Sunday, February 5, 2017

To Absent Friends - Mike Connors, Barbara Hale

In a final bit of "catching up" from my recent vacation, The Grandstander pays tribute to two Absent Friends, Mike Connors and Barbara Hale, both stalwarts of 1950's, 60's, 70's, 80's, and even 90's television,  Barbara Hale and Mike Connors, each of whom passed away last month.

Barbara Hale

Barbara Hale was 94 years old when she died, and IMDB lists 102 acting credits for her, dating back to 1943.  She was a pretty, young actress who had appeared in a lot of B-movies and westerns who she hit the acting jackpot when she was cast as Della Street, Perry Mason's loyal, steadfast, and platonic secretary in "Perry Mason".   The show ran from 1957 to 1966 and 271 episodes.

When that show went off the air, she did the usual guest gigs on various TV shows, including one episode of "Ironside" with old co-star Raymond Burr, and she also played Dean Martin's cuckolded wife in "Airport".  In 1985, she reprised the role of Della Street in a Perry Mason TV movie, and then went on to do twenty-nine (29!!) more Mason TV movies with Burr over the next ten years.

Mike Connors
Mike Connors acting career began, according to IMDB, in 1952, and extended over the next fifty-five years and included 109 credits.  He starred in a detective TV series called "Tightrope" in 1959-60, but will forever be known as private eye Joe Mannix in the series "Mannix", which ran for 194 episodes from 1967 to 1975.   I seldom missed "Mannix" and loved seeing Joe driving his cool convertibles and wearing a plaid sport coat every week (as compared to his contemporary, Steve McGarrett, who always wore a navy blue suit).  

As my buddy Tim Baker noted, "when you consider that on his show he was shot 17 times and knocked out 55 times, making it to (age) 91 was quite a feat."

RIP Barbara Hale and Mike Connors.

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