‘All in the Family’: How Much Money Was Carroll O’Connor Paid?

Carroll O’Connor made us laugh for eight seasons as Archie Bunker. How much did O’Connor make for his starring role on All in the Family?

Carroll O’Connor once dreamed of a career in theatre

Jean Stapleton (as Edith Bunker) and Carroll O'Connor (as Archie Bunker) in 1973 | CBS via Getty Images
Jean Stapleton (as Edith Bunker) and Carroll O’Connor (as Archie Bunker) in 1973 | CBS via Getty Images

O’Connor considered the stage his home just as much as the set of a television show. In his memoir I Think I’m Outta Here, he said he hoped to continue his career in theatre, but his dream was crushed after a negative review in The San Francisco Chronicle. The play the reviewer slammed was titled A Certain Labor Day. O’Connor said the reviewer hated the play and he wasn’t shy about expressing his feelings.

The All in the Family star went on to explain that the person writing the review thought the play was about O’Connor’s life, and he was confused when the play was about something else entirely. As a result, tickets sales dwindled, and the play didn’t do well.

O’Connor said his interest in theatre died right along with the play. After that experience, he felt he was misguided to think he could make his mark as a stage actor.

One of O’Connor’s first theatre performances was in the 1958 production Ulysses in Nighttown. The following year, he appeared in the Broadway production God and Kate Murphy. His other theatre appearances include Brothers, Home Front, and Candide.

Carroll O’Connor used to act under the name George Roberts

Although he was known as Carroll O’Connor, this wasn’t always the name he used. During an interview with the Television Academy Foundation, he revealed he used to go by the stage name George Roberts. This was the name of an old friend of his who died.

O’Connor later decided to switch back to his birth name after joining a performing ats company where all the actors had Irish names. The head of the company asked him to change his name so that he would fit in with the rest of the group.

How much Carroll O’Connor was paid for ‘All in the Family’

O’Connor was paid $30,000 per episode for his appearance on All in the Family, according to The New York Times. O’Connor said contract negotiations were often unfair because they did not protect actors. According to him, the contracts were binding for the actors but not the producers. “Everybody knows it’s an unfair arrangement; that’s why there are these negotiations every year,” he told the newspaper during a 1975 interview.

O’Connor went on to say that anyone could do the same math as the late Bob Wood (the CBS president from 1969 to 1976). He said all it took was for an actor to determine how much a show earned. From there, it was simple to calculate how much money to ask for.

“Any actor can do arithmetic as well as Bob Wood,” said O’Connor during his New York Times interview. “An actor can figure out how much a show is grossing, and if he can’t, his agent or his business manager can.”

“The actor just tries to make a judgment as to what part of that enormous sum he is responsible for making, and then he goes in and asks the producer for more,” O’Connor continued. “It’s just like selling Ford cars. If a salesman sells $1million worth of Ford cars, he expects a big profit.”

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