TV tough guy Robert Conrad is perhaps best known as Secret Service Agent James West on The Wild Wild West, but has been seen in numerous TV shows and films throughout his career. His physicality and tough demeanor are forever associated with the actor and the roles he has played. It is this image that is forever immortalized in his memorable series of Eveready battery commercials, wherein a defiant Conrad dared viewers to try to knock a battery off of his shoulder.
Conrad's big break came with a starring role in Hawaiian Eye. That mystery series made him a star and set him up for his most famous role as James West. Conrad starred in Wild Wild West for four seasons, doing most of his own stunts and getting injured on more than one occasion.
After West was canceled, Conrad could be seen in a number of guest roles on TV, including a memorable spot as a murderous exercise guru on Columbo.
Conrad returned to a regular series in a starring role in Baa Baa Black Sheep and would reprise the role of West along with Ross Martin in two Wild Wild West revival movies. In the late 1980s, Conrad got to work with two of his sons, Shane and Christian, on the short-lived series Jesse Hawkes.
Conrad has been out of the public eye since 2003, when he was involved in a terrible car crash. He was driving drunk and crashed head on into another car. Conrad suffered head injuries and neurological damage that left his right hand and arm paralyzed, and slowed his speech. He was convicted of DUI, and sentenced to six months of house arrest, five years probation and alcohol counseling. Aside from occasional public appearances (including an address at the 2004 Republican National Convention) and participation in the DVD release of West's first season, Conrad has been very quiet since his accident.