By Eric Grode
LOS ANGELES (Los Angeles Times) — Mike Connors, born Krekor Ohanian, who broke free of years of supporting roles when he found stardom in the late 1960s as a maverick private investigator on the CBS series “Mannix,” which went on to enjoy an eight-season run, died on Thursday, January 26, in Los Angeles. He was 91.
His son-in-law Mike Condon said the death, at a hospital, was caused by complications of leukemia, which had been diagnosed a week earlier, The Associated Press reported.
In the series, which had its premiere in 1967, Mr. Connors played the darkly handsome Joe Mannix, a Korean War veteran of (like Mr. Connors) Armenian descent who sleuthed his way around Los Angeles with flashy cars and a penchant for citing Armenian proverbs.
Unlike many a smooth TV private eye, Mannix took his lumps. The Washington Post, tabulating the wear and tear the character withstood over eight seasons, found that he had endured 17 gunshot wounds and 55 beatings that left him unconscious.
The violence drew criticism in some quarters, but “Mannix” became the most popular crime series on television in an era punctuated by comedies like “All in the Family” and “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.” For several years it shared CBS’s Saturday night lineup with “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” whose own star died on Wednesday.