Chuck Connors (1921-1992) is most remembered as Lucas McCain, The Rifleman.  However, there are many more chapters to his story.  Chuck was not only a fine actor, but a wonderful athlete and a generous man who organized or participated in multiple charitable events.  He had a larger-than-life personality, outgoing and outspoken, but also compassionate and loyal to his friends.

Chuck ‘s career included playing professional baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Chicago Cubs and the Montreal Royals as well as the Pacific Coast League Los Angeles Angels. He was also a Boston Celtic in the first year of the Professional Basketball Association and had the dubious distinction of being the first player to shatter a glass backboard.

Although The Rifleman brought Chuck fame, he had already started building a solid career in the entertainment industry. He played bad guys and good guys, cowards and heroes with equal ease.  He worked with many Hollywood legends and he rode tall in the saddle in many westerns and fought in the trenches in many war movies. From his childhood in Brooklyn, New York, to his careers in both basketball and baseball, to his entry into Hollywood, Chuck used his natural talents to carve out a life story worth telling. This site is dedicated to that life story.  We invite you to join us as we look at Chuck’s history and celebrate his legacy.

                                                                                                                                  

                                                               

Kevin Joseph Aloysius Connors was born on April 10, 1921, in Brooklyn, New York,  where he was raised by his parents, Allen and Marcella Connors, immigrants from Newfoundland. They were married in Berlin, New Hampshire on April 5, 1920. Marcella was 25 and Allen was 30.   In 1923, his sister Gloria, joined the family. The family struggled to make ends meet during the depression years and Chuck recalled how his mother always managed to have good food on the table.  Here is a photo of Chuck's mother, Marcella and her family on the porch of their home in Peter's River, St. Mary's, Newfoundland. The photo was taken about 1910 before several of the members emigrated to the United States. In the photo are Michael Lundrigan, his wife, Anna, and their five daughters: Gertrude, Mary M., Ita, Philomena and Marcella.      With special thanks to Jeff Connors for sharing this family treasure with us.        

             

                                   

 

Chuck attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica School and served as an altar boy at that church.One of the defining moments for Chuck was becoming a member of the Bay Ridge Boys' Club and playing sandlot ball as a member of the Bay Ridge Celtics.  In his adult life, Chuck credited a man named John Flynn who had created the Bay Ridge Boys' Club and who coached him in the Bay Ridge Celtics, for helping him learn more than just baseball. Chuck was a life-long Dodgers’ fan and always dreamed of a baseball career with his favorite team.  His mother, Marcella, was often in the stands cheering for her son often ringing a cowbell when he was at bat.

Chuck began high school at Manual Training school but through his athletic ability and hard work, he won a scholarship to a private high school, Adelphi Academy, where he played baseball, basketball and football and ran track.  After high school, Chuck was offered several scholarships and chose to attend Seton Hall College. Even while in college, Chuck pursued his dream of playing professional baseball and played minor league ball during the season.                    

His college education was interrupted in 1942 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army.  Chuck remained stateside during the war and became an instuctor in tank warfare, eventually 
serving at West Point.  Two of his trainees were Doc Blanchard and Glenn David, Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside of the Army Football team which won the National Championship in 1944 and 1945. After his Army service was complete, Chuck again focused on a career in baseball, but he was also asked to play professional basketball.  He played with the Rochester Royals in 1945-46 and then for the Boston Celtics in 1946 -1948.  Chuck played both baseball and basketball during those years. 
      
After his comedic antics on the baseball diamond Chuck attracted the attention of a MGM casting director. He subsequently signed for his first role as a State Trooper in the movie, Pat and Mike with Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn in 1952. He then focused his attention on his acting career with the same determination he had brought to sports.   In 1953 he starred opposite John Wayne in Trouble along the Way and South Sea Woman with Burt Lancaster and Virginia Mayo. Chuck officially retired from baseball in 1953 and he continued to build a resume of varied roles. In 1957, he appeared in Walt Disney's Old Yeller, where he played Burn Sanderson, the owner of the big yellow dog.  In 1958, he won a role in the movie The Big Country as Buck Hannessy with Charlton Heston, Gregory Peck and Jean Simmons.  His performance was so good that many felt he would be nominated for an Academy Award. 
                              
During the early 1950's Chuck also had roles in several TV shows:  The Loretta Young Show, Four Star Playhouse, GE Theatre, Superman, adding to his resume of strong performances which led to his selection for his most famous role, Lucas McCain of The Rifleman.  After a successful five year run of that show, Chuck went on to movies and three other television series, Arrest & Trial, Branded and Cowboy in Africa.  Chuck was still very active in show business right up till his death in 1992 at the age of 71.  
Chuck chose to keep kindness in his heart for people and that's a wonderful legacy.  So join us as we walk through the pages of Chuck's life to celebrate and remember a very special man who never forgot where he came from and never lost focus on where he was going.

One of the defining moments for Chuck was becoming a member of the Bay Ridge Boys' Club and playing sandlot ball as a member of the Bay Ridge Celtics.  In his adult life, Chuck credited a man named John Flynn who had created the Bay Ridge Boys' Club and who coached him in the Bay Ridge Celtics, for helping him learn more than just baseball.  After high school, Chuck was offered several scholarships and chose to attend Seton Hall College. Even while in college, Chuck pursued his dream of playing professional baseball and played minor league ball during the season.                

 

                                                                                             



                                                  

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica is the church where the Connors’ family worshiped. Chuck Connors was an altar boy. It's a magnificent looking church in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The inset in the picture above is how the church looked when it was first built in the 1890's.  Young Kevin “Chuck” Connors attended their elementary school       

                                       Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica,
                                                               Past and Present
   
                  
                                                                                                                              

  

                             


Elementary School, Our Lady of Perpetual Help

 

 

                              High School,  Manual Training High School
                    
  
  

                  Adelphi Academy                         Seton Hall University
                     Brooklyn, NY                                  South Orange, NJ

     
                    

                                             
                                              

                                                                                          

Leaving Seton Hall after two years, on October 20, 1942, Chuck joined the Army, officially listing his occupation as a ski instructor. After enlistment in the infantry at Fort Knox, he later served mostly as a tank-warfare instructor at Camp Campbell, Kentucky, and then finally at West Point.  Chuck was discharged early in 1946.                                                  

                                                Fort Knox, 1942

                                                                     

         

                                                                                               

                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

 












Chuck and his family







                             
                                         

                                     
              

                         

                                                                                                   

Our Chuck Connors is sad to announce the recent death of Chuck's son, Jeff.

Jeffrey Alan Connors, born on July 30, 1952, was the 2nd son of Chuck and Betty Connors. Jeff was a talented singer and also dabbled in acting. He appeared on The Rifleman twice as a child and in one movie as an adult. Jeff was one of his Dad's most loyal fans. He appeared at many events with a replica of his Dad's rifle and would regale fans with stories about his Dad and growing up the son of The Rifleman. Jeff was always gracious and friendly to his Dad's fans because that's the way his Dad treated fans. Always remembered how important fans are. Jeff wrote the song "Son of a Cowboy" as a tribute to his Dad. Jeff passed away suddenly on February 19, 2014. He left behind three children, Tom, Cole and Nikki and a legion of fans of his own.

                                                                

                                                       

 






                                                                                                                                                              

                                                                                     

 

 

Chuck married one more time in 1977 to actress Faith Quabius and that marriage ended in divorce in 1979.  Chuck declared that it was "three strikes and you're out" when it came to marriage for him.  

 

                            



Chuck and Faith Quabius take in the sights on 5th Avenue in New York, as they passed St. Patrick's Cathedral, December 13, 1973.  Later he held a press conference to discuss his meeting in Moscow with Leonid Brezhnev before leaving for their trip to Russia. 

           
                     

                                                                           

  

     

 Chuck and three of his grandchildren. Another granddaughter was born after Chuck's death.

            

 

                                                               

 

                            
         St. Charles Borromeo Church where Chuck's Funeral Services were held.
     




                          San Fernando Mission Cemetery-Mission Hills, California
                                                          where Chuck was buried.


           




                                                   Chuck's Gravesite

                                     


             

                                                              Chuck's Grave

                            

                                                                                     

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