Where is actor Michael Cole today? Mod Squad actor on a life well lived

Bruno Cooke June 7, 2021
Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Featured

Clarence Williams III, of Mod Squad fame, died on Friday of colon cancer. His death has revived interest in his co-stars, including actor Michael Cole, and what they’re doing today. Where is Mod Squad’s Pete Cochran today, and what is his net worth? Is Michael Cole still alive?

Michael Cole has always considered himself lucky

“There’s not many people from Madison, Wisconsin, who get to fly to Australia,” Cole told Studio 10’s Craig Bennett in 2018 (see video below).

“I’ve always considered myself lucky.”

He started drinking at 12 years old, he says, and found himself in jail aged just 14 or 15. 

  • TV: Uncle Luke’s daughter Cree Campbell joins Growing Up Hip Hop cast

He spent time living under freeways before his acting career found its feet, and remembers looking up at the Mod Squad billboard atop Paramount Studios.

It bore his face, and overlooked a freeway under which he had slept only a year prior.

What happened to Michael Cole that left him with 130 stitches?

Cole required surgery after a near-fatal car accident early on in his career.

It occurred in the 1970s, during a hiatus of Mod Squad’s second season.

  • CULTURE: New Captain America’s name gets mixed reaction on Twitter
Photo by ABC/Hulton Archive/Courtesy of Getty Images

The crash and subsequent medical procedures left him with 130 stitches – he almost lost an eyelid

He feared his career would be over and, he jokes, he would be doomed to play Quasimodo forever.

How many children does Michael Cole have?

Michael Cole dropped out of high school and married his first wife when he was just 16.

She gave birth to two children, Jeff and Candi, but she and Cole divorced by the time he was 20.

His second marriage produced one daughter, Jennifer, but also ended in divorce.

Cole married his third wife, Shelley Funes, in 1996.

  • CELEBRITY: Who is Florence Griffith’s widower Al Joyner?
Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images

He credits Shelley Funes with saving his life

In his memoir, I Played The White Guy, and in his interview with Craig Bennett of Studio 10, Michael Cole opens up about his alcoholism and, eventually, beating addiction.

By 1993, he writes, he was “tired of being drunk and hurting people”. 

Funes staged an intervention. “Shelley was crying. We called Betty Ford (a non-profit, residential rehab centre in California), and I was down there right after Christmas.

“She did save my life.”

If it wasn’t for Shelley offering him an ultimatum, Michael Cole says he wouldn’t be alive today.

What has he been in since Mod Squad?

Mod Squad ran from 1968 to 1973 and defined Michael Cole’s career – but he was in plenty more besides.

He reprised the role of Pete Cochrane for The Return Of Mod Squad in 1979 and, more recently, featured in The Apostate (2000), Mystery Woman (2003-6), Mr Brooks (2007) and Grave Misconduct (2008).

  • CELEBRITY: Were Clarence Williams III and Tyne Daly married?
Photo by Michael Schwartz/WireImage

What is actor Michael Cole’s net worth?

Information Cradle estimates Michael Cole’s net worth to be in the region of $1 million to $5 million.

Meanwhile, Super Stars Bio reckons his net worth is close to $4 million.

Where is Michael Cole today?

Born 3 July 1940, Michael Cole is currently 80 years old. 

Cole gave a string of interviews in 2018 – one with Craig Bennett, another with Terry Wollman, and a radio interview with Ghosty’s WFDU show The Vintage Rock & Pop Shop.

Since then, he has fallen off the radar and hasn’t yet publicly acknowledged the death of Mod Squad co-star Clarence Williams III.

Today, Michael Cole is the last living member of The Mod Squad, aka “the hippest and first young undercover cops on TV”.

Bruno is a postgraduate student studying global journalism, with research interests in the intersection of the media, storytelling, culture and politics. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Packs Light and Forge Press, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com. He is a Student Ambassador for Tortoise Media, a big fan of Freddie Mercury and a novelist – his debut novel, Reveries, is available on Amazon.