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Archie Bunker will be behind UM lectern

Archie Bunker will be behind a lectern on the University of Montana campus this summer.

But only 12 students will get the opportunity to study under Carroll O'Connor, the UM graduate best known for his portrayal of the outspoken Bunker on the hit television series "All In The Family."

O'Connor will teach two summer school classes in UM's School of Fine Arts. From May 22 to June 23, O'Connor will teach "Writing the Movie," a beginning screenwriting class. He will then teach a second screenwriting course, "Writing the Movie II," from June 26 to July 28.

Michael Murphy, the director of UM's media arts program in the fine arts school, said O'Connor had expressed an interest in teaching classes at UM for quite some time, most recently last September when he was in Missoula to make a $1 million donation to UM's Center for the Rocky Mountain West.

"I met him a couple of years ago when we started the media arts program," Murphy said. "At that time, he said he wanted to give something back to the school. He said he was interested in teaching a class."

Murphy said initial plans called for O'Connor to teach a class during spring semester. But the veteran actor underwent heart bypass surgery last fall, which prevented him from committing to a spring semester class.

In order to take O'Connor's class, Murphy said students must apply by April 3. Applications for the 400-level undergraduate classes, which require some prerequisities, will be screened by Murphy. To enroll in the second class, students must complete the first class, he said.

"There's already a great deal of interest in the classes," Murphy said. "It's kind of a unique situation since there are only a limited number of spaces available."

Murphy said first priority will be given to UM students. But he added that nonstudents are still encouraged to apply.

O'Connor and his wife, Nancy, who also is a UM graduate, will leave their Los Angeles home to live in Missoula for the summer, Murphy said. He said he believes O'Connor will bring a unique perspective to his classes.

"I think we're dealing with somebody who has an immense body of real-life experience," Murphy said. "This is a person who comes from the hands-on school of practical work. His point of view in writing screenplays is that it is something anyone can do. And he plans on teaching the common-sense way of doing it."

Murphy said the fine arts school also hopes to have O'Connor address other gatherings of students and community members, outside of his classes, while he is in Missoula.

If you're interested

For more information on the classes Carroll O'Connor will teach, check out the Web site at www.sfa.umt.edu/mart.

For additional information on UM summer school programs, call Peggy Nesbitt at 243-6014.

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