Hi! I am Flo, Welcome to E Celebrity Facts! Today we are talking about the late actor Chuck Connors, who is most remembered as Lucas McCain, The Rifleman.
Besides his recognition as The Rifleman, there are more chapters to his story.
Chuck wasn’t only a talented actor, but a wonderful athlete too.
He is one of the 12 athletes in the history of American professional sports, who played both
Major League Baseball & in the National Basketball Association.
April 10, 1921-born Connors died due to lung cancer and pneumonia on November 10, 1992.
He didn’t like his birth name, Kevin Joseph Aloysius Connors and he tried out several names like Lefty and Stretch.
When he played baseball at university, he would yell to the pitcher, “Chuck it to me, baby, chuck it to me!”. From there he earned the nickname Chuck and finally settled on it.
He started as a professional baseball player playing with New York Yankees and later left to join the US Army following America’s entrance into World War II.
During his Army service, he moonlighted as a pro basketball player, joining the Rochester Royals and helping to lead them to 1946 NBL championship.
Later, while he was playing with Boston Celtics, he became the first pro basketball player to break a glass backboard.
Chuck later played baseball with Brooklyn Dodger, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers.
He became recognized as an actor when he beat 40 other actors to play Lucas McCain on the ABC Western series, The Rifleman.
Before The Rifleman, Chuck had already started building a solid career in the show business playing wide arrays of characters in movies and TV shows.
He has still been recognized for his fine performances in classic series like Branded, Roots, Arrest and Trial, Cowboy in Africa and more.
From his playing career to his entry in Hollywood, he used his natural talents to carve out a life story worth telling.
Chuck was married three times in his lifetime.
He met his first wife, Elizabeth Riddell at one of his baseball games and married her on October 1, 1948.
With Elizabeth, he welcomed four sons, Michael, Jeffrey, Stephen and Kevin until they divorced in 1961.
His second wife, Kamala Devi was his co-star in Geronimo, Branded and Cowboy in Africa, whom he was to from 1963 to 1973.
Then, he married his Soylent Green co-star, Faith Quabius from 1977 to 1979.
Chuck was introduced to the leader of Soviet Union, Leonid Brezhnev at a party thrown by then US president Richard Nixon in 1973.
Since then Chuck and Leonid got along well, and Chuck traveled to the Soviet Union in December 1973.
Coincidently, both of them died on the same day in 1992.
Chuck was buried in the San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Los Angeles.