John Connell, American actor, died at 91

  Dead Famous

John Connell, Born on October 28, 1923 in Philadelphia, and died September 10, 2015.

John received five Battle Stars and a Purple Heart during WWII. From September of 1944 through April of 1945, he was a radio operator and waist gunner aboard a B-24 with Squadron 513 of the Fifteenth Air Force, 376th Heavy Bombardment Group.

The crew completed 43 bombing missions before the conclusion of WWII, most of them from its base in Apulia, Italy.

John has often spoken in praise of the “Tuskegee Airmen”, the all-black 99th Pursuit Squadron, which provided protective cover for two-thirds of the missions he flew.

The Tuskegee Airmen had been transferred to the Fifteenth Air Force shortly after Connell began his enlistment.

After the war, he attended the University of Missouri, where he met his wife Mila, who was then a dance student.

After graduating with a degree in Journalism in 1950, he moved to New York to act. He appeared on Broadway (“Time Limit” and “Uncle Willie”) and with the National Company of “Picnic”.

Working in the heyday of live television, he appeared in dozens of live broadcasts including Studio One in Hollywood (1948), Kraft Theatre (1947), You Are There (1953), Goodyear Playhouse (1951), Danger (1950), The Alcoa Hour (1955) and Robert Montgomery Presents (1950).

John starred for five years as “Dr. David Malone” on the live soap opera Young Dr. Malone (1958), and made appearances on The Edge of Night (1956), Love of Life (1951), The Secret Storm (1954) and Dark Shadows (1966).

He also collaborated with his wife to write more than one hundred “Secret Storm” scripts.

His film work includes Three Days of the Condor (1975), Family Business (1989) and Fail Safe (1964), As a member of the bomber crew in the latter film, and drawing upon his own experience in a B-24, he let his longtime friend, director Sidney Lumet, know that intercom radio equipment aboard a bomber was built into the oxygen masks, and that removing the mask to use an external intercom would lead to unconsciousness. Lumet was glad for the technical insight.

In the 1960s, his professional apex developed from what was then a little-trod path in the acting profession: commercial voice-overs.

With his warm, rich tones, Connell became a preeminent and ubiquitous radio and television spokesman for hundreds of sponsors and products.

John also developed a reputation in the studio for an unmatched sense of timing; he can deliver readings to a tenth of a second.

He has been at various times the voice of Maxwell House Coffee, American Airlines, Xerox, Proctor & Gamble, Ford, Uniroyal, McDonald’s, H&R Block (12 years) and Brooklyn Union Gas (16 years).

John has also narrated industrial films and documentaries including “Rice”, which won a Rockefeller Foundation award.

Actor John Connell died at 91 on September 10, 2015.