When Sammy Davis, Jr., appeared on The Rifleman episode, "The Most Amazing Man," he supplied his own outfit for the show including a rust-colored costume with yellow gloves and boots and two silver-plated Colt 45's. He stood in the middle of the street and took imaginary shots at Chuck. "You like this wardrobe?" he said to Chuck, "you should it's mine." Sammy didn't mind supplying his own wardrobe because his buddy Chuck presented him with one of the rifles as a memento for his appearance on the show. Sammy's first appearance on The Rifleman was in the episode "Two Ounces of Tin."
When Chuck Connors' mother, Mrs. Marcella Connors visited the set of
"Move Over, Darling" at 20th Century-Fox, she brought along a Louisville baseball bat with Chuck's name stamped on it from the days when Chuck was a baseball player. To make it complete, she autographed the bat "To Doris Day from Chuck's mother."
Chuck's Hollywood Star
At the age of 60, Chuck was the 1,783rd celebrity to be honored on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. After seeing his star, Chuck said "people can walk all over me now."
On September 16, 1959, Chuck was interviewed by 6 year old Tracy Boyle. They discussed freckles, eating and how a Brooklyn boy became a TV Western star.
What's on tonight?
Chuck was also a subscriber to TV guide. (see label)
Photos courtesy of Jeffrey Gesten and David Fury
Greetings from Home
In 1967 with the support of the USO, Chuck spent two weeks visiting GI's in Vietnam bringing them the latest news from home.
Chuck was an avid fisherman. In his spare time, fishing was one of his favorite things to do.
On the Set
While filming Geronimo, the real grandson of the legendary Geronimo came to the set to visit Chuck.
Honoring the Troops
On May 13, 1967, Chuck and New York City Fire Department Captain
Hay Dimmler held the American flag during the Support Our Boys in Vietnam parade.
Hall of Fame
Chuck was elected Director of the Hollywood Stuntman's Hall of Fame in 1973.
High School Years
While at Adelphi Academy, not only did Chuck play baseball, basketball and football, he was active in other student activities, too. He was a member of the Alpha Phi Fraternity, Vice-President of the Dance Club, a member of the Politics Club where he honed his debating skills and an editor of The Pixilated Printer school newspaper which is where he picked up the nickname Scoop.
Photo Courtesy of Adelphi Academy
Photo Courtesy of Adelphi Academy
Athlete of the Month – June 1951
Los Angeles Angels first baseman Kevin (Chuck) Connors has been named Southern California Athlete of the Month for May by the Helms Athletic Foundation. Connors will be honored by the foundation Monday night at a dinner at the Biltmore Hotel.
A Born Salesman - 1952
Chuck Connors, a baseball player turned actor, sells insurance during his off seasons. The other day be had a fight scene with Burt Lancaster in The Marines Have a Word for It (later named South Sea Woman) and Chuck, not having learned to pull punches, knocked Burt down. When Lancaster got up and dusted himself off, he bought an accident insurance policy from Chuck.
Batting Practice – March, 1952
Chuck Connors showed his batting prowess to his Los Angeles bosses, but the performance almost ended in tragedy. Connors clouted two balls over the right field fence, but the second one struck a cart in which his 15-month-old son, Mike, was sitting. Mike was brought to the field by his mother, Betty, to watch his dad in action. The ball missed the child by only inches.
Chuck Connors, Los Angeles first baseman, who once was with the Dodgers and Cubs, instructed Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard in the arts of tank driving and gunnery at West Point. Davis and Blanchard were the Army’s famous Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside.
Joey Bishop and Chuck Connors put on an impromptu boxing exhibition during a lull at the Ramos-Rojas fight. It ended when a burly character leaped into the ring and bear-hugged Connors off the floor. Nobody knew the third character.
Chuck’s Superbowl appearance
On January 15, 1967, Green Bay Packers Coach, Vince Lombardi, invited Chuck and his son to attend Superbowl I as his guests. They rode the team bus to the game and stood along the sidelines as the Packers won the Superbowl. Vince later gave Chuck one of the special money clips that the Packers made up to celebrate their victory.
The old ballplayer turned actor is touring Texas plugging his new film,
It's not generally known but Brooklyn's Duke Snider named his son Kevin Bruce—after a couple of his ex-Montreal teammates, Kevin (Chuck)
Connors and Bruce Edwards. The three were inseparable friends in that long, long ago.
Workout with the Dodgers
Chuck Connors hopped to Houston from El Paso to work out with the Dodgers in the Astrodome, wearing a pair of Sandy Koufax's size 12 shoes and a spare uniform of Don Drysdale's who at 6 feet 5 inches is as tall as Chuck.
In 1986, actors Dean Martin and Chuck Connors were both hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center at the same time. Martin was being treated for a pinched nerve in his neck and Connors, 62 was recovering from hip surgery.
Advice from Ted Williams
Chuck once spoke of his starting out in sports and how he was always a very popular after-dinner speaker:
“I'm positive my greatest value to the Celtics was as an after-dinner speaker. It seems to me I did more public speaking for the team than playing that first season. They sent me all over New England on speaking engagements. I'd pick up $25 or $50 an appearance, whatever the traffic would bear. When I wasn't apologizing for the few wins the team had, I was doing things like Casey at the Bat and Face on the Bar Room Floor. I did Casey at the Boston Baseball Writers Dinner that first winter, and Ted Williams was there, too, after winning the 1946 American League MVP Award. Ted was very kind to me and laughed his head off at my rendition. Afterward, he said to me, "Kid, I don't know what kind of basketball player you are, but you ought to give it up and be an actor." So doing those after-dinner speeches was my raison d'etre.”
Chuck's German Shepherds
Chuck had a penchant for naming his pets after his popular roles. During The Rifleman years, he had a Basset Hound named Lucas. During the Branded years, his German Shepherd was named Jason after Jason McCord. He also had another German Shepherd named Jonas after his Ride Beyond Vengeance character.
Above and Beyond the call of duty - 1967
Mrs. Dane T. 'Pat' Nash, had the thrill of her life when she answered the phone and heard a husky masculine voice ask if this was Mrs. Dane Nash. She answered in the affirmative and then was ready for the shocker. “This is Chuck Connors Mrs. Nash, and I am speaking from Hollywood do you believe that?" As quick on the draw as the Rifleman she answered; "yes, I do. I heard from someone that you had called regarding their husbands, who are servicemen." Well, Chuck laughed a little at that one and told her he had just been back from Viet Nam, where Pat is stationed and had quite a chat with the Captain and other members of his company. He referred to 'Pat' as a smart cookie.
Chuck told her of some of the things they had talked about (Pat is a helicopter pilot (armed job). He then asked if she would like to hear Pat's voice as he had it on a tape; along with some others in the company. Naturally she agreed, but about that time Chuck advised that his wife couldn't locate it at the moment and he would call back the next night. This was getting real exciting! They agreed but shortly afterwards the phone rang again and Chuck said he had located the record and would rather play it then, than wait as he had other calls to make for servicemen he had talked to and recorded. The record was played; it sounded real fine and Chuck wished them all well and rang off!
Chuck is evidently proving he is the good man in all scenes; both on the screen and off. There was always a moral in the Rifleman series with his son Mark; and Branded is the same type show. Score another for the ex-ball player, turned pro in human relations, as well as acting.
Vietnam – l967
Chuck Connors, who gained fame as The Rifleman on television, reported he'd been shot at in Vietnam. The actor was in the country 10 days visiting American troops. It happened when he was flying in a light plane with a Forward Air Controller over the central highlands. "I was riding with this FAC out of Kontum," he said. "I spotted a supply base in the mountains.” I just sat back there and he brought those bombers in and destroyed those structures down there. After that he had to go down for a bomb damage assessment. When he did that, we got three rifle shots in the belly of the plane. They didn't hurt us, though, and the plane kept flying. "
Heroes Honored by Chuck
Chuck also had the high honor of presenting Purple Hearts to some of our wounded soldiers while he was in Vietnam. A Proud Veteran,
Just one of the guys
At a recent event, Chuck observed two young men in their 20s staring at him. Excusing himself, he walked over to them and said. "How are you? My name is Chuck Connors (as if they didn't know). I hope you're enjoying yourselves." The boys blinked in complete disbelief, but recovered quickly to enjoy a warm conversation with the tall, long-haired star, a rarity among Hollywood egomaniacs.
Chuck was a natural left hander although he could hit with his right as well. He said one of his biggest challenges when filming The Big Country was having to use his gun right-handed.
In 1960, both Chuck Connors and Johnny Crawford were presented with Hudson Bay Blanket Coats when they appeared at a Winnipeg Circus. Chuck loved that coat. Not only is he pictured wearing it on the cover of TV Guide in 1966, but also wore it on the set of Branded.
Doctors' ordered rest for Actor Chuck Connors injured an elbow in a fight sequence, and it forced his television series Branded to be shut down for two weeks. The injury occurred in Hollywood. Connors had torn muscles. Unless he gets complete rest for 10 days, a chronic injury might result, the doctor said.
Chuck suffered a minor injury while filming Move Over, Darling with Doris Day and James Garner. The scene called for him to dive into the pool at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Chuck dove a little too deeply and ended up scraping his knee and cutting three toes which required bandaging.
Chuck recalled that one of his early westerns was filmed on such a tight budget that they only rented the horses for one day of shooting. The script called for the Apaches to run off all the horses of a Cavalry unit that Chuck had to lead on to the fort on foot.
Chuck rescues fireman
After heavy rains and mudslides hit Newhall, CA, many homes were lost to the mud. One belonged to a fireman who was the father of six children, two of whom were adopted. When Chuck saw the report on the TV, he called the fire station and invited the fireman and his family to his home. After greeting them, Chuck handed them a check for a down payment on a new house. Later Chuck visited the area and made another donation to the fire department.
In 1962, Chuck was named an Honorary Citizen of New Mexico as part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of their Statehood.
What was once a beautiful, $150.00 jacket of suede leather ended up a dirt-grimed, sweat stained, filthy rag that couldn't be bought for $2,000.00. It was the frontier type buffalo hunter's saddle coat worn by Chuck in Ride Beyond Vengeance.
To turn the coat from a fashionable show piece into a disreputable piece of clothing required the use of a blow torch, glue, beeswax paste, mineral oil, lipstick and 11 hours of elbow grease on the part of the wardrobe specialist. He also had to use a pair of pliers, a hammer, a file, sandpaper, a wire brush, sand and a set of large needles before he came up with the desired effect. He started first by cutting slashes in the coat with a pair of shears. These cuts were then repaired with rawhide strings. Then came a roll in the dirt, some hair spray and more dirt.
Chuck liked the finished coat so much he had the wardrobe man fix up three more jackets the same way for his use in Branded.
One of Chuck's first loves was baseball. From the sandlots of Brooklyn as a teen through high school, college and the professional leagues, he played full out and that resulted in several injuries. During one game in high school, Chuck was trying to impress a scout in the stands and made a dramatic slide into home plate. However, he didn't plan on spiking his own leg in the process. He required 6 stitches to close the wound.
The 1940's brought more injuries. In 1941 while playing in the minor league, Chuck broke a finger so badly that he couldn't play for a year and that finger healed crooked. As a Montreal Royal inn 1948, Chuck was hit in the mouth with a mis-thrown ball in pre-game warm-up and required 5 stitches in his lip. In 1949 he was beaned with a line drive during a game and was carried from the field unconscious. He suffered a bad concussion from that incident.
Injuries continued when Chuck was a Los Angeles Angel. In April of 1952, Chuck slipped in the locker room shower and injured his left shoulder. This injury kept him out of the line up for weeks.
Chuck's Golf Pants
In 1968, Chuck entered into an agreement with an Italian tailor to design and market golf pants. The design was to be bi-colored pants, one leg was white and the other was either red or blue. We know at least Chuck bought a pair of these slacks.
The Tall Man
Chuck Connors as everyone knows was 6’5 and ¾” tall, but you may not know that his father, Allen Connors, was just about 5’ 7”.
Talk Show Host
Chuck was once the guest moderator on the Joey Bishop Show, July 31, 1969. His guest that evening was the Boston Celtics basketball player and coach Bill Russell. Bill announced that he was quitting basketball and that he wanted to follow in Chuck's footsteps as a show business performer. Chuck and Bill had worked together previously on the TV show, Cowboy in Africa.
All in the family
St. Patrick's Day Parade
Chuck was invited to participate in the 1973 St. Patrick's Day Parade in Chicago.