Carroll O'Connor was far from Archie Bunker, despite what people thought

"People call out to me on the street, 'Hey Archie.'

It turns out that if you're a great enough actor, there's always a chance that you could play a role a little bit too well. There's always the risk of being typecast, but sometimes worse than that, fans might assume that you're more like the character you're playing than you originally let on.

While Carroll O'Connor played many significant roles, he may forever be known to audiences as Archie Bunker in All in the Family. O'Connor was well aware of the association that viewers had of him and his character. In an interview with the Middlesboro Daily News, O'Connor remarked, "Everybody wants to know if I'm like Archie Bunker in real life."

The article acknowledged that while Archie Bunker is certainly different from Carroll O'Connor, his portrayal of the Bunker patriarch was grounded in realism, as O'Connor had based the character on people he had seen as a child living in The Bronx and Queens in New York.

While O'Connor maintained that he and Archie were entirely different, he did understand that it didn't necessarily seem that way to the public. He mused, "Maybe the relationship is too close. The public is beginning to forget Carroll O'Connor and think only of Archie Bunker." He also recounted, "People call out to me on the street, 'Hey Archie.' And I'm mad at CBS — they ran a big ad for my show with my picture, but not my name.

In an interview with The Evening Sun, O'Connor was able to go into detail about his feelings for the character. He said, "Sure, I would like him if I met him." Though he added, "I feel sorry for him." 

O'Connor explained, "He's a victim of his upbringing and his environment." However, he also commented, "But I've become stereotyped now."

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8 Comments

Runeshaper 19 days ago
Carroll O'Connor was so much more than any role.
Andybandit 20 days ago
He played the role of Archie so well. I am glad he was not a bigot in real life. Carroll O' Connor cousin and his wife used to live next to my Grandmother, in Brooklyn.
DocForbin 20 days ago
I seem to recall that after his son Hugh (who co-starred with Carroll in "In the Heat of the Night") died from suicide after a long struggle with drug addiction, Carroll called for major reform to drug laws. You can bet Archie would never go along with that.
WilliamJorns 20 days ago
I remember being surprised when I first read a newspaper article about Carroll O'Connor donating to the Democratic Party and George McGovern's presidential campaign back in 1972. That's when I truly understood and accepted the fact that most actors and actresses aren't like their characters in real life. The fact that I believed Mr. O'Connor was like Archie Bunker is a testament to Mr. O'Connor's acting ability - he sucessfully projected the illusion that he was a blue-collar bigot from Queens, New York.
OOPS! I misspelled "successfully." Shame on me!
GOOSEYGOOSE9 20 days ago
Archie bunker didn’t like blacks,Jews,Catholics,Italians,Hispanics,English,cherokees
CoreyC 20 days ago
Carroll O'Connor was a bigger liberal than Rob Reiner.
Bcombsperry CoreyC 20 days ago
That's hard to believe because meathead is really a meathead
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