Celebrities and entertainers said farewell today to Carroll O'Connor, the actor who satirized prejudice as the buffoonish bigot on All in the Family.
Among the hundreds in attendance were comedian Carl Reiner and his son, actor-director Rob Reiner, who played the liberal son-in-law famously dubbed "Meathead" by Archie Bunker, O'Connor's character on the popular sitcom.
Comedian Don Rickles, Dallas star Larry Hagman and Martin Sheen of The West Wing also attended the service at St. Paul the Apostle Roman Catholic Church in West Los Angeles.
The 76-year-old actor died Thursday following a heart attack.
Working With Him Was a 'Joy'
"He was a master theatrician, Mr. Bunker was," Carl Reiner said as he arrived. "It's funny how we keep calling him 'Bunker,' and we keep calling my son 'Meathead.' That's the kind of an impact they [All in the Family] had, even on a father."
Sally Struthers, who played Bunker's daughter, Gloria, on All in the Family, said working with O'Connor was a joy.
"I shared such an incredible time and space with Carroll," she said, arriving at the funeral. "Very few people ever get to do that in their lives, to have that history-making time, of which all I did for eight years was laugh. I feel so lucky now that I had that."
Actor Richard Crenna said O'Connor will be missed. "We always say that we do go to a better place perhaps, but this will not be a better place for the loss of Carroll," he said.
Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, the archbishop of Los Angeles, presided over the traditional Catholic Mass. Hagman and Sheen performed Scripture readings.
O'Connor's remains will be cremated and buried privately.
Wife Asks Fans to Support Actors Fund
The actor was known mainly for his stage work and a few small movie roles before playing Bunker on the influential TV series that began in 1971 and lasted for eight seasons. From 1979-83, the show was called Archie Bunker's Place, and was based in a bar Bunker owned.
O'Connor was credited with showing the vulnerable side of the cranky, blue-collar tyrant by playing him as an outdated, uneducated man threatened by the sexual, political and racial changes he saw sweeping America.
His later years were steeped in tragedy after his only child, Hugh — his co-star on the TV crime series In The Heat of The Night — shot himself in a drug-related suicide in 1995.
O'Connor began traveling the United States promoting state laws that would allow families of drug abuse victims to sue dealers for monetary damages. Thirteen states have passed such laws, including New York, California and Illinois.
Nancy O'Connor, the actor's wife of nearly 50 years, asked that instead of flowers, fans support the Actors' Fund of America, the John Wayne Cancer Institute or the National Museum of the American Indian.