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Born in Brooklyn with Pride: Chuck Connors

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I was truly surprised to learn that Chuck Connors who was born Kevin Connors to Irish immigrant parents was born in Brooklyn in 1921.

My 1st cousin Provie's father Joe played sandlot baseball with Connors in Brooklyn. The 6 foot 6 inch Connors went on to win an athletic scholarship to Seton Hall University in New Jersey where he played both Baseball and Basketball.

Connors served in the U.S. Army during WW11. He was a Tank-Warfare Instructor at Forth Campbell (Kentucky) and later on at West Point in New York.

Connors played briefly for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1949) in one game that is. For the Chicago Cubs in 1951, he played in 66 games, playing first base and was a pinch-hitter. In MLB he hit just 2 home runs and batted .238 lifetime. He played for the Boston Celtics from 1946-1948. Connors was the first NBA player who shattered a backboard.

It was at Seton Hall where he got the name, Chuck. As in Chuck me the ball while he played first base.

Connors film role in "Old Yeller" in 1957 led him to his claim to fame playing Lucas McCain on the hit TV Series "The Rifleman" which ran from 1958-1963. He is said to have beaten out 40 other actors for the role of Lucas McCain.

Connors' film and TV career lasted 40 years. He was also a star of another TV Series "Branded" which ran from 1965-1966. and appeared in one episode of "Adventures of Superman" as well as in episodes of "Wagon Train" and "Gunsmoke."

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He died in California at age 71 of Lung Cancer.

The famous Brooklyn-born list of people is long and includes Jackie Gleason, Moe and Curly Howard of The Three Stooges, Danny Kaye, Jerry Seinfeld, Tony Danza, Anne Hathaway, Larry King, Vince Lombardi, Vinnie Testaverde, Sandy Koufax, Phil Rizzuto, Tommy Davis, Connie Hawkins, Chris Mullins, Carmelo Anthony, Mike Tyson, Michael Jordan, and Dr. Anthony Fauci to name some.

Though I was a proud Manhattan resident for 12 years, I was equally as proud to say I was born in Brooklyn. I lived in Brooklyn for the first seven years of my life in the Avenue J section near Brooklyn College and later in Sunset Park (53rd St. & 6th Avenue).

I attended PS 94 and remember as a kid going to Sunset Park with my mother and little cousins to cool off in their large water sprinkler version of a pool. It was how- we city kids survived the hot summers. As a teenager, I spent three enjoyable summers at my uncle's house in Gerritsen Beach. As an adult, I worked at the Brooklyn Army Terminal for three years as a marketing manager for a music company.

No matter who I meet or work with, there’s never any hesitation when asked; Where were you born? I say Brooklyn with pride.

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