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From 'MASH' private to Malta Supervisor, O'Connor has had starring roles

Mark Mulholland
Updated: March 16, 2020 07:24 PM
Created: March 16, 2020 05:18 PM

MALTA - That guy sharing a scene with Alan Alda and Jamie Farr in the blockbuster TV show "MASH" happens to occupy the top job in town government these days.

Darren O'Connor was a 23-year-old kid when he guest-starred as Private Jenkins, the nervous sentry whose gunfire accidentally grazed Farr's character Corporal Klinger, and nearly shot Colonel Sherman Potter.

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Now the Malta Town Supervisor, O'Connor has done a lot of living.

He was a junior at New Rochelle High in 1972 when he starred in a full-length feature film with Lloyd Bridges, Pamela Sue Martin, and Tom Bosley

A line from the "To Find a Man," imitated O'Connor's real life.

"I've got a hundred things I wanna do," O'Connor's character tells Martin's character.

He went on to do TV commercials and a pilot for a TV series, Hollywood High, while an undergrad at Fordham, but after his first year at Fordham Law, he realized law school and full-time acting was too much.

"I had a nice career. It was fun. I loved working on the TV stuff," O'Connor said.

However, O'Connor's careers were just getting started. He worked as a litigator for the Legal Aid Society, was one of Chief Judge Judith Kaye's first law clerks. He went on to become a litigator for the NY Attorney General and was Chief Counsel for the New York State Police when he retired in 2011. 

"I like new challenges."

O'Connor and his wife, Eileen, moved to Malta from Albany County.  He says he loved the lower taxes, and he started as an alternate on the town planning board, then was named deputy town attorney and deputy supervisor and acting supervisor before he was elected supervisor last year.

He says his earlier careers as an actor and a litigator serve him well for any position.

Supervisor O'Connor says he has no aspirations to go anywhere else - except maybe community theater.

"Maybe, I don't know. I'd probably stink at it now, you know," he laughs.

O'Connor misses those acting days, and says the "MASH" cast, and the co-stars in his movie were among the nicest people he'd ever met, but he doesn't regret it leaving it behind.

"I don't. I'm very happy the way I did it."


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