Chuck Connors was an American actor, writer, and athlete who rose to fame after his leading role in the hit ABC series, “The Rifleman.” He was born on April 10, 1921, as Kevin Joseph Aloysius Connors, to an immigrant family of Irish descent. Connors grew up to be a tall young man with an aptitude for sports. From a young age, he also hated his name and changed it throughout the years with nicknames such as “Lefty” or “Stretch.” As he reached his adult years, Connors finally went with “Chuck” which was also his stage name when he started playing baseball professionally.
Connors earned multiple scholarships and attended Seton Hall University in New Jersey. However, two years into his schooling, he dropped out and became a professional athlete. In 1942, World War II broke out and Connors enlisted in the United States Army. During the war, he was appointed as a tank warfare instructor and served at Fort Campbell in Kentucky and in West Point, New York. Several years later, Connors changed career paths and decided to pursue acting full-time. Luckily, he was scouted by a casting director and landed his first role in the 1952 film, “Pat and Mike.”
Before he got his break, Connors played numerous television and character roles. Some of his most notable performances included a comedic role in an episode of the “Adventures of Superman” and his part as Burn Sanderson in the iconic Walt Disney film, “Old Yeller.” From 1958 to 1963, Connors played the leading role of Lucas McCain, the protagonist of the ABC western series, “The Rifleman.” The show was an instant hit and launched the actor into mainstream stardom. After his work on the series, Connors was typecast into similar roles, although he reportedly enjoyed performing them.
In 1984, Connors’ contributions to film and television were recognized when he was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Unfortunately, at the age of 71, Connors passed away at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center while under treatment for lung cancer. While the actor was remembered for his illustrious career, his personal life was still up for discussion, including his sexuality. Apparently, many fans have wondered over the years: was Chuck Connors? Let’s find out the truth below.
VOTE: What was Chuck Connors’ Sexuality?
Chuck Connors’ Relationships
At this peak, Connors was one of the most easily recognizable characters on television. But despite his popularity, his personal life remained a large mystery. Not much is known about his relationships, except that Connors was married at least three times and had four children. Here’s a quick look at his affairs and the women he married:
Chuck Connors and Elizabeth Riddell (1948-1961)
In 1948, Connors met his first wife, Elizabeth Riddell, while she attended one of his baseball games. The pair quickly hit it off and got married later in October. They went on to have four children: Michael, Jeffrey, Stephen, and Kevin Connors. Riddell and Connors were still married when the latter began his acting career.
Unfortunately, the marriage broke down as Connors became more successful in his career. Although the reason for their separation is unknown, many fans speculate that it may be because of the actor’s heartthrob reputation. And while there were no rumors of infidelity, Connors was extremely good-looking and got a lot of attention from female fans. Riddell and Connors eventually separated in 1961.
Chuck Connors and Kamala Devi (1963-1972)
Just as his divorce was finalized, Connors met his second wife, Kamala Devi, while they starred in the 1963 Western film, “Geronimo.” The actor was smitten with his co-star and they embarked on a passionate romance. Connors and Devi tied the knot and continued working together in films such as “Branded,” “Broken Sabre,” and “Cowboy in Africa.” Despite their connection, the pairing wasn’t meant to be. They drifted apart and filed for divorce in 1973.
Chuck Connors and Faith Quabius (1977-1980)
Connors met his third and last wife, Faith Quabius while working on set as well. They were starring together in the 1973 film, “Soylent Green.” This time around, Connors took his time to get to know his girlfriend. They dated for years before finally marrying in 1977. Unfortunately, this marriage proved to be shorter than his second one. After only two years of being together, Connors and Quabius called it quits.
Chuck Connors’ Historic Sports Career
Aside from his acting pursuits, Connors also had a historical sports career that’s often overlooked. In his youth, he was a talented sportsman who professionally played both baseball and basketball. In 1949, Connors teamed up with the Brooklyn Dodgers and later transferred to the Chicago Clubs. For basketball, he played for the Boston Celtics from 1946 to 1948.
During his time with the Boston Celtics, Connors was the first basketball player to break a backboard. He was also one of the few athletes in history who have played in Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association. Eventually, his sports career trailed off in the 1960s after he failed to be drafted into the NFL.
Although he was a talented sportsman, Connors had a different calling in life. He would later become a popular television figure in the hit series, “The Rifleman.”
Chuck Connors’ Gay Allegations
Like many attractive actors of his time, Connors wasn’t a stranger to speculation surrounding his sexuality. According to sources, he had many close male friends and loved hanging out with his male co-stars. The privacy surrounding his marriages didn’t help in igniting more rumors. Based on fan theories, Connors’ multiple marriages may also cover the alleged fact that he was indeed a homosexual. However, these rumors never came to fruition and Connors never addressed his true sexuality.
Was Chuck Connors Gay?
No, Chuck Connors wasn’t gay. He was married three times to three different women and had four children. He was considered a womanizer despite the rumors alleging that he was gay. The actor never confirmed his sexuality so at this point, it’s best to assume that he was straight.