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Mike Connors, ‘Mannix’ Star, Dies at 91

Actor is best known for his role as a private detective on CBS’ cult series from 1967 to 1975

Mike Connors, who played private detective Joe Mannix on the CBS’ series “Mannix” died Thursday. He was 91.

The popular actor had been diagnosed with leukemia last week, according to his son-in-law Mike Condon.

Connors played Mannix, a good guy P.I. working for Los Angeles detective agency called Intertect, from 1967 to 1975.

“Mannix” was the last series originated with Desilu Productions, the company co-owned by husband and wife Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball.

In the cult show, Mannix worked his own cases with the help of his loyal secretary Peggy Fair, played by Gail Fisher — one of the first African-American actresses to have a regular series role.

During his six-decade career, Connors had TV roles on “Tightrope!” “Today’s F.B.I.”, “Diagnosis: Murder,” “Murder She Wrote” and “Walker, Texas Ranger.”

He also appeared in a number of films including John Wayne’s “Island in the Sky,” Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments,” “Five Guns West,” “The 49th Man” and “Stagecoach.”

Born in Fresno, California, Connors served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II and then went on to play basketball for UCLA on a basketball scholarship under legendary coach John Wooden.

His first TV appearance was under his basketball nickname of “Touch” on an episode of “Jukebox Jury,” before breaking out into acting.

He is survived by his wife Mary Lou, daughter Dina and granddaughter Cooper.

Variety was the first to report his passing.