Sunday, February 9, 2020
Robert Conrad R.I.P.
Dead at 84 (just shy of number 85), of natural causes, at his home in Malibu, CA.
Gravel-voiced tough-guy (who was the 5'8" in his studio bio only in cowboy boot heels), who achieved television immortality by playing the western version of 007, and thwarting criminal masterminds in perfect 4 act teleplays on The Wild, Wild West from 1965-1969, wherein he did most of his own fights and stunts. Then again as a closer-than-most as Pappy Boyington on Baa Baa Black Sheep, which famously was a show that wouldn't die, a star who was embarrassingly popular, and launched any number of careers of lesser stars through the Universal Studios/Stephen J. Canell/Donald Bellisario TV dynasties.
I met Conrad several times in the 1980s, and the real Pappy Boyington once in the mid-1980s at about age 70, and they were more alike than you'd imagine (including looking like if you looked at him cross-eyed, even at age 70, and he'd have taken a poke at you. Really. And given you a run for your money.) Boyington's motto was "Show me a hero, and I'll show you a bum", which I think rang true to Conrad's persona and style. But Conrad was gracious and personable by all accounts, and didn't let his TV personas go to his head. He just knew he was delivering the goods the fans wanted, in his prime.
Survived by a wife, an ex-wife, and eight children between the two marriages.
Gonna be quite a few faces on tonight's In Memoriam section.