Crosby, Robert Cummings, Van Heflin, Stefanie Powers, Slim Pickens, Keenan Wynn

SE TUTTEl LE DONNE DEL MONDE, US title: KISS THE GIRLS AND MAKE THEM DIE (1967) DIR Henry Levin, Arduino Maiuri PROD Arduino Maiuri, Salvatore Argento SCR Arduino Maiuri, Jack Pulman CAST Michael Connors (Kelly), Dorothy Provine, Raf Vallone, Terry-Thomas, Margaret Lee, Nicoletta Machiavelli, Beverly Adams

AVALANCHE EXPRESS (1979) DIR Mark Robson PROD Mark Robson, Lynn Guthrie SCR Abraham Polonsky (novel by Colin Forbes) CAST Lee Marvin, Robert Shaw, Linda Evans, Maximilian Schell, Joe Namath, Horst Buchholz, Mike Connors (Haller), Claudio Cassinelli

NIGHTKILL (1980) DIR Ted Post PROD David Gil, Richard Hellman SCR Joan Andre, John Case CAST Robert Mitchum, Jaclyn Smith, James Franciscus, Mike Connors (Wendell Atwell), Fritz Weaver, Sybil Danning, Michael Anderson, Jr.

TOO SCARED TO SCREAM(1985) DIR Tony Lo Bianco PROD Mike Connors, Stratton Leopold SCR Neal F Barbara, Glenn Leopold CAST Mike Connors (Lieutenant Alex Dinardo), Anne Archer, Leon Isaac Kennedy, Ian McShane, Ruth Ford, John Heard, Maureen O’Sullivan, Murray Hamilton, Val Avery

FIST FIGHTER(1989) DIR Frank Zuniga PROD Carlos Vasallo SCR Max Bloom (story by Carlos Vasallo) CAST Jorge Rivero, Edward Albert, Brenda Bakke, Mike Connors (Billy Vance), Simón Andreu, Matthias Hues, Emiliano Rodondo

CIUDAD BAJA, a.k.a DOWNTOWN HEAT (1994) DIR Jesus Franco PROD Jesus Franco, Eric Lardy SCR Jesus Franco, Michael Katims (story by Jesus Franco) CAST Mike Connors (Steve), Josephine Chaplin, Oscar Ladoire, Craig Hill, Philippe Lemaire

GIDEON (1999) DIR Claudia Hoover PROD Jack Gilardi, Jr., Christopher Lambert, Brad Mirman, Paul Pompian SCR Brad Mirman CAST Christopher Lambert, Charlton Heston, Carroll O’Connor, Shirley Jones, Mike Connors (Harland Greer), Barbara Bain, Shelley Winters

NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING! (2003) DIR William Tannen PROD Wayne Rogers, Brad Korzen SCR David Pasquesi CAST Linda Black, Alan Blumenfeld, Carmine Caridi, Margaret Cho, Peter Cohen, Stephen Colbert, Mike Connors (Joe Mannix), Paul Dooley, Robert Englund

TV MOVIES

BEG, BORROW OR STEAL (1973) DIR David Lowell Rich CAST Mike Connors (Vic Cummings), Kent McCord, Michael Cole, Joel Fabiani, Harry Beckman, Russell Johnson

THE KILLER WHO WOULDN’T DIE (1976) DIR William Hale CAST Mike Connors (Karl Ohanian), Samantha Eggar, Grégoire Aslan, Mariette Hartley, Patrick O’Neal, Clu Gulager

REVENGE FOR A RAPE (1976) DIR Timothy Galfas CAST Mike Connors (Travis Green), Robert Reed, Tracy Brooks Swope, Deanna Lund, Larry Watson, Jock Livingston

LONG JOURNEY BACK (1978) DIR Mel Damski CAST Mike Connors (Vic Casella), Cloris Leachman, Stephanie Zimbalist, Katy Kurtzman, Howard McGillin

THE DEATH OF OCEAN VIEW PARK (1979) DIR E. W. Swackhamer CAST Mike Connors (Sam Jackson), Diana Canova, Perry Lang, Caroline McWilliams, Martin Landau

HIGH MIDNIGHT (1979) DIR Daniel Haller CAST Mike Connors (Lou Mikalich), David Birney, Christine Belford, Granville Van Dusen, Marc Alaimo, Victor Campos

CASINO (1980) DIR Don Chaffey CAST Mike Connors (Nick), Barry Van Dyke, Gene Evans, Hedley Mattingly, Joseph Cotten, Linda Day George, Robert Loggia, Bo Hopkins, Robert Reed

ARMEN AND BULLICK (1992) DIR John Goldsmith, Raffy Shart CAST Roch Voisine, Mike Connors (Joe Armen), Maruschka Detmers, Jean-Pierre Bergeron, Frank Hoffman

HART TO HART: HART TO HART RETURNS (1993) DIR Peter H. Hunt CAST Robert Wagner, Stefanie Powers, Lionel Stander, Mike Connors (Bill McDowell), Ken Howard, Lance Guest

JAMES DEAN: RACE WITH DESTINY (1997) DIR Mardi Rustam, Laura Keats CAST Casper Van Dien, Carrie Mitchum, Diane Ladd, Mike Connors (Jack Warner), Robert Mitchum, Connie Stevens, Casey Kasem, Joseph Campanella

THE EXTREME ADVENTURES OF SUPER DAVE (2000) DIR Peter MacDonald CAST Bob Einstein, Dan Hedeya, Gia Carides, Don Lake, Art Irizawa, Mike Connors (Grandpa Osborne, uncredited)