Carroll O'Connor dead at 76

Actor Carroll O'Connor, who became one of television's biggest stars as the bigoted but lovable Archie Bunker on the 1970s TV series All in the Family, died on Thursday, according to press reports. He was 76.

The Bronx-born O'Connor died at Brotman Medical Center in the Los Angeles suburb of Culver City of a heart attack brought on by complications from diabetes, his publicist Charles Sherman said. His wife, Nancy, was at his side.

O'Connor had a long career in stage and film as a character actor, but is most prominently linked to Bunker and All in the Family, which added social satire to the sitcom formula. Based on a popular British series, Till Death Us Do Part, the series debuted on CBS in January of 1971 and ran for eight seasons before the show was revamped as Archie Bunker's Place. O'Connor earned four Emmys as the irrascible Archie, whose comic rantings spiced with racial epithets were a source of controversy before the show became a monster hit. O'Connor won a fifth Emmy for his portrayal of the Southern sheriff in In the Heat of the Night on NBC in the '80s.

After the suicide of his drug-addicted son, Hugh, in 1995, O'Connor became a strident anti-drug crusader.