Chuck Connors was told that he ''didn't have a chance'' of winning the role of Lucas McCain in ''The Rifleman''

How Connors' experience as a baseball player prepared him for the audition of a lifetime.

Credit: Peter Rodgers Organization

Everyone loves a good underdog story. While victory on its own is very sweet to enjoy, it's all the better knowing that someone gave it their all and climbed their way from the bottom to end up on top.

As a baseball player turned actor, it can be difficult to view someone like Chuck Connors as someone trying to achieve something with odds stacked against them. However, according to an interview with The Tennessean, Connors revealed that one of the most pivotal moments in his life began in a situation where the odds of victory seemed very slim.

Today, Connors is best known as Lucas McCain in The Rifleman, but according to him, he didn't actually believe he had a shot at the role. In the interview, Connors confessed that "I was told I didn't have a chance. They'd seen about forty actors."

Strangely enough, it wasn't Connors' acting abilities that helped him land the part; It was his baseball skills. Seeing as the show is called The Rifleman, the audition for the role of Lucas McCain had one very interesting test for the actors trying out, and it didn't have anything to do with reading lines or rehearsing scenes; the auditioners were tossed a rifle at random.

Connors said, "They had a pretty unique audition. As soon as you opened the door they threw a rifle at you with no warning. A lot of guys dropped the gun."

While Connors didn't necessarily know his way around a rifle, he definitely had a lot of experience with something similar; a bat.

He passed the audition test with flying colors, and commented, "I just grabbed it like it was a baseball bat." It seemed that despite the large number of fellow actors auditioning, it was Connors' quick thinking and reflexes that eventually won him the role.

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McGillahooala 1 month ago
Hollywood types are nuts. Sounds like Chuck benefited from being interviewed by a bunch of kooks. He was a great actor. Seems they found the right guy despite their nonsense.
Runeshaper 1 month ago
Great story, MeTV! Thanks for sharing and nice catch, Chuck! (-:
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