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Not to be confused with Hugo Oconór.

Hugh O'Connor
Born April 7, 1962(1962-04-07)
Rome, Italy
Died March 28, 1995 (aged 32)
Los Angeles, California
Occupation Actor
Spouse(s) Angela Clayton (m. 28 March 1992 - his death)


Hugh Edward Ralph O'Connor (April 7, 1962 – March 28, 1995) was an American actor, known for his role as Det./ Lt. Lonnie Jamison on the television drama In the Heat of the Night from 1988-1995.

Contents

Biography

Hugh O'Connor was born in Rome, Italy. 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 chemotherapy 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 rehabilitation 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, 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, California home just as he shot himself in the head.[1] The police later determined he had cocaine in his blood.

Hugh O'Connor was cremated and his remains were originally buried at the Church of St. Susanna in Rome, Italy. Later, his remains were moved to the North American College in Rome. Today, he has a cenotaph at the Church of St. Susanna and at his father's gravesite in Los Angeles, leading many people to believe that he is buried at either place.

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 Hugh O'Connor'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 paraphernalia. In January 1996, he was sentenced to a year in jail, a $1,000 fine, 200 hours of community service, and three years of 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 found not liable. 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.

Filmography

References

  1. ^ "Carroll O'Connor's Son Kills Himself at 33". The New York Times. March 30, 1995. http://www.nytimes.com/1995/03/30/us/carroll-o-connor-s-son-kills-himself-at-33.html. Retrieved 23 May 2009.  

External links








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