Nancy Fields O’Connor, Widow of ‘All in the Family’ Star Carroll O’Connor, Dead at 84

Wife was responsible for convincing husband to take iconic Archie Bunker role

Last Updated: November 20, 2014 @ 6:31 PM

Nancy Fields O’Connor, widow of “All in the Family” star Carroll O’Connor, died Nov. 10 of complications from Alzheimer’s Disease at the couple’s Malibu home, a spokesperson for O’Connor said Thursday. She was 84.

O’Connor was an artist, author, activist, philanthropist and documentary filmmaker in her own right, executive producing the 2007 documentary “Anita O’Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer.”

Born Nancy Ann Kathleen Fields on December 13, 1929 in Spokane, Washington, O’Connor met her future husband in 1951, when both were undergraduates at the University of Montana at Missoula and involved with the Drama and Fine Arts Department production of “Life With Father.” The pair married later that year in Ireland.

Carroll O’Connor was vocal in crediting his wife with his career success, stating that she convinced him to take on the role of bigot Archie Bunker in “All in the Family” despite his reservations.

“I turned down the role of Archie Bunker twice until Nancy finally said ‘Now listen here, Carroll, this is the role of a lifetime!'” O’Connor said.

Carroll O’Connor died in 2001.

As a philanthropist, Nancy Fields O’Connor was a founding member of the John Wayne Cancer Institute and received, with her husband, the Institute’s Duke Award in 1990 for “their outstanding support for cancer research.”

O’Connor is survived by daughter-in-law Angela O’Connor; grandson Sean O’Connor; brother and sister-in-law John and Jo Ann Fields; cousin Mary Reynolds and eleven nieces and nephews.

A Roman Catholic funeral service will be held on Saturday, November 22 at 11:00 a.m. at Our Lady of Malibu Church, Malibu, CA.

In lieu of flowers, a tax-deductible contribution can be made to the following charitable organizations: Melanoma Research, John Wayne Cancer Institute, c/o Providence St. John’s Hospital, 2121 Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90404; The Actors Fund of America, 729 Seventh Avenue, NY, 10019; The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, DC.
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