Born Kevin Joseph Connors, April 10, 1921, in Brooklyn, NY; died of lung cancer, November 10, 1992, in Los Angeles, CA. Actor and professional athlete. Connors had a powerful physical presence that earned him rugged acting roles. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Connors played professional basketball withthe Boston Celtics and professional baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs. Better known for his on-field clowning than his athletic performances, Connors turned to acting in 1952. He landed the title role of a sharp-shooting New Mexico homesteader in the television series The Rifleman, which ran from 1958 to 1963, and later received an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of a slave owner in the miniseries Roots. He also starredin the series Arrest and Trial and Branded. Connors was politically active in conservative causes, and he had a well- publicized 1973 meeting with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, who greeted him with a bear hug. Connors, who won a Golden Globe Award in 1959, appeared in more than forty films,including Pat and Mike, Old Yeller, Big Country, and Airplane II: The Sequel.