Carroll O'Connor wouldn't discuss Archie Bunker on the set of ''In the Heat of the Night''

O'Connor wanted to keep his characters separated.

Interestingly, many actors try their hardest to forget about the roles that brought them so much success. Whether it's sheer exhaustion from being identified with the same person over and over, or a desire to leave the past where it belongs, some stars just can't shake the roles that made them famous. 

In Carroll O'Connor's case, it wasn't that he wanted to forget about the time he spent playing Archie Bunker in All in the Family. Bunker had been a longtime companion to O'Connor, and brought him success on at least two series. Moreover, playing someone like Archie Bunker wasn't something that the actor took lightly.

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, Bud Yorkin, an executive producer for All in the Family, said, "Carroll was a man who took everything very seriously. He wouldn't accept everything. Some people might have found that difficult, but he was just trying to make it better. I thought he was a terrific performer. And I can't imagine anyone else doing that role."

So above all else, more than he was Archie Bunker or any other one of his roles, O'Connor was an actor. To do the best job possible, he had to put the role first, before everything else, in order to be fully immersed in the character, and hopefully, produce the best television content possible.

This is most likely why, according to The Los Angeles Times, O'Connor refused to speak about All in the Family during his time on the set of his new series, In the Heat of the Night. Anne-Marie Johnson, who worked with O'Connor on In the Heat of the Night, said, "When he was working on the show, he never mentioned Archie Bunker." Johnson, who played Althea Tibbs, stated of her costar, "Carroll was a character actor, and he looked upon this as an amazing acting challenge."

Indeed, a character like Chief Gillespie was about as far from Archie Bunker as someone could get, so O'Connor was smart to keep the two separate.

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395778 2 months ago
I like this station everyday more than my regular stations .Some of the stories don't have a lot of that Cussing and they take you back my childhood .I just have to tell you this in the city of BALTIMORE , just a few when leave it to beaver was on and Andy Griffet came in late 60's and early 70's we was in school . And now it give me the opportunity to see them and boy I'm I enjoying them .Thank everyone for going back to old school they bring back such fond memories of my childhood. Thank You again an again .
Avie 2 months ago
I'll bet that O'Connor never mentioned Rod Steiger, either.
djw1120 2 months ago
Even though Carroll O'Conner tried to keep Archie Bunker separate from Chief Gillespie you could always see a lot of Archie in Gillespie's mannerisms. From the way he walked or talked it was obvious you were seeing Archie on "In The Heat Of The Night". After being Archie for so many years it was probably just too hard for him to separate the two characters.
JHP 2 months ago
In My Humble Opinion

It is scary to watch all in the family and switch to heat of the night...but in a good way
I tip my hat to his acting prowess. I think a sort of close 2nd would be David Ogden Stiers.
Runeshaper 2 months ago
O'Connor was a very talented man and I completely respect keeping the separation of characters in place when he did.
Null88 Runeshaper 2 months ago
Carroll O'Connor was an actor's actor. Many actors hide something behind their actor's mask. Why, observe humans in your real life and you'll witness the most calculating, role-playing individuals. Good traits emerge even in the most evil people. Case in point: AH loved his dog and never cheated on his girlfriend. Even the Devil must do what it takes to power up. Just don't admire evil, eh? The flip side is that every hero and statue of heroes hides the human flaws of the honoree. And so it goes. Peace & Love, y'all's!!!
cperrynaples 2 months ago
Strange, because in the movie Rod Steiger was clearly a bigot!
Null88 cperrynaples 2 months ago
The beauty of the movie "In The Heat Of The Night" is that Steiger's Chief Gillespie was a bigot amongst bigots. He was the NEW sheriff and felt the rejection Tibbs felt. By his professionalism, Tibbs won others over. And the Chief learned truth was more useful than hateful prejudice.
harlow1313 2 months ago
I believe this show would have benefited from far fewer episodes per season, which would have upped the writing quality.

Did viewers buy the Bill and Harriet romance? Did Carl Weathers fit the small town vibe? I say no to both.
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