Mike Connors - A Life of Integrity in Film & Television Q & A with Author Bill Taylor

mike connors q&a

Mike Connors - A Life of Integrity in Film & Television Q & A with Author Bill Taylor

This is a Hard Cover, Paperback, and soon to be eBook biography about Actor Mike Connors’ life and career in film and television. It takes the reader on a fascinating journey through Mike’s life. From his quiet beginnings in Fresno, California, all the way to Hollywood’s brightest lights.

It also answers so many questions about who Mike really was as a person, father, friend, star, costar, and beyond. It gives personal insight as to how such a Golden Age television icon and talent did not have a biography of his life until now. Lastly, it walks the reader through Mike’s life, as if you were along for the ride from the start.

Question #1 What inspired you to write this book?

Answer: I met Mike Connors nine years ago, and I asked him for a signed copy of his auto- biography for my sister Louise. Mike told me then he had never written an autobiography. He said he wanted to write one, and he had even contacted several publishers about writing it. However, they all told him the same thing, they only wanted star autobiographies that were filled with scandals, intrigue, and extra marital affairs.

When Mike told them he did not have any of those things to offer because he had been happily married for 65 years to his only wife Mary Lou, they all said that’s great, but no deal. After Mike was given that initial Hollywood publishing reality, he never pursued it again.

When I told Mike he should still write his own scandal free account of his life regardless, he looked right at me and said, “I hope someone does write my book one day, even if it’s after I’m gone.”

Question #2 What was the final catalyst for you to “put pen to paper” and start this book?

Answer: After Mike passed away, my wife Denise and sister Louise, both encouraged me to contact Mike’s wife Mary Lou right away, and to ask her if she would help me gather the necessary information to write Mike’s story.

Mary Lou quickly agreed, and she told me I should call Helene Gagne, Mike’s “Fan Club President” as soon as possible for help. The rest is history.

Question #3 As a new author, how did you go about gathering the information you needed to complete this endeavor?

Answer: I interviewed Mary Lou and Helene at length about Mike’s life and career. I then gathered as many photographs, news, and magazine articles as I could find about his life. I also researched IMDB, Google, You Tube, and a variety of other internet sources for detailed information. I then watched almost every movie and tv show he ever appeared in.

In addition, I attended as many “Hollywood Shows” as possible to meet actors who knew and worked with Mike. Lastly, I interviewed in depth as many friends and family members of Mike’s as I possibly could. The book was born out of these efforts.

Question #4 Did you discover that the fictional character of Joe Mannix overlapped with the non-fictional person Mike Connors?

Answer: Yes, they did overlap in several important ways. For example, they were both caring, honest, down to earth, and charismatic people. Also, since Mike insisted on infusing his Armenian roots into the character of Joe Mannix, they both had a shared culture. They also both had experienced military service and meaningful personal losses in their lives.

Question #5 What is one behind the scenes fact about Mike Connors and or the show “Mannix” that most people don’t know?

Answer: The fact that ever present-Day Player Ron Nyman, aka Charlie the police man was Mike’s Stand In on the show for pre filming lighting, scenery, and prop adjustments.

Question #6 What is another interesting fact?

Answer: Most people don’t know this, but as I did research for this biography, I learned that Mike was almost killed while filming a stunt, a running scene in fact, on Mannix Season Four, Episode One, “A Ticket to The Eclipse.”

At one point, Mike’s character Joe Mannix is seen running away from a speeding jeep, supposedly being driven by Darren McGavin’s character Mark. As the scene progressed, Mike lost his footing, he fell, and the jeep ran over him.

Everyone on the set immediately began to panic, as they thought Mike had been killed, or at least seriously injured. As everyone rushed to his aid, Mike slowly crawled out of the dirt, to his feet and told everyone not to worry, he would be ok. That was just like Mike, he was tough as nails!

Question #7 If you could change one thing you did, or didn’t do in relation to writing this book, what would it be?

Answer: I would have met with Mike much longer each time I talked with him about his life and career. I would have written down every word he said. He was so willing to answer any question you asked about himself or his career. He also had a wealth of knowledge about life itself, and he could tell so many exciting Hollywood stories.

Question #8 Why do you think Fan Clubs are important to an actor’s career?

Answer: A good, organized Fan Club can make an actor’s career more successful, more enjoyable, both personally, and professionally. This is because a wonderful Fan Club can build countless relationships between actors and their real-life tv viewers and fans.

In turn, these actors can enjoy even higher Nielsen ratings success and personal fulfillment. Also, an actor can rely on their fans to tell him or her honestly how each of their shows truly resonated with them once they were shown on television or in theaters.

A great Fan Club can also provide exclusive behind-the-scenes content about an actor, their shows, and their real life. A fan club can even become a great publicity group for an actor.
Question #9 How should the series “Mannix” have ended?

Answer: Almost the way it started, only this time, Lew Wickersham, the founder of Intertech would hire Joe Mannix and Peggy to clear his good name after he has been framed for the murder of his wife by some syndicate thugs.

Of course, Mannix would solve the case dramatically, without the help of computers, and both Joe and Lew would finally agree in the end that sometimes real-life human detective work is the best way to solve a crime.

Question #10 How can the series “Mannix” and the love for Mike Connors continue, even from this point forward?

Answer: By Fans watching the television show “Mannix” every chance they get. It runs currently, every night and every day, somewhere in the world. It appears on networks such as Me TV, Pluto TV, Amazon Prime Video, etc. In fact, millions of people watch it constantly on one of these streaming services, even though many of these same people own the Mannix DVD set.

Fans can also learn more about Mike and the show by logging on to the Mike Connors Appreciation Group on Facebook, which currently maintains almost 1,000 members. They also can get many of their questions answered about Mike and the show directly by emailing Mike’s Fan Club President Helene Gagne at lalelaine07@gmail.com.

Thank you all for allowing me to share some questions and answers about these topics!

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  • Bill Taylor on

    Irene, thank you so much for supporting this book. It means so much to me that it has been so well received. I know Mike would have loved to see so many people, such as yourself, still enjoying his life story and tv shows, even today. God Bless you.

  • irene zarcone on

    Mr. Taylor, I’m so glad you decided to write this book, you did an excellent job with all your research and interviews…I really enjoyed reading it…I also love this Q&A. Thank you!!

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