Hugh O'Connor

Hugh O'Connor

Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy
Death 28 Mar 1995 (aged 32)
Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Cenotaph Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Mausoleum of the Pontifical North American College (Conditorium Pontificii Collegii Foederatarum Americae Civitatum)
Memorial ID 5911302 · View Source
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Actor. He is best remembered for his role as Officer Lonnie Jamison on the NBC/CBS television drama series "In the Heat of the Night" that ran from 1988 to 1994. Born in Rome, Italy he was adopted by actor Carroll O'Connor and his wife Nancy while he was there filming the movie "Cleopatra," and was named Hugh Edward Ralph O'Connor after his father's brother who was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1961. At the age of 16 he was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma and survived the cancer with chemotherapy treatments along with two surgeries. When his father acquired the role as the Sparta, Mississippi, Police Chief Bill Gillespie on "In the Heat of the Night" he cast him for the role of Lonnie Jamison. On March 28, 1992 he married Angela Clayton who was a wardrobe assistant on the show. He suffered from pain and nausea as a result of his cancer treatment and surgeries and became addicted to hard drugs like cocaine. Despite numerous arrests and stays at rehabilitation clinics, he never conquered his addiction and could stay sober for only a few months at a time. During those sober times, he proved himself a gifted actor with great potential. After joining the cast of "In the Heat of the Night," he remained sober and drug-free until the show's cancellation in 1994. On the third anniversary of his marriage, he called his father to tell him he was going to end his life, saying he believed he could not beat the drugs and could not face another drug rehabilitation program. His father then notified the police, who arrived at his Pacific Palisades, California home. Despite his father's pleas and attempts by the police to talk to him, he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head at the age of 32. His remains were cremated and originally buried at the Church of St. Susanna in Rome, Italy. Later, his remains were moved to the North American College in Rome. After his 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. Since then, eleven other states followed with similar legislation, which has been referred to as The Hugh O'Connor Memorial Law. His actual cremated remains are at the Mausoleum of the Pontifical North American College (Conditorium Pontificii Collegii Foederatarum Americae Civitatum).

Bio by: William Bjornstad

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Patricia Thornton
  • Added: 31 Oct 2001
  • Find a Grave Memorial 5911302
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Hugh O'Connor (7 Apr 1962–28 Mar 1995), Find a Grave Memorial no. 5911302, citing Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .