Actor lining Connors, the fast-shooting Lucas McCain ~ above the long-running television series "The Rifleman," passed away Tuesday of lung cancer. He to be 71.

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Connors, who appeared in at least 28 movies, died in Cedars-Sinai Medical center a mainly after he was admitted, said hospital spokesman Ron Wise.

Born in Brooklyn, Connors play baseball v the Brooklyn Dodgers and also Chicago Cubs, as well as basketball because that two seasons with the Boston Celtics. He involved California when he join the old Los Angeles Angels minor league baseball team.

Better recognized for his feeling sideline antics than his baseball prowess, the 6-foot-5 Connors choose up acting functions in together movies as "Pat and also Mike" in 1952, "Target Zero" in 1954, "Hold back the Night" in 1956 and also "The large Country" in 1958.

But his job didn"t take it off till "The Rifleman" TV series, i m sorry ran native 1958 come 1963 and also was the top-rated new show its first season. Connors, playing a homesteader raising a son by himself, dealt with villains with the assist of a rapid-firing Winchester rifle. Johnny Crawford play his son.

In a 1983 associated Press interview, Connors stated he didn"t mind being remembered most for "The Rifleman."

"It"s no problem at all for me. My whole ability to make a living is acquired from the reality that ns was "The Rifleman," " the actor said.

Connors likewise starred together a defense attorney in the series "Arrest and Trial" in 1963-64 and as a former soldier falsely accused of cowardice in "Branded," 1965-66. His numerous TV guest-starring roles had the Emmy-nominated function as the lustful slave owner Tom Moore in the "Roots" miniseries.

He was in the TV movie "Banjo Hackett" in 1976, "Nightmare in Badham County" in 1976, "Standing Tall" in 1978 and also "The traveler Trap" in 1979. Other TV shows consisted of "Cowboy in Africa" 1967-68, "The Thrill Seekers" in 1973-74, "The Yellow Rose" in 1983-84 and also "Werewolf" in 1987-88.

Connors also appeared in the movies "South Sea Woman" in 1953, "Designing Woman" in 1957, "Geronimo" in 1962, "Move end Darling" in 1963, "Soylent Green" in 1972 and also "Airplane 2: The Sequel" in 1982.

A longtime girlfriend of former President Ronald Reagan, Connors once contemplated start politics. He chose not to, that said, "because indigenous being around so countless politicians, I became a little pessimistic about political leaders in general."

In 1973, Connors had an encounter v a human being leader. Throughout a party in ~ then-President Richard Nixon"s west White residence in mountain Clemente, Connors to be greeted through a bear hug native then-Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Connors gave Brezhnev two six-guns.

"My life is pretty great now," he said. "I"ve had my bumps follow me the way, personally. However I"ve gained a tremendous connection with my four sons, have 4 or five very an excellent friends and also a the majority of nice acquaintances, I have actually a pretty ranch, pretty great health, and I don"t ever have to occupational again."

In 1986, that underwent hip surgical procedure in Cedars-Sinai medical Center, yet he recovered and also kept one eight-acre ranch 100 miles north that Los Angeles until three years ago.

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"This was preventable. That"s the worst component about it, and probably the most frustrating," said the kid of the influential organization executive.