Born and raised in the heavily Armenian community of Fresno, California, Mike "Touch" Connors, as he was known in his college basketball days at UCLA, was encouraged to take up acting on the advice of film director William Wellman while serving in the Air Force during the Korean War. He appeared in movie and TV roles as a guest before starring in his own TV series Tightrope (CBS 1959-60) , which was a hit, but was cancelled after one season due to complaints of excessive violence. After a few movie roles he landed his signature TV role, that of hard-boiled private detective Joe Mannix in CBS's Mannix, which ran from 1967 to 1975. He has continued to act, starring in Today's F.B.I. (ABC 1981-82) and appearing as a guest in several TV series. He currently lives in Encino, California with his wife, Mary Lou Willey, to whom he has been married since 1949.