Chuck Connors was the professional baseball player who became an actor best known for his title role in the television series "The Rifleman."
Connors became well-known in the western series, which ran from Sept. 30, 1958, to July 1, 1963. He starred as Lucas McCain, a New Mexico homesteader bringing up a son by himself. His trademark in his continuing battle with villains was a fast-cocking Winchester rifle with a large ring that supposedly allowed him to fire off the first round in three-tenths of a second.
Connors played a lawyer named John Egan in the short-lived 1963 television series "Arrest and Trial," had a major role in "Cowboy in Africa" in 1967 and narrated 52 episodes of a syndicated documentary on stunts called "Thrill Seekers."
In Hollywood, he picked up occasional roles in films, and he formally changed careers in 1953 after the success of "Pat and Mike," in which he appeared with Spencer Tracy and Kathryn Hepburn in 1952.
He went on to make the films "Target Zero" in 1955, "Hold Back the Night" in 1956, "The Big Country" in 1958, "Geronimo" in 1962 and "Support Your Local Gunfighter" in 1971.
In addition to his half-dozen television series, Connors also appeared in well-received miniseries, including Alex Haley's "Roots" in 1977. He was nominated for an Emmy for his role as the lustful slave owner Tom Moore.
But Connors had no doubt he was best remembered for his "Rifleman" role.
"It's no problem at all for me," he said in 1983. "My whole ability to make a living is derived from the fact that I was 'The Rifleman.' "