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John Connell Poster

Biography

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Overview (2)

Date of Birth 28 October 1923Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Date of Death 10 September 2015Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA  (natural causes)

Mini Bio (1)

Born in Philadelphia, John Connell received five Battle Stars and a Purple Heart during WWII. From September of 1944 through April of 1945, he was a radio operator and waist gunner aboard a B-24 with Squadron 513 of the Fifteenth Air Force, 376th Heavy Bombardment Group. The crew completed 43 bombing missions before the conclusion of WWII, most of them from its base in Apulia, Italy. Connell has often spoken in praise of the "Tuskegee Airmen", the all-black 99th Pursuit Squadron, which provided protective cover for two-thirds of the missions he flew. The Tuskegee Airmen had been transferred to the Fifteenth Air Force shortly after Connell began his enlistment.

After the war, he attended the University of Missouri, where he met his wife Mila, who was then a dance student. After graduating with a degree in Journalism in 1950, he moved to New York to act. He appeared on Broadway ("Time Limit" and "Uncle Willie") and with the National Company of "Picnic". Working in the heyday of live television, he appeared in dozens of live broadcasts including Studio One in Hollywood (1948), Kraft Theatre (1947), You Are There (1953), Goodyear Playhouse (1951), Danger (1950), The Alcoa Hour (1955) and Robert Montgomery Presents (1950). He starred for five years as "Dr. David Malone" on the live soap opera Young Dr. Malone (1958), and made appearances on The Edge of Night (1956), Love of Life (1951), The Secret Storm (1954) and Dark Shadows (1966). He also collaborated with his wife to write more than one hundred "Secret Storm" scripts.

His film work includes Three Days of the Condor (1975), Family Business (1989) and Fail-Safe (1964), As a member of the bomber crew in the latter film, and drawing upon his own experience in a B-24, he let his longtime friend, director Sidney Lumet, know that intercom radio equipment aboard a bomber was built into the oxygen masks, and that removing the mask to use an external intercom would lead to unconsciousness. Lumet was glad for the technical insight.

In the 1960s, his professional apex developed from what was then a little-trod path in the acting profession: commercial voice-overs. With his warm, rich tones, Connell became a preeminent and ubiquitous radio and television spokesman for hundreds of sponsors and products. He also developed a reputation in the studio for an unmatched sense of timing; he can deliver readings to a tenth of a second. He has been at various times the voice of Maxwell House Coffee, American Airlines, Xerox, Proctor & Gamble, Ford, Uniroyal, McDonald's, H&R Block (12 years) and Brooklyn Union Gas (16 years). He has also narrated industrial films and documentaries including "Rice", which won a Rockefeller Foundation award.

On September 19, 1967, he played the narrator in a special, abbreviated version of "Man of La Mancha" starring Richard Kiley that was performed at the White House for President Lyndon Johnson. There is no narrator in the full-length version of the play; his function was to bridge the cut scenes.

He has also delved into playwriting. He and Kiley collaborated on an adaptation of Brian Moore's "The Feast of Lupercal", which was performed to acclaim at the Actor's Studio but never commercially produced. Connell's one-acts, "The Only Way Out is In" and "Who the Hell is Rodney Chappel?", were produced Off-Broadway at the Triangle Theatre in 1969 under the umbrella title "The Business of Show".

Connell has served as a Councillor of the Episcopal Actors Guild, where he founded the "Come Hither Players", a Shakespeare-reading group made up of voice-over actors. He was elected to several successive terms on the National Board of Directors of Screen Actors Guild, serving 13 years and editing the Guild's New York magazine, "Reel".

He and his wife are the parents of Kathy Connell, producer of the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and of John V. Connell, an associate producer of sports broadcasts who has worked on football, boxing, gymnastics, and tennis events for Showtime and for CBS Sports.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: anon

Spouse (1)

'Mila Connell' (1952 - 11 September 2015) (his death) (2 children)

Trivia (5)

Father of Kathy Connell, producer of the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and of John V. Connell, an associate producer of sports broadcasts who has worked on football, boxing, gymnastics, and tennis events for Showtime and for CBS Sports.
Married to Mila Connell.
Flew 43 bombing missions in WWII, receiving five battle stars.
Served on the National Board of Directors of Screen Actors Guild for 13 years.
Father-in-law of Daryl Anderson.

See also

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