From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. John Carroll O'Connor (August 2, 1924 – June 21, 2001) best known as Carroll O'Connor, was an American actor, producer and director whose television career spanned four decades. Known at first for playing the role of Major General Colt in the 1970 movie, Kelly's Heroes, he later found fame as the bigoted working man Archie Bunker, the main character in the 1970s CBS television sitcoms All in the Family (1971 to 1979) and Archie Bunker's Place (1979 to 1983). O'Connor later starred in the NBC television crime drama In the Heat of the Night from 1988 to 1995, where he played the role of southern Police Chief William (Bill) Gillespie. At the end of his career in the late 1990s, he played the father of Jamie Stemple Buchman (Helen Hunt) on Mad About You.