He Was the Rifleman, Now Chuck Connors’ Secrets Come to Light

Chuck Connors, renowned for his role as Lucas McCain in “The Rifleman,” had a remarkable journey from an accomplished athlete to a versatile actor. Born in 1921, he initially excelled in baseball, catching the eye of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1940.

Despite a brief MLB stint, Connors found his way to acting in the early ’50s, marked by his breakthrough in the 1952 film “Pat and Mike.

”His pinnacle came with “The Rifleman” in 1958, portraying McCain, a New Mexico rancher. Connors embraced the role physically and mentally, mastering skills like horseback riding and stunt work. The show’s success owed much to Connors’ commanding presence and the genuine bond with on-screen son Johnny Crawford.

Despite his TV image as an ideal father, Connors’ personal life was complex. Multiple marriages, infidelities, and a notable age gap in relationships contradicted his wholesome on-screen persona.

Additionally, Connors stood out in liberal Hollywood as a vocal conservative, supporting figures like Nixon and Reagan.In the post-“Rifleman” era, Connors struggled to escape McCain’s shadow, venturing into various roles in TV and film. His twilight years saw a return to the iconic character in a 1991 TV movie before his battle with lung cancer led to his demise in 1992 at the age of 71.

Connors’ legacy endures through his impactful contributions to classic westerns and the Golden Era of Television, symbolized by his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. While his flaws were evident, Connors’ genuine goodness and lasting cinematic legacy leave an indelible mark on the world of entertainment.