Tough Guy Actor Robert Conrad Dies At Age 84

Tough Guy Actor Robert Conrad Dies At 84
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Feb. 9 2020, Updated 2:51 p.m. ET

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Robert Conrad, the TV tough guy actor known for such shows as Baa Baa Black Sheep and The Wild Wild West, has died at age 84, RadarOnline.com has confirmed.

The star suffered health setbacks in recent years following a car accident.

“He lived a wonderfully long life and while the family is saddened by his passing, he will live forever in their hearts,” family spokesman Jeff Ballard told PEOPLE.

As Fox News reported, Conrad died in Malibu of heart failure.

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Conrad got into show business on a fluke. In 1957, he was a singer who happened to meet actor Nick Adams while visiting James Dean's gravesite in Fairmount, Indiana. Adams advised the rugged Conrad to move to California to pursue acting -- and he did.

Conrad starred on Hawaiian Eye, a spinoff of TV's 77 Sunset Strip. Then from 1965-69, Conrad played the sophisticated Secret Service agent James T. West in The Wild Wild West.

TV success came again as he played World War II fighter ace Pappy Boyington in Baa Baa Black Sheep from 1976 to 1978.

It was retitled for its second season and in later syndication as Black Sheep Squadron.

In the late 1970s, athletic Conrad was the memorable captain of the NBC team for six seasons of Battle of the Network Stars.

Conrad also became well known at that time for his Everready battery TV commercials.

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The motorcycle-riding actor placed the battery on his shoulder and growled, "I dare ya to knock this off" in the iconic ad.

Conrad later recalled to the Deseret News, "My TVQ (a measure of audience acceptance) was always high ... I've never been slaughtered. I've been beaten, but never slaughtered."

However, Conrad, who was married and divorced twice and had eight kids, suffered serious injuries in a car wreck in 2003.

He lost some control of his left arm and his right side was partially paralyzed in the DUI car crash.

But in 2017, RadarOnline.com found out that the star remained sharp into his 80s!

“I still have a fighter’s spirit!” he told Radar in an exclusive interview.

Conrad, who was also a radio host, said back then, “I’ve been in the business for 50 years, and I’ve had a good run. I’m happy with what I’ve done.”

At a nostalgia fan event in Baltimore a few years ago, Conrad told an interviewer that he came because, "God's blessed me. I got an opportunity to see the people who gave me a career and say thank you."

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