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Kevin Joseph Aloysius “Chuck” Connors (April 10, 1921 – November 10, 1992) was an American actor, writer, and professional basketball and baseball player. He is one of only 13 athletes in the history of American professional sports to have played in both Major League Baseball (Brooklyn Dodgers 1949, Chicago Cubs, 1951) and the National Basketball Association (Boston Celtics 1946–48). With a 40-year film and television career, he is best known for his five-year role as Lucas McCain in the highly rated ABC series The Rifleman (1958–63).
Chuck’s Early Years
His early years don’t suggest a lot of adventures. The reason for this is, he was a Roman Catholic. As a practicing Catholic, he served as an altar boy in Brooklyn.
As a young chap, his interest in sports was vibrant. His athleticism also won him scholarships, one of such scholarships was to Adelphi Academy, where he graduated in 1939. His sports prowess got him athletic scholarships from 25 colleges and universities.
Anyways, he settled for Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. It was here he honed his baseball and basketball skills. He left Seton University after two years to play professional baseball in 1940.
Chuck Connors’ Sports Career
The first team he joined to be a professional baseball player was Brooklyn Dodgers’ minor team, the Newport Dodgers in 1940. He barely played for a year with them before he left in 1941.
He later signed with the New York Yankees’ farm team, the Norfolk Tars (Piedmont League). Chuck played 72 games with them.
With a height of 6’6”, it was quite easy for Connors to play basketball. Let us not forget he is a talented athlete. Anyways, after serving with the US Army, he joined Boston Celtics in 1946 and played 53 games for Boston before leaving.
Connors realized that he would not make a career in professional sports, so he decided to pursue an acting career. Playing baseball near Hollywood proved fortunate, as he was spotted by an MGM casting director and subsequently signed for the 1952 Tracy–Hepburn film Pat and Mike, performing the role of a police captain. In 1953, he starred opposite Burt Lancaster as a rebellious Marine private in South Sea Woman and then as an American football coach opposite John Wayne in Trouble Along the Way.
Connors acted in feature films including The Big Country with Gregory Peck and Charlton Heston, Move Over Darling with Doris Day and James Garner, Soylent Green with Heston and Edward G. Robinson, and Airplane II: The Sequel.
He also became a beloved television character actor, guest-starring in dozens of shows. His guest-starring debut was on an episode of NBC’s Dear Phoebe. He played in two episodes, one as the bandit Sam Bass, on Dale Robertson’s NBC western Tales of Wells Fargo.
Other television appearances were on Hey, Jeannie!, The Loretta Young Show, Schlitz Playhouse, Screen Directors Playhouse, Four Star Playhouse, Matinee Theatre, Cavalcade of America, Gunsmoke, The Gale Storm Show, The West Point Story, The Millionaire, General Electric Theater hosted by Ronald Reagan, Wagon Train, The Restless Gun with John Payne, Murder, She Wrote, Date with the Angels with Betty White, The DuPont Show with June Allyson, The Virginian, Night Gallery hosted by Rod Serling, and Here’s Lucy with Lucille Ball.
Connors hosted the annual Chuck Connors Charitable Invitational Golf Tournament, through the Chuck Connors Charitable Foundation, at the Canyon Country Club in Palm Springs, California. Proceeds went directly to the Angel View Crippled Children’s Foundation and over $400,000 was raised.
Krekor Ohanian (August 15, 1925 – January 26, 2017), known professionally as Mike Connors, was an American actor best known for playing private detective Joe Mannix in the CBS television series Mannix from 1967 to 1975, a role which earned him a Golden Globe Award in 1970, the first of six straight nominations, as well as four consecutive Emmy nominations from 1970 to 1973.
He starred in the short-lived series Tightrope! (1959–1960) and Today’s FBI (1981–1982). Connors’ acting career spanned six decades. In addition to his work on television, he appeared in numerous films, including Sudden Fear (1952), Good Neighbor Sam (1964), Situation Hopeless… But Not Serious (1965), Stagecoach (1966), Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die (1966), and Too Scared to Scream (1985), which he also produced.
Connors was born Krekor Ohanian, Jr. (Armenian: Գրիգոր Օհանեան), on August 15, 1925, in Fresno, California, to Armenian parents Krekor Ohanian, Sr. and Alice (née Surabian). They married in 1915 and had six children: Paul I, Paul II, Dorothy M., Arpesri A., Krekor, and Eugene. His father was an attorney and represented many Armenians who had little money and could not speak English.
Connors was an avid basketball player in high school, nicknamed “Touch” by his teammates. During World War II, he served as an enlisted man in the United States Army Air Forces. After the war, he attended the University of California at Los Angeles on both a basketball scholarship and the G.I. Bill, where he played under coach John Wooden.
Connors went to law school, where he studied to become an attorney, taking after his father. He was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. After a basketball game, coach Wilbur Johns introduced Connors to his friend, director William A. Wellman, who liked Connors’ voice and expressive face while he was playing basketball, and encouraged him to consider acting. He was considered for the role of Tarzan by casting director Ruth Burch, who found him an acting coach.
After Connors became an actor, his agent Henry Willson thought the name “Ohanian” was too similar to the actor George O’Hanlon and gave him the stage name “Touch Connors” based on his basketball nickname. Willson considered “Connors” to be a “good all-American name.” Connors later stated he hated the name “from day one” and considered not using his real name the only big regret of his career. After getting the starring role in Tightrope!, Connors wanted to be credited as Ohanian, but Columbia Pictures told him that he had already done too much work as Connors, though he was allowed to change his first name to Mike.
Mike Connors Cause of Death: How Did the ‘Mannix’ Star Die?
Mike Connors, the star of the television show, Mannix, has died. Connors was 91-years-old. What was his cause of death?
According to Daily Variety, the actor died of leukemia. Connors’ son-in-law, Mike Condon told the Hollywood trade magazine that Connors “had been diagnosed a week ago with leukemia.”
On the popular television program, Connors played a detective turned private eye named Joe Mannix, who was assisted by his secretary Peggy, a role played by Gail Fisher. Connors won a Golden Globe for his acting on the show, which ran from 1968 to 1975, Variety reported.
According to the New York Daily News, “Viewers were intrigued by the tall, smartly dressed, well-spoken detective who could mix it up with the burliest of thugs and leap on the hood of a racing car to prevent an escape.”
Connors’ death comes on the heels of the passing of Hollywood television icon, Mary Tyler Moore, who died earlier in the week after battling pneumonia. She was 80.
Connors, of Armenian descent and a World War II veteran, was born Krekor Ohanian in 1925, the New York Daily News reported. The Associated Press reported that Mannix starred in both television and film, in a career that “stretched from the 1950s to 2007, when he had a guest role on ‘Two and a Half Men.’”
The AP reported that Connors’ wife, Mary Lou, survived him. The couple, married in 1949, “had two children: a son, Matthew, and a daughter, Dana.” His son died before him after struggling with mental illness, the AP reported.
According to a biography on Senior City, Connors got his break when he was spotted while playing basketball at UCLA: “Director William Wellman was in the audience for a UCLA basketball game and noticed how expressive Connor’s face was; Wellman asked the coach to see if Connors would be interested in acting and got an affirmative answer.”
The bio says that Connors met Mary Lou Wiley when he was a college undergrad.
Are mike connors and chuck connors brothers?
Mike from Tracy Beaker isn’t called mike Connors hes called connor Byrne They are not related. Chuck Connor’s whole name is Kevin Chuck Connors. Mike Connor’s name i Krekor Ohanian.
Who Are Chuck Connors’s Sons?
Chuck Connors had four sons: Michael, Jeffrey, Steven and Kevin. All four boys came from his first marriage with Elizabeth Jane Riddell Connors, whom he married on Oct. 1, 1948.
Michael was born in 1950 and is still alive, as of 2015. Steven is also alive, born in 1953. Jeffrey, born in 1952, and Kevin, born in 1956, died in 2014 and 2005, respectively. Although Chuck Connors was married two more times, first to Kamala Devi from 1963 to 1973, then to Faith Quabius from 1977 to 1979, his last two marriages never resulted in no children. Connors died in 1992 from pneumonia stemming from his battle with lung cancer.
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