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Famous Like Me > Actor > O > Hugh O'Connor

Profile of Hugh O'Connor on Famous Like Me

Name: Hugh O'Connor  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 7th April 1962
Place of Birth: Rome, Italy
Profession: Actor
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Hugh Edward Ralph O'Connor (born April 7, 1962 in Rome; died March 28, 1995 in Pacific Palisades, California) was an American actor, known for his role as Det./ Lt. Lonnie Jamison on In the Heat of the Night from 1988-1995.

Hugh and Carroll O'Connor as Lonnie Jamison and Police Chief Bill Gillespie on In the Heat of the Night.


When he was six days old he was adopted by Carroll O'Connor and his wife Nancy. Carroll was in Rome filming Cleopatra. He was named after Carroll O'Connor's brother, who died in a motorcycle accident in 1961. When he was 16 he was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. He survived the cancer with cheomotherapy and two surgeries, but became addicted to drugs. He had been taking prescription drugs for the pain and marijuana for nausea. He quickly became addicted to harder drugs. Despite numerous stays at rehab clinics, he never conquered his addiction.

He was married to Angela Clayton, a wardrobe assistant on In the Heat of the Night, on March 28, 1992, and their son Sean Carroll O'Connor was born in 1993.

On March 28, 1995 on the third anniversary of his marriage; O'Connor called his father to tell him he was going to end his life. He told his father he believed he could not beat the drugs and could not face another drug rehabilitation program. Carroll called the police, who arrived at Hugh's Pacific Palisades home just as he shot himself in the head. The police later determined he had cocaine in his blood.

Legal Issues

Six months before Hugh's death Angela told Carroll O'Connor that a man named Harry Perzigian had been furnishing the younger O'Connor with drugs. Carroll had retained a private detective to investigate. About a week before Hugh's death his father brought the evidence to the Los Angeles Police asking them to arrest Perzigian. Several hours after Hugh's death, his father publicly named Perzigian as the man who caused his son's death. Harry Perzigian was arrested the next day for drug possession and furnishing cocaine, after a search of his apartment turned up cocaine and drug paraphenalia. In January of 1996 he was sentenced to a year in jail, a $1000.00 fine, 200 hours' community service and three years' probation.

Perzigian later sued Carroll O'Connor for slander for calling him a "sleazeball" and saying "he was a partner in murder, not an accessory, a partner in murder" in an interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC's Primetime Live. After a highly publicized civil trial Carroll O'Connor was acquitted. He dedicated much of the rest of his life to speaking out on drug awareness.

The Hugh O'Connor Memorial Law

After Hugh's death, his father successfully lobbied to get the State of California to pass legislation that allows family members of an addicted person or anyone injured by a drug dealer's actions, including employers, to sue for reimbursement for medical treatment and rehabilitation costs. The law, known as the Drug Dealer Civil Liability Act in California, went into effect in 1997.

Eleven other states followed with similar legislation, which has been referred to as The Hugh O'Connor Memorial Law.

In April 1997 the Florida Senate unanimously passed The Hugh O'Connor Memorial Act, which allows people injured by drug dealers to sue for damages.


  • Brass (1985) as James Flynn
  • In the Heat of the Night (1988-1995) as Det./ Lt. Lonnie Jamison

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Hugh O'Connor