O'Connor's apprenticeship as an actor was long; he spent many years as a substitute schoolteacher living with his wife in cold-water flats awaiting the "big break. " He was well into his thirties when steady, albeit supporting, work came as an actor. But at age 46, Carroll O'Connor became Archie Bunker, the endearing bigot who grew to accept diversity (somewhat) on the ground-breaking CBS series, "All in the Family." When the series premiered in January 1971, audiences did not quite know what to make of it--a sitcom which followed the lives of a conservative, loading dock foreman, his "dingbat" wife, daughter and freeloading liberal son-in-law. The premise was typical TV fare, but the content was surely not: Archie Bunker's bigoted, conservative views would be challenged by his liberal son-in-law, and often by his good-hearted wife. Even if audiences and the nation took awhile to swallow sitcom storylines dealing with rape, affirmative action, gender debates, and integration, they fell in love with O'Connor. He portrayed Bunker unabashedly, his thinning white hair sticking up higher and higher on his head as his views were confronted and he screamed and bantered and sat his paunchy frame on "his chair" (which now sits in the Smithsonian). Not only did "All in the Family" become CBS'--and the nation's--top show for five seasons, but O'Connor won four Emmy Awards and eventually took de facto creative control of the series.