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Robert Conrad Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trade Mark (3)  | Trivia (55)  | Personal Quotes (6)  | Salary (3)

Overview (4)

Born in Chicago, Illinois, USA
Birth NameConrad Robert Norton Falk
Nickname Bob
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Robert Conrad was a graduate of Northwestern University, spending his first few years out of school supporting himself and his family by driving a milk truck and singing in a Chicago cabaret. Conrad befriended up-and-coming actor Nick Adams during this period, and it was Adams who helped Conrad get his first Hollywood work in 1957. A few movie bit parts later, Conrad was signed for a comparative pittance by Warner Bros. studios, and in 1959 was cast as detective Tom Lopaka on the weekly adventure series Hawaiian Eye. Upon the 1963 cancellation of this series, Conrad made a handful of Spanish and American films and toured with a nightclub act in Australia and Mexico City. Cast as frontier secret agent James West in The Wild Wild West in 1965, Conrad brought home $5000 a week during the series' first season and enjoyed increasing remunerations as West remained on the air until 1969. There are those who insist that Wild Wild West would have been colorless without the co-starring presence of Ross Martin, an opinion with which Conrad has always agreed. The actor's bid to star in a 1970 series based on the venerable Nick Carter pulp stories got no further than a pilot episode, while the Jack Webb-produced 1971 Robert Conrad series The D.A. was canceled after 13 episodes. When Roy Scheider pulled out of the 1972 adventure weekly Assignment: Vienna, Conrad stepped in--and was out, along with the rest of Assignment: Vienna, by June of 1973. Conrad had better luck with 1976's Baa Baa Black Sheep, aka Black Sheep Squadron, a popular series based on the World War II exploits of Major "Pappy" Boyington. Cast as a nurse on this series was Conrad's daughter Nancy, setting a precedent for nepotism that the actor practiced as late as his tenth TV series, 1989's Jesse Hawkes, wherein Conrad co-starred with his sons Christian and Shane.

Though few of his series have survived past season one, Conrad has enjoyed success as a commercial spokesman and in the role of G. Gordon Liddy (whom the actor admired) in the 1982 TV movie Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy (1982). As can be gathered from the Liddy assignment, Conrad's politics veered towards conservatism; in 1981, he and Charlton Heston were instrumental in toppling Ed Asner and his liberal contingent from power in the Screen Actors Guild.

As virile and athletic as ever in the 1990s, Robert Conrad has continued to appear in action roles both on TV and in films; he has also maintained strong ties with his hometown of Chicago, and can be counted upon to show up at a moment's notice as a guest on the various all-night programs of Chicago radio personality Eddie Schwartz.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Spouse (2)

LaVelda Fann (28 March 1977 - 2010) ( divorced) ( 3 children)
Joan Kenlay (23 February 1952 - 1977) ( divorced) ( 5 children)

Trade Mark (3)

His exceptional athletic skills
Doing his own stunts
Smoky, gravelly voice.

Trivia (55)

Born at 3:34pm-CST.
Lives in Bear Valley, California, a ski resort village in the High Sierra; has three young daughters, (Kaja Conrad, Camille Conrad, Chelsea Conrad), with LaVelda Fann and five other children from a previous marriage.
Father of actors Christian Conrad, Nancy Conrad, Shane Conrad and producer Joan Conrad.
Attended Northwestern University (Evanston, IL).
On The Wild Wild West (1965), did most of his own stunt work, resulting in several injuries during the course of the show. During one episode's shooting, he slipped while performing a stunt and fell head first onto a concrete floor 12 feet below. Seriously injured, his recuperation delayed the series' production for nearly three months.
Was a star football and basketball player in middle school and high school.
Lied to get a job when he was seventeen. He had eloped with a lawyer's daughter,who was attending a religious boarding school. The only place he could think of where a kid his age could get decent wage was the loading docks in Chicago. He told them he was 21 and made $1.87 an hour -- $74.40 a week.
When he eloped, he and his wife lived under the assumed name "Robert Conrad" so their parents wouldn't find them. They only told their parents where they were in May of 1952 when his wife found out she was having a baby. They were thrilled because they figured it would be too late for their parents to annul the marriage.
Got fired from his job at the docks in December of 1953 for handing out a petition to get his union steward fired. His wife was six months pregnant with their second child at the time.
Worked as a milkman in Chicago.
Lived with his grandmother when his mother remarried.
When the 1999 movie remake of The Wild Wild West (1965) swept the 20th Annual Razzie Awards, "winning" 5 statuettes (including Worst Picture) Conrad, who played James West in the original 1960s TV series, accepted 3 of the awards in person as his way of expressing his low opinion of what had been done with his source material.
Speaks Spanish.
Played the drums and the trumpet
Father-in-law of Timothy 'Toes' Erwin.
During the Battle of the Network Stars (1976), Conrad and Gabe Kaplan (Welcome Back, Kotter (1975)) had an infamous showdown. Conrad was the NBC Team Captain, Kaplan was ABC Team Captain. A dispute arose over the winner of an event, and Conrad really lost his temper, pacing and saying he wouldn't accept that the other team had won. Finally, he insisted that he and Kaplan, as team captains, have a race and the winner would win the event for their team. But Conrad had underestimated Kaplan, and Kaplan won easily, which made Conrad look pretty foolish.
He was a Deputy Sheriff for approximately 8 years in the Bear Valley area of California where he still resides.
As Bob Conrad he defeated Ed Hickman on points on March 15, 1962 in San Diego, California in a 6 round professional boxing match.
Had an undefeated professional boxing record of 4-0-1.
His paternal grandfather, Stanley Falkowski, was a Polish immigrant, and his paternal grandmother, Stella Skarsecki, was born in Chicago, to Polish parents. His mother, who was the daughter of Conrad Edward Hartman and Hazel Helen Downs, had German and English ancestry.
Was born in Canaryville, a section of Chicago populated mainly by Irish immigrants.
Tested for the role of Maj. Anthony Nelson on I Dream of Jeannie (1965).
His daughter Nancy was born on his 19th birthday (March 1, 1954).
Addressed the Republican National Convention in 2004.
At the time of his former co-star Ross Martin's death in 1981, he and Conrad were in the planning stages of another "Wild, Wild West" TV series.
Best remembered by the public for his starring role as James West in The Wild Wild West (1965).
Inducted into the Stuntman's Hall of Fame for his work on The Wild Wild West (1965).
18-year-old daughter Chelsea is a jazz-pop singer. Recording artist Richard Marx is set to produce her debut album.
He was seriously injured in a head-on car crash in 2003 in which he sustained head injuries and neuro damage that left his right hand and arm paralyzed, and slowed his speech. Convicted of DUI, he was sentenced to six months of house arrest, five years probation and alcohol counseling. He also lost his driver's license for one year.
As the star of the original TV series The Wild Wild West (1965), Conrad attended The 20th Annual Razzie Awards, snidely accepting several of the tacky statuettes on behalf of the Barry Sonnenfeld movie remake (Wild Wild West (1999)). The film swept that year's dis-honors with 5 awards, including Worst Picture of 1999.
Was offered the role of Hannibal Smith on The A-Team (1983), but turned it down because he preferred to produce his own projects.
Interviewed in Tom Weaver's book "I Talked with a Zombie" (McFarland & Co., 2008).
Once was a bandsinger and made the rounds of Chicago's major hotels with bandleaders Johnny Gilbert, Jim Redd, and a jazz trio.
Grandfather of actor Jesse Erwin.
Three veterans of The Wild Wild West (1965), stuntman Whitey Hughes, makeup artist Ken Chase and actor Richard Kiel, reminisce about the series and star Conrad in the book "A Sci-Fi Swarm and Horror Horde" (McFarland, 2010) by Tom Weaver.
Became friends with Dirk Blocker's father, Dan Blocker, years before Dirk received a co-starring role on Black Sheep Squadron (1976).
Met Julie London at Jack Webb's house, when he was only a young man.
Long time best friend of Red West.
Former neighbor of Carroll O'Connor.
Acting mentors and friends of Larry Manetti, Dirk Blocker and Russell Todd.
Had a yacht.
His mother, Alice Jacqueline Hartman, was as a PR business, and his father, Leonard Henry Falkowski, was a construction worker.
Graduated from Hyde Park High School in Chicago, Illinois, in 1953.
His mother, Alice Jacqueline Hartman, died in 1981, at age 62.
Up until 2010, Conrad lived in Thousand Oaks, California.
Had hired fellow actor Michael Landon to direct some episodes of Black Sheep Squadron (1976), but was too busy working on Little House on the Prairie (1974), at the same network that 'Black Sheep Squadron,' was on, which was NBC.
Began his career as a contract player for Warner Bros. in 1956.
Despite high ratings High Mountain Rangers (1987) got canceled after 1 season.
Resides in Malibu, California.
Turned down George Gaynes role in Police Academy (1984), which he later regretted.
The June 11, 1969, and also Aug. 20, editions of Variety, in its Hollywood Production Pulse column, shows Robert Conrad starring with Richard Crenna and Tippi Hedren in the movie Seven Against Kansas, directed by David Friedkin, which started filming June 10, 1969, in Almeria, Spain. No evidence if the film was ever completed.
Retired from acting in 2002.
His mother gave birth to him when she was only 15 years-old.

Personal Quotes (6)

[11/61, interview in Photoplay magazine] I neither condemn nor condone the morals of others. I think there are very few, really, whose conduct reflects unfavorably on the rest of us in this mythical kingdom of Hollywood. There are men who need many women in order to bolster their egos--half the time, they don't remember the girl's name afterward. But I've got a good ego to start with, and I'm too sensitive for a quick relationship with a dame and sex alone would never be enough for me. Marriage is something that goes way beyond the flesh. Each human being has his own need for security . . . It's great to have someone to lean on . . . it's great to have someone lean on you.
[about The Wild Wild West (1965)] We always put in lot more (fighting) than we really wanted to see. (The censors) would say, "We're going to take out two punches . . . two of this . . . three of that . . . ". So when they finished,we were still left with what we really wanted anyway.
[3/61, interview in Motion Picture magazine] Sometimes I'm so preoccupied you have to drop a bomb to communicate with me and most of the time I only average four hours sleep. I don't mind. I wanted to work this hard.
[10/62, asked in interview in Photoplay magazine if his daughter were to marry as a teenager like he did] If some sixteen-year-old punk were to come to me and say, "Sir, I want to marry your daughter" I'd say, "Fine", and escort him to an analyst. The average boy that age isn't remotely capable--from any point of view, including the emotional--of supporting a family.
[10/62, interview in Photoplay magazine] If one of the girls came to me before she had finished high school and announced that she had intended to marry a boy with no job and little education, I'd forbid it--just like a stern father in a melodrama.
[on his disapproval of Loveless being rewritten as an amputee man instead of a dwarf for the Wild Wild West movie] There are so many actors who are dwarfs, midgets, little people who could have qualified for that role. How dare you!

Salary (3)

Hawaiian Eye (1959) $300 per week
The Wild Wild West (1965) $5,000 per week
Death Ray 2000 (1981) $100,000 per 1 hour episode

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