Chuck ‘s career included playing professional baseball for the Chicago Cubs and the Montreal Royals as well as the 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 a 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.
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
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 arfare, 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
Fort Knox, 1942
Chuck and his family
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.
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