'The Wild Wild West Star Robert Conrad Dies at 84

Tony Sokol

Feb 8, 2020

Robert Conrad took stunt gigs with strains to choose up two checks, and was a singer who hit billboard.

Robert Conrad, finest identified for his roles within the tv collection Hawaiian EyeThe Wild Wild West and Baa Baa Black Sheep, died of coronary heart failure in Malibu, Calif., on Feb. 8, in keeping with Selection. He was 84.

“He lived a splendidly lengthy life and whereas the household is saddened by his passing, he’ll stay without end of their hearts,” household spokesperson Jeff Ballard mentioned in an announcement. The household will maintain a small personal service on March 1, which might have been Conrad’s 85th birthday.

Conrad Robert Falk was born on March 1, 1935, in Chicago, Al Capone’s previous stomping grounds. In line with a 2008 interview with Tony Medley, One on One with Robert Conrad, Conrad mentioned his “finest buddy. Greatest.” was Michael Spilotro, the character Joe Pesci performed in Martin Scorsese’s gangster movie On line casino. Opposite to the movie’s portrayal, the actual Spilotro did not prefer it if Conrad cursed at throughout girls.

Although he was by no means a smart man, Conrad was a troublesome one. In commercials he dared individuals to knock an Eveready battery off his shoulder. In highschool, he was a working again on the soccer workforce. He virtually turned a boxer, and loaded vans to earn cash. He went on to do his personal stunts. He suffered a “six-inch linear fracture with a excessive temporal concussion” whereas doing rehearsals for battle scene in The Wild Wild West. He fell 14 ft onto a cement ground and was virtually killed. His performing profession was kick-started when Conrad was doing stunt work on the collection Maverick. Conrad requested for a double to face in for an actor who got here in too shut throughout a battle scene. The actor smacked Conrad, and Conrad hit again. Executives at Warner Bros./ABC, which produced the collection, heard about it and put him underneath contract.

He additionally signed with Warner Bros. Information and launched few albums and singles like Ballin’ The Jack,” “Preserve it Up,” and “Once more.” He hit Billboard at quantity 113 with “Bye Bye Child.” Conrad was singing with a trio at nightclubs firstly of his profession. He acquired into performing due to a film promotion job he did for his mom, Jacqueline, who was a public relations agent with purchasers like Patti Web page and Vic Damone. Conrad, who appeared slightly like James Dean, who had not too long ago died, stood exterior film theaters to get buzz for the 1956 movie Big.

Conrad majored in theater arts at Northwestern College, the place he turned pals with Nick Adams, an actor who was featured in Insurgent With out a Trigger. Adams helped Conrad get solid in Juvenile Jungle (1958), which TCM calls a “plodding crime caper with hep-cat punk.” He additionally appeared within the movie Thundering Jets (1958).

Conrad established his stunt credentials in his TV debut within the Bat Masterson episode “One Bullet from Damaged Bow.” The Native American character he performed needed to fall off a horse after he acquired shot. Conrad acquired double pay as a result of it was a talking position related to a stunt.

Conrad labored steadily with Warner Bros. Tv’s steady of gamers. He appeared within the 1958 “Yellow River” episode of the collection Maverick, which starred James Garner. He had visitor starring elements on Freeway Patrol, Lawman, Sea Hunt, The Man and the Problem, and Lock Up. He performed Billy the Child on Colt .45.  In 1959, Conrad acquired the a part of Tom Lopaka, a half-Caucasian and half-native Hawaiian companion in a detective company, on ABC’s Hawaiian Eye. The collection ran for 4 seasons. His character additionally appeared on crossover episodes of 77 Sundown Strip.

In 1964, Conrad starred with Marisol within the 1964 Spanish film La nueva Cenicienta (The New Cinderella). He performed “Fairly Boy” Floyd within the 1965 gangster movie Younger Dillinger, which starred Nick Adams within the title position.

The Wild Wild West ran from September 1965 by April 1969 on CBS. Michael Garrison, the collection creator had owned the film rights to On line casino Royale, Ian Fleming’s first novel that includes agent 007, and it was pitched as a cowboy James Bond collection. Conrad’s James T. West and Artemus Gordon, performed by Ross Martin, had been Secret Service brokers throughout President Ulysses S. Grant years. Whereas Gordon performed with the devices, West did the combating, most of it elaborately choreographed by Conrad and stuntman Whitey Hughes.

Criticized for its violence, the collection was cancelled within the wake of the 1968 assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. The Wild West West pulled a 33 share of the TV viewers in its 1968-69 season. Conrad would later declare his Baa Baa Black Sheep, the place he performed World Conflict II fighter Greg “Pappy” Boyington from 1976 to 1978, was additionally cancelled as a result of it was thought-about too violent.

Conrad appeared in episodes of the TV collection Mannix and Mission: Unattainable. He performed prosecutor Paul Ryan within the TV films D.A.: Homicide One (1969) and D.A.: Conspiracy to Kill (1971). The D.A. ran as a collection in 1971. He performed American spy Jake Webster within the TV collection Task Vienna (1972). He acted in made-for-television films Weekend of Terror (1970) and 5 Determined Girls (1971). Conrad performed French-Canadian trapper Pasquinel in James Michener’s 16 1/2-hour, 12-episode  miniseries concerning the American West, Centennial. It ran on NBC in 1978-79.

On the massive display screen, Conrad was seen within the 1969 movie Keene, the Wild Wild West spin-off Extra Wild Wild West. He additionally acted in Murph the Surf (1975), Sudden Dying (1977), The Girl in Crimson, Samurai Cowboy (1994), and Jingle All of the Manner (1996) which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger.  His final movie look was in Useless Above Floor (2002).

Beginning in 2008, Conrad hosted the weekly two-hour nationwide radio program “The PM Present with Robert Conrad” on CRN Digital Speak Radio. His final look was on July 18, 2019. He additionally appeared within the music video for Richard Marx’s track “Hazard.”

Conrad is survived by 18 grandchildren and eight kids.

Tradition Editor Tony Sokol minimize his tooth on the wire providers and in addition wrote and produced New York Metropolis’s Vampyr Theatre and the rock opera AssassiNation: We Killed JFK. Learn extra of his work right here or discover him on Twitter @tsokol.


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