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Hugh O'Connor

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Biography

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Actor
Born:
April 7, 1962
Death:
March 28, 1995
Biography
Supporting actor Hugh O'Connor was best-known for playing the role of Corporal Lonnie Jamison opposite his father Carroll O'Connor on the television series In the Heat of the Night; he also appeared in a few feature films, but though O'Connor wanted to be an actor like his father, his difficulties with drug and alcohol addiction made it impossible for him to advance his career. Born in Rome, Italy, he was adopted by Carroll and Nancy O'Connor when he was six days old. Naming him Hugh Edward Ralph O'Connor, they raised him in Southern California where his father struggled to establish an acting career. The senior O'Connor succeeded when he was cast as Archie Bunker on Norman Lear's controversial, innovative sitcom All in the Family. The show was a hit and the family fortunes greatly improved, thereby providing Hugh O'Connor with a pleasant and privileged childhood. His problems with drugs began at age 16 after he was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma, a sometimes fatal form of cancer. Following two operations and daily chemotherapy, O'Connor dulled his pain with prescription drugs and marijuana, which he used to control nausea. The use of harder drugs followed and despite the efforts of his loving family, numerous arrests, and many weeks in various drug rehab centers, O'Connor could only manage to kick his habits for a few months at a time. During those sober times, he proved himself a gifted actor with great potential. After joining the cast of In the Heat of the Night, he remained sober and drug-free until the show's cancellation in 1994. His renewed drinking and drugging led his wife and newborn son to leave. On March 28, 1995, the deeply depressed Hugh O'Connor disregarded his father's pleas and the attempts of police surrounding his home to talk with him and shot himself. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi
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