Robert Conrad is now enjoying his retirement but in his heydays, he gained fame through his exploits as an American actor, as well as a director, writer, singer, and stuntman. The multi-talented American octogenarian has left Hollywood with what we may call a big space to fill for upcoming artistes and performers. Before his retirement, he dazzled the world with an unmatched display of pure skill in his multi-dimensional career. He was seen on the big screen for over four decades and he brought smiles to the faces of all his fans across the music, movie and showbiz industry.
Early Life and Career History
Conrad Robert Falk was born on the 1st of March 1935 in Chicago, Illinois, United States. His father was a German immigrant whose family settled in the United States. His parents gave birth to him at the early ages of sixteen and fifteen – for his father and mother respectively. For his education, he attended the YMCA Central School, Hyde Park High School, South Shore High School, and New Trier High School. The multiple high schools he attended attests to the turbulent high school education he had. At some point, Conrad dropped out of school at the age of fifteen and moved out to live on his own. He showed himself as industrious and ambitious by getting a job and did almost any job that came his way, including loading trucks for two freight forwarding companies in Chicago after which, he moved on to work for Bowman Dairy as a driver, also in Chicago.
The ambitious actor furthered his education at Northwestern University where he majored in Theatre Arts after several years of working. Although he studied Theatre Arts, he also trained to become a singer and his vocal instructor was Richard Henry “Dick” Marx – who was an American arranger and jazz pianist. It is important to note that Conrad was also known as Bob Conrad during the late 1950s and early 1960s when he recorded pop and rock songs at different times.
Conrad’s acting career took a better shape in 1957 when he met the American actor Nick Adam. Adam helped Conrad get his career started in California after Conrad heeded his advice to move to the big city. His first movie was Juvenile Jungle and although the role he took was a non-speaking role, the movie, released in April of 1958, helped him start his career in California. It wasn’t long before Conrad Robert joined the Screen Actors Guild and also had a small role in Thundering Jet also in 1958. He made his TV debut in the same year, featuring in an episode of Bat Masterson – “One Bullet from Broken Bow”.
Robert Conrad’s first big contract was with Warner Bros. In 1959, he was featured as a detective in Hawaiian Eye, a role that would become his most regular role during his long acting career. Between the years 1958 and 2000, Conrad Robert featured in more than 80 movies and television series.
His most popular role is in the 1965–69 television series The Wild Wild West where he depicted the sophisticated Secret Service agent James T. West and often did his own stunts. Indeed, he is a man you may call a ‘legend’ in the industry. Consequently, he was welcomed into the Stuntman’s Hall of Fame in 1965.
Robert Conrad went into retirement in 2002 but because he was not tired in every quarter, he ran for president of the Screen Actors Guild in 2005 but didn’t win.
Where Are Robert Conrad’s Children?
Conrad Robert Falk has seven kids who are in various aspects of their father’s vocation. It won’t be an exaggeration to say his kids took after him. More than half of his children are actors, actresses and one of them is even a movie producer. The acting and showbiz business runs in the family. His children have made names for themselves in their various areas of expertise.
Robert Conrad is not married at the moment but has traveled down the marital road twice in his lifetime. The first time was with Joan Kenlay in 1952. They eloped when he was 17 and the marriage lasted for 25 years but ended in an amicable divorce in 1977. This marriage produced 4 children, two sons and two daughters – Christian, Shane, Joan, and Nancy Conrad.
His second wife is actress LaVelda Ione Fann whom he married in 1983 and stayed with her for 27 years. They divorced in 2010 after 3 daughters together – Kaja, Camille, and Chelsea Conrad.
His eldest daughter Joan Conrad is a TV producer. His sons, Shane and Christian, featured alongside himself in 3 short-run series High Mountain Rangers (1988), Jesse Hawkes (1989) and High Sierra Search and Rescue (1995). His daughters, Joan and Nancy, also joined him on the crew of High Mountain Rangers and a few other shows. His daughter Chelsea Conrad is a jazz singer.
Is He Dead or Alive?
Wild Wild West star Robert Conrad is still very much alive. However, a 2003 head-on car crash left him with a nerve injury and partial paralysis.
According to the police report, the retired actor had been driving with a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit. He was convicted of drunk driving, sentenced to 6 months of house arrest and was put on probation for 5 years. He was also ordered to complete an alcohol counseling program.
Currently, he lives in Bear Valley, California and his works have not stopped speaking for him even though he is no longer in new movies. Conrad has set a standard that only the brave, talented, and ambitious actors can meet.