Chuck Connors and the Cowboy Hall of Fame

The actor was inducted just before he passed away

Chuck Connors was, famously, quite the athlete. However, despite his sporting achievements, Connors was inducted as a member into a more unexpected Hall of Fame. Not the NFL or MLB, but the Cowboy Hall of Fame boasts Connors as one of its most esteemed inductees. The actor was inducted into the Oklahoma City facility in February of 1991 for his work on TV's The Rifleman.

The Cowboy Hall of Fame is one of the exhibits within the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in the Persimmon District of Oklahoma City. It is, reportedly, America's "premier institution of Western history, art, and culture." The attraction features three separate Halls of Fame. The first, the Hall of Great Westerners honors real cowboys of the American frontier. The Hall of Great Western Performers, of which Connors was an inductee, honored the "reel" cowboys of the American stage and screen. Finally. the Rodeo Hall of Fame "perpetuates and enriches facets of this Western heritage," according to the Museum's website.

When Connors was inducted in 1991, he was joined by fellow nominees James Drury and Former U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater. Drury was famous for starring in the TV series The Virginian, in which he played the title role. Drury also appeared in cinematic Westerns like Ride the High Country. Goldwater, of Scottsdale, Arizona, was also a historian of Western lore and was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners for his time and work spent with Navajo and Hopi Native American reservations. 

Luckily for Western fans everywhere, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum gave Chuck Connors his flowers while he could still smell them. Too often, we lose the people who painted our dreams before we can thank them. At 71, Connors was able to accept his rightful place in this monument to the American West and the cowboys who brought it to life. 

Chuck Connors passed away less than a year after the ceremony. The Hall of Fame induction was one of the actor's final public appearances before succumbing to lung cancer just a few months later. 

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GTStang08 7 months ago
The Rifleman is long overdue for a remake of this classic series. I don't want another TV series though, as no one can replace the personas of Lucas and Mark McCain. I would like to see a movie, but it would have to be detailed with purely talented actors/actresses. Start from the beginning when Mark was a little lad and let them progress to where he was a teenager. This time, have Mark actually firing his rifle helping to stave off outlaws who try to harm them. The townsfolk, bring them all back, of course Micah, Miss Hattie, Doc (in the style of Edgar Buchanan), Sweeney, Nils, John Hamilton, & Eddie. I would have Lucas to have wed Milly somewhere early in the movie. I would even include Jeffrey (remember, played by Billy Hughes Jr.) to be a close friend of Mark. I don't want to see today's "popular actors", I would want talented actors who also resemble the original crew of The Rifleman. It might take some time, but it can be done.
sistervic 8 months ago
The Rifleman is one of my favorites, and I am so glad Gun Smoke is in black and white now, been watching him on that program since the first series, I love black and white programs. Thank you all, and God bless each of you.
Avie sistervic 8 months ago
"Gunsmoke," one word. And 226 of "Gunsmoke"s episodes are in color.
tadlem Avie 8 months ago
And from 1955 to 1966, they were black and white. What's your deal?
Steve2021 8 months ago
Chuck was a legend. No one will ever replace the Rifleman....
Mirramanee 8 months ago
Well deserved accolade for Mr. Connors. I liked how he could portray the character of Lucas McCain as a rough and tough man yet still hugged and kissed his son and treated him with open affection both publicly and privately (on screen). I thought that was particularly unique for the so-called "western" imagery of that era.
tootsieg 8 months ago
Well deserved award. So nice CC could accept before he passed.
Andybandit 8 months ago
Good for him, for getting inducted in the CHOF. TRM is my favorite western.
Runeshaper 8 months ago
WOW! I'm so glad that Chuck Connors was inducted while he was still alive. He'll live forever on screen and in the Cowboy Hall of Fame. Thanks for sharing, MeTV!
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