Chuck Connors


Actor
Chuck Connors

About

Also Known As
Kevin Joseph Connors
Birth Place
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Born
April 10, 1921
Died
November 10, 1992
Cause of Death
Lung Cancer

Biography

Imposing, lantern-jawed leading man of TV, most famous as Lucas McCain, the righteous, chain-smoking protagonist of ABC-TV's immensely popular "The Rifleman" (1958-63). Connors' six-foot-five frame helped him gain a position as a pro basketball player on the Boston Celtics after a stint in the military during WWII. He soon switched to baseball, playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Ch...

Photos & Videos

Soylent Green - Publicity Stills
Flipper - Movie Poster
Soylent Green - Movie Poster

Family & Companions

Elizabeth Jane Riddle
Wife
First wife; divorced; mother of Connors' four sons.

Biography

Imposing, lantern-jawed leading man of TV, most famous as Lucas McCain, the righteous, chain-smoking protagonist of ABC-TV's immensely popular "The Rifleman" (1958-63). Connors' six-foot-five frame helped him gain a position as a pro basketball player on the Boston Celtics after a stint in the military during WWII. He soon switched to baseball, playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs, but he was more distinguished for his comical sideline antics than his baseball prowess. Demoted to the Cubs' minor league farm, the old Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League, Connors took advantage of his new location to begin an acting career, appearing in at least a dozen features before his star-making TV role.

"The Rifleman" featured the athlete-turned-actor as New Mexico homesteader Lucas McCain, a diligent single father whose child-rearing duties were enlivened by gun battles with ornery varmints whom he dispatched with his trusty modified Winchester rifle. Several notable directors of genre features--Sam Peckinpah, Budd Boetticher, Joseph H. Lewis, Ida Lupino--toiled on this landmark TV Western.

Connors's subsequent series included the cop/attorney drama "Arrest and Trial" (1963-64), opposite Ben Gazzara; the Westerns "Branded" (1965-66) and "Cowboy in Africa" (1967-68), the syndicated documentary "The Thrill Seekers" (1973), which he hosted and narrated; "The Yellow Rose" (1983-84), and the short-lived "Werewolf" (1987). TV movies include "The Police Story" (the 1973 pilot movie for the popular TV series), "The Horror at 37,000 Feet" (1973), "Banjo Hackett: Roamin' Free" (1976) and "Roots" (1977).

Connors contemplated entering politics, but found politicians even more ornery than his old sagebrush adversaries. In 1973, at a party at President Nixon's vacation home, he met an unlikely fan--Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, who greeted his favorite actor with a big Russian bear hug. Connors presented Brezhnev with two six-guns. He was also on hand to honor his actor-turned-President friend on a 1985 CBS special entitled "An All-Star Party For 'Dutch' Reagan."

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

One Last Run (1992)
Last Flight to Hell (1991)
Salmonberries (1991)
Three Days to a Kill (1991)
High Desert Kill (1989)
Trained to Kill (1989)
Skinheads (1988)
Once Upon a Texas Train (1988)
Mania (1988)
Bordello (1988)
Summer Camp Nightmare (1987)
Sakura Killers (1987)
Terror Squad (1987)
Balboa (1982)
The Vals (1982)
Target Eagle (1982)
The Capture of Grizzly Adams (1982)
Airplane II: The Sequel (1982)
Day of the Assasins (1981)
Virus (1980)
Tourist Trap (1979)
Standing Tall (1978)
Night They Took Miss Beautiful (1977)
Nightmare in Badham County (1976)
Banjo Hackett: Roamin' Free (1976)
Wolf Larsen (1975)
99 and 44/100% Dead (1974)
The Police Story (1973)
Set This Town on Fire (1973)
Soylent Green (1973)
The Horror at 37,000 Feet (1973)
Embassy (1973)
The Mad Bomber (1973)
The Proud and the Damned (1972)
Night of Terror (1972)
The Deserter (1971)
Reynolds
Support Your Local Gunfighter (1971)
Swifty Morgan
La Spina Dorsale del Diavola (1971)
The Birdmen (1971)
Captain Nemo and the Underwater City (1970)
Sen. Robert Fraser
Kill Them All and Come Back Alone (1970)
Clyde
Ride Beyond Vengeance (1966)
Jonas Trapp
Synanon (1965)
Ben
Flipper (1963)
Porter Ricks
Move Over, Darling (1963)
"Adam" [Stephen Burkett]
Geronimo (1962)
Geronimo
The Big Country (1958)
Buck Hannassey
The Lady Takes a Flyer (1958)
Phil Donahoe
Old Yeller (1958)
Burn Sanderson
Tomahawk Trail (1957)
Sgt. Wade McCoy
Death in Small Doses (1957)
Mink Reynolds
Designing Woman (1957)
Johnny O
The Hired Gun (1957)
Walk the Dark Street (1956)
Frank Garrick
Hold Back the Night (1956)
[Sgt.] Ekland
Hot Rod Girl (1956)
Det. Ben Merrill
Three Stripes in the Sun (1955)
Idaho
Good Morning, Miss Dove (1955)
Bill Holloway
Target Zero (1955)
Pvt. Moose
Naked Alibi (1954)
Capt. Owen Kincaide
Dragonfly Squadron (1954)
Capt. Warnowski
The Human Jungle (1954)
Earl Swados
The Silver Whip (1953)
Code Two (1953)
Deputy
South Sea Woman (1953)
Pfc Davey White
Trouble Along the Way (1953)
Stan Schwegler
Pat and Mike (1952)
Police captain

Cast (Special)

Friday Night Surprise! (1989)
National Basketball Players Association Awards (1989)
Performer
1987 Miss USA Pageant (1987)
The Real Trivial Pursuit (1985)
Steel Collar Man (1985)
An All-Star Party for "Dutch" Reagan (1985)
Lone Star (1983)
Celebrity Daredevils (1983)
The Great Mysteries of Hollywood (1981)
Narrator
When the West Was Fun: A Western Reunion (1979)
The Indian (1959)
Lucas Mccain (Guest)
The Sharpshooter (1958)
Lucas Mccain

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Roots (1977)

Life Events

1946

Signed as a professional basketball player with the Boston Celtics

1949

Switched to pro baseball, playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers

1951

Played for the Chicago Cubs

1952

Early credit in a major film, George Cukor's "Pat and Mike", starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn

1958

Cast as Lucas McCain in the popular TV series, "The Rifleman"

1973

Met longtime fan, Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, at a poolside party given by President Nixon in San Clemente

1977

Appeared in an Emmy-nominated role as a lustful slave owner in the ABC-TV miniseries, "Roots"

1979

Final major starring role in a feature, "Tourist Trap", a horror film set in a wax museum

1991

Reprised the role of Lucas McCain, "The Rifleman" for the TV movie, "Luck of the Draw: The Gambler Returns", starring Kenny Rogers

Photo Collections

Soylent Green - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills from Soylent Green (1973). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Flipper - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Flipper (1963). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters. The variation poster is from a later re-issue for Children's Matinees.
Soylent Green - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Soylent Green (1973). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.

Videos

Movie Clip

Big Country, The (1958) - You Can't Have It Both Ways Chuck Connors is Buck Hannassey, number one son at a local ranch who’s just finished hassling the star (Gregory Peck), an east coast fella who’s just been greeted by his fianceè, whose dad owns the rival ranch, and her friend Julie (Jean Simmons), the schoolteacher, with whom he now misbehaves, early in William Wyler’s The Big Country, 1958.
Big Country, The (1958) - I Don't Know As I'd Wear That Hat After credits blazing across the prairie, Gregory Peck as Jim McKay of Maryland arrives in San Rafael, greeted by terse-friendly ranch foreman Charlton Heston, Chuck Connors leading local ruffians, Carroll Baker the awaiting bride-to-be, opening William Wyler’s The Big Country, 1958.
Flipper (1963) - This Boat's My Living! Hurricane weather in the Florida Keys, Porter Ricks (Chuck Connors) and son Sandy (Luke Halpin) sail for safe harbor, meeting Sheriff Rogers (George Applewhite) then vacationing Kim (Connie Scott), early in the original Flipper, 1963.
Flipper (1963) - All Of My Life On The Sea Following credits shot underwater, Chuck Connors narrates the introduction, not all shot in the Florida Keys, setting up the original Flipper, 1963, from producer Ivan Tors and MGM, starring Luke Halpin as "Sandy."
Soylent Green (1973) - Get Me Some Booze Detective Thorn (Charlton Heston) begins his murder investigation by sampling the luxuries of the victim's apartment and offending his aide (Chuck Connors) in Soylent Green, 1973.
Synanon (1965) - You Don't Have To Be Pretty New recruit Zankie (Alex Cord) is turned over to inmate Ben (Chuck Connors) and pals (Bernie Hamilton, Alejandro Rey, et al) for his drug-rehab haircut, in writer-director Richard Quine's Synanon, 1965.
Captain Nemo And The Underwater City - Templemer Senator Fraser (Chuck Connors) is introduced to Captain Nemo (Robert Ryan) who, having rescued the senator's party, shows them where the submarine Nautilus is headed, in Captain Nemo And The Underwater City, 1970.

Trailer

Family

Steven Connors
Son
Survived him.
Jeffrey Connors
Son
Survived him.
Michael Connors
Son
Survived him.
Kevin Connors
Son
Survived him.

Companions

Elizabeth Jane Riddle
Wife
First wife; divorced; mother of Connors' four sons.

Bibliography