Chuck Connors

Chuck Connors

A couple of years before his death, he was devastated to hear about Burt Lancaster's stroke. He tried calling his office one day, but his office wasn't releasing any information at that time. Connors sent a letter in support of David Fury's nomination of Lancaster to the Cowboy Hall of Fame and signed the petition David sent to the American film Institute nominating Burt for the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991.

A longtime smoker, he was hospitalized with pneumonia three weeks before his death.

Accepted the role of Mr. Slausen in Tourist Trap (1979) because he wanted to "become the Boris Karloff of the '80s".

According to an article on TV westerns in Time Magazine (March 30, 1959), Connors stood 6'5" tall, weighed 215 pounds, and had chest-waist-hips measurements of 45-34-41.

After he won a scholarship attending a private high school, he played basketball, football & baseball.

Almost one year before his death, his first wife, Elizabeth "Betty" Connors, died on February 27, 1992, after a long illness.

Almost suffered the same fate in each of his two TV westerns. On a 10-2-61 episode of "The Rifleman" (1958) called "The Vaqueros," he was stripped to the waist, tied to a tree and left to die under a scorching sun by a group of Mexican bandits. On an 11-14-65 episode of "Branded" (1965) called "Fill No Glass for Me," he was stripped to the waist, tied to a tree and left to die under a scorching sun by a group of Indian warriors (in both cases he survived).

At age 13, he remembered he was a lousy first baseman, and the man who made the biggest impact on his life was his coach on a team called the Celtics, a diminutive gent named John Flynn.

Before he was an actor, he spent most of the war as a tank-warfare instructor in Camp Campbell, Kentucky, before West Point, New York.

Before he was an actor, he was a professional basketball and baseball player.

Before the 1940 baseball season, he was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers as an amateur free agent.

Best remembered by the public for his starring role as Lucas McCain on "The Rifleman" (1958).

Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives." Volume 3, 1991-1993, pp. 116-118. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2001.

Chuck Person, an NBA Player, is named after him.

Connors also played professional basketball with the Boston Celtics.

Four sons; Mike Connors, Jeff Connors, Steve, Kevin.

Future "The Rifleman" (1958) co-star, longtime friend and devoted fan, Johnny Crawford, had once said in an interview that when he was just a little boy, he too was an avid baseball fan, like Connors was, and would bring his baseball equipment whenever both he and Connors would be on location, during filming.

Future actor LeVar Burton was also said to be a huge fan of Connors's show "The Rifleman" (1958), as a little boy.

Future comedians, Bill Rafferty and Vicki Lawrence, announcers Burton Richardson and Randy West, actors David Cassidy, Kathy Garver, Clarence Gilyard Jr., Bill Mumy, and talk show hostess, Oprah Winfrey describes him one of their childhood television heroes.

Future talk show hosts - his friend, Regis Philbin and Arsenio Hall, were once said to be their admirable television heroes. Philbin was a young adult while Hall was just a child.