Carroll O’Connor was best known for his role as Archie Bunker in “All In The Family.” While one of TV’s most beloved characters, life for the actor understandably had its issues.
Tragedy struck O’Connor and his family when his only son committed suicide on March 28, 1995. His son, 32-year-old Hugh, killed himself in his home with a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.
Following the suicide, his father confessed that his son was a habitual drug addict and had been using for 16 years. On the day of the suicide, O’Connor reported to the police that Hugh was feeling depressed and had access to firearms.
Afterward, a crisis negotiator and weapons team went to Hugh’s home, but he told them to leave. After they left, Hugh took his own life.
According to the AP, throughout the years, Hugh had checked himself into drug rehabilitation programs “and could not face going into another one for perhaps six months or a year.”
All in the Family Star Carroll O’Connor Comes After Late Son’s Drug Dealer Following Suicide
Following the incident, O’Connor reported to the police that Harry Thomas Perzigian was his late son’s drug dealer. Immediately, police arrested him for cocaine possession.
After the arrest, O’Connor made a public statement: “These dealers, they kill people. They make a living giving people the means to kill themselves. Harry [Thomas Perzigian], I want to see you someday. My tragedy tonight is the tragedy of tens of thousands of other people. It’s nothing unusual.”
Perzigian later sued O’Connor for slander after he identified Perzigian as a contributor to his son’s suicide. Even though O’Connor won his case, he had to endure the trauma of reliving the event.
“The thought went through my head: ‘At last it’s happened – everything I’ve ever been afraid of,'” he said. “I broke down and cried a lot.”
After his son died, O’Connor turned his grief into advocacy and spent time raising awareness about addiction until his death on June 21, 2001. At 76, the beloved actor died of a heart attack. He left behind his wife, Nancy. She died 13 years later after a long fight against Alzheimer’s.