Any Gunsmoke Actors Still Alive?

The TV series Gunsmoke aired for 20 years from 1955 to 1975 which is pretty incredible. Most of the original cast members have passed on including James Arness who played marshal Matt Dillon who died at the age of 88. But a few cast members are still around:

Buck Taylor

Buck Taylor

Buck Taylor Then

Buck Taylor 3

Buck Taylor Now

Buck Taylor played Newly  O’Brien for 8 episodes and 13 seasons from 1967-1975. He was born on May 13, 1938 in Hollywood Ca. and currently resides on a ranch outside Fort Worth, Texas. Before becoming a regular cast member, he was on several episodes as a “bad guy”. However, his character afterwards was definitely a “good guy”. He liked Gunsmoke so much that he named two of his sons Mathew Taylor and Cooper Glen Taylor after Matt Dillon and Glenn Strange who played the bartender for many years before dying of lung cancer.

These days, Taylor is known for his paintings. They are mostly Western paintings and include a portrait of James Arness.

Burt Reynolds

Burt Reynolds

Burt Reynolds Then

Burt Reynolds

Burt Reynolds Now

Most of us remember Burt Reynolds for his roles in Smokey and the Bandit, Deliverance, White Lightning, Gator, All Dogs Go To Heaven, The Longest Yard and Boogie Nights. However, he did have a role on Gunsmoke from 1962 to 1965. He played Quint Asper who was a blacksmith and part native American. He sometimes assisted marshal Matt Dillon in solving crimes.

Reynolds was born on February 11, 1936 in Lansing, Michigan. His family moved to Rivieria Beach, Florida where his father became the Chief of Police. Reynolds played high school football and was named first team all state. He received a scholarship to play football at Florida State University.

Roger Ewing

Roger Ewing

Roger Ewing Then

Roger Ewing

Roger Ewing Now

Roger Ewing was born on January 2, 1942 in Los Angeles, CA. He appeared in 36 episodes of Gunsmoke from 1965 to 1967. His character was Clayton Thaddeus “Thad” Greenwood, a part time deputy to marshal Matt Dillon.  Interestingly, his character was superseded by Buck Taylor (above).

He appeared in a number of TV and movie roles including Bewitched, The Bing Crosby Show and the WWII film None But the Brave.

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Comments

  1. Rebecca Villegas says:

    My husband and I enjoy watching Gunsmoke reruns.Do any of you go to Kanab,Utah for western days in August? It sure would be nice to meet you. Thank you.

    • Michael Richardson says:

      I belong to a Gunsmoke fan club. We have over 300 members right now. You can ask questions of other members and read the post of other fans. We have a cast member that reads our board. Roger Ewing who played Thad Greenwood visits our board on a regular basis. Its free to join.
      http://gunsmokegang.proboards.com/

      • Thanks for the tip, Michael. That’s a very cool site.

      • Angela Mundy says:

        I am a huge Gunsmoke fan and at least two episodes are shown in my part of the UK every day. I have recently seen Ken Curtis (Festus) on Youtube singing Tumbling Tumbleweed. He had the loveliest voice, very unlike his Festus voice. Sadly he died in 1979 aged 74 I believe.

        • Glad to hear you are able to watch Gunsmoke in the UK. You can hear Festus sing and talk here: http://gunsmoketv.org/festus/

        • Carol Jarvis says:

          I just read that Mr. Curtis actually passed in 1991 at age 75.

        • Dan Pardue says:

          Nice Post…….I remember oh how well all the years Gunsmoke came on Saturday nights at 8:pm CST and life seem to evolve around that. One of the interesting sidenotes about Ken Curtis is that he was Frank Sinatra’s replacement singer in the Tommy Dorsey Band when Frank left….that speaks volumes and also his time with the Sons of the Pioneers…..one of my great joys in watching the reruns (since I remember the episodes) is watching all of the talent that came through there on their own way to stardom. It is a reminder unlike today’s so called TV….that evil does not win….that there are still good people in the world…..and also how the world has de-evolved.

          • Good information – thanks for posting! I watched Gunsmoke with my Grandfather. In the opening scene where Matt draws his pistol to shoot a bad guy, my Grandfather would always say that he was pointing his gun at the ground. Doesn’t look that way to me today.

      • Theresa Sharp says:

        My husband has downloaded alot of the Gunsmoke episodes on the computer. We started with the very first episode in 1955 with John Wayne introducing the new western. After 5 months, we’re now in season 7(still in black & white and before we were born). They are such good shows. My stepson’s teacher was surprised that he had actually seen the show and said the intro….”Gunsmoke….starring James Arness as Matt Dillon” and sounded like it. He’s probably the only 17 year old kid that watches the show with his parents…LOL :)

      • Roy & Carol Stone says:

        We would like to join your Gunsmoke club, we have watched the originals growing and everyday since.
        We are in our 60’s & 70’s.
        Thank you.

      • Janet Nazer says:

        I too love to watch Gunsmoke. I met Buck Taylor in 1992–very nice man, very cordial and accomadating. got my picture taken with him, and as my niece was with me at the time, she too was in the pictures.

        • Cool!

        • Russell Allison says:

          Buck Taylor was at a local gas station here in Wichita Falls this week. He was delivering a large painting to the owner. He signed autographs and took pictures with some of the customers.

          • Johnny harrison says:

            Russell Allison 2 this day I know where buck Taylor ranch is in Texas, I want 2 meet him in 2015, Ian a big fan of gunsmoke grew up watching with my grandparents, down the road from his place I work on a ranch for 22 yrs Ian Chickasaw-Seminole Indian newly is getting up in his age and want 2 meet him soon, go by his place and see him and thank him for well done Cowboying:)

          • He’s at the fort with stock show ever year he does the theme portraits.

    • We watch Gun Smoke every day. Keith records every episode that is shown on a couple of channels. We have watched over and over but love the show so much we don’t care how many times we have seen them. We see different things in each show. I wish they would produce other shows like this. It is such a favorite of so many people.

  2. Russell Allison says:

    I have the painting He Kept A Lid on Dodge. I bought it at an MD auction in Wichita Falls. I also bought James Arness’ autographed autobiography. I grew up watching Gunsmoke and watch it to this day. There’ll never be another western like it. It keeps the old west alive.

    • I agree. I watch Gunsmoke reruns almost every night. It’s a sad commentary on the shows of today when a TV series that aired over 30 years ago can still attract viewers.

      • Wow ! I agree with u guys , i started watching gunsmoke last year here in england n i havnt missd one episode so far, i love western films ,gunsmoke is amaziiing,lv all caracters but my favorite got to b festus .

    • Michael Richardson says:

      I have a similar signed photo that James sent me as a prize to a poetry contest he had for his 86th birthday. I also have the autographed autobiography. I have many Roger Ewing “Thad” photos as well. And last summer I was happy to meet Buck Taylor, so I have several photos and prints that he signed for me. I am friends with Roger Ewing, and just got back from visiting him in California last month. We chat about once a week via email and He will be attending the 60th Gunsmoke reunion in Sept 2015. The Gunsmoke fan board will have details about where and the exact day as the date gets closer. Its free to join this board, and we have over 300 members now. http://gunsmokegang.proboards.com/

  3. Gunsmoke is simpily the best tv show of all time don’t fully understand why they wont make new shows like Gunsmoke andy griffin show ECT there is obvisley still a big market for shows like that or the reruns would not be shown as much as they are

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  5. Ralph Westenberger says:

    Gunsmoke is a wonderful show. Festus is my favorite followed by Doc and Matt. Have you noticed Matt sure gets shot a lot. I wonder how many time he has been hurt during the run of the show?

    • Poor Matt, thank goodness that Doc is around to patch him up.

      James Arness was actually injured in WW II. The leg that was injured apparently bothered him the rest of his life. If you look closely, there are times when he struggles mounting his horse.

  6. I still look at Gunsmoke every day

  7. I think Buck Taylor was a great addition to the show . He was such a good guy and always shocked when I saw him play bad guy roles . It just didn’t seem to fit . I am glad he is still around .

  8. Cathy brown says:

    My partner and I have just started watching here in Northern Ireland in the last year we love it !!!! If I’m lying I’m dying

  9. Carol Jarvis says:

    My hubby and I watch Gunsmoke on Encore Western channel every day. We also love Cheyenne starring Clint Walker. They don’t make shows like those any more. :(

  10. Darlene Barber says:

    I love watching these old shows. On Gunsmoke, Fetus is my favorite. When I was small and watching as a child, I wanted to be Miss Kitty when I grew up! Lol. I adore Bonanza, the Rifleman, Big Valley, and all the rest as well. I am so glad they are on. On a recent trip to Ireland, I was surprised when I flipped on the TV to find an episode of Bonanza on!

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  12. I met a man in Lincoln, NE. who I found out played the blacksmith on Gunsmoke. Am trying to find his name. I wasn’t introduced to him and do not know his real name. Can anyone post a list of the actors who played the blacksmith?

    • He’s at the fort with stock show ever year he does the theme portraits.
      Burt Reynolds

      • I’m sorry my post didn’t do right I mean Buck Taylor I’d st the Fort Worth Stock show every year he does the theme portraits.

  13. I watch Gunsmoke every day. I have seen most of the episodes about 3 or 4 times. I worked for a guy named Jason Day for several years who was married to Amana Blake at one time. Would sure like to meet Buck Taylor some day. Going to check out the fan club now.

    • Wow – married to Amanda Blake? She was one sexy and beautiful lady.

      • I watched Gunsmoke as a little girl every week! I wanted to be Miss Kitty when I grew up. She was a smart, strong independent character for sure. Amanda Blake was so beautiful!
        I am glad to be able to re-watch it today.

  14. Just watched the episode of Jake MacGraw played by J.D. Cannon. It had him playing the old honky tonk type music on the piano and I was wondering if he really did play it?

  15. I have always liked gunsmoke ever since I was a little kid especially buck Taylor as newly. It’s kinda weird buck Taylor was born may 13th and I was born may 16th 1957 that’s pretty awesome! Don’t matter to me that he was born in 1938! We were born in the month of May! I would love to hear from him! Or maybe a picture! ! Thanks mindy

  16. My step grandfather looked like Ken Curtis

  17. My husband and i get an awfull lot of pleasure and relaxation from gunsmoke we record and watch it every evening .

    • We do also. It is amazing that a series that went off the air 39 years ago can still be so popular today,

      • I watch at least 3 episodes of Gunsmoke every day. In fact I’m watching one now as I write this. I have 60 episodes recorded at this time. I love this show.

  18. We were born after Gunsmoke went off television — probably like a lot of others on this site, but we love the show. Although there are a few TV shows from nowadays that we also enjoy, there is nothing at all like Gunsmoke. We wonder why that is and hope that some creative television writer and producer peeks in at this site and realizes that there is indeed still a market for this kind of programming.

  19. We met Mr. Buck Taylor at a meet and greet here in Dodge City, about two weeks ago. He is the new spokesman for Boothill Casino. Lovely man. Told us how much he loved coming back from time to time.
    They all, Matt, Kitty, Doc, Festus used to show up here for photo ops and meet and greets. I was younger and not very appreciative of the show so never bothered to go. Saddens my heart now, as I rarely remember a time going into my grandparents home and not finding grandpa watching Gunsmoke. Was SO thankful and delighted I took the opportunity to meet Mr. Taylor.

  20. Michael Morris says:

    I was 12 years old in 1955 when Gunsmoke first started and I was 32 in 1975 when it ended.
    I personally believe that Gunsmoke was one of best shows ever on TV. It’s to bad we don’t have shows like Gunsmoke today. It’s kind of special to know that I didn’t have to watch reruns of Gunsmoke I saw most of the episodes there first time on TV.
    It’s nice to know so many people enjoy this special western.

  21. bob temple says:

    Gunsmoke was shown over here in England on Friday nights originally. Towards the end of its run it was switched to Saturday tea time (tea time is around 5.00 here in England). I was born in 1956 so I grew up surrounded by western TV shows. I still can’t resist them today, unfortunately I live with two philistines, my wife and daughter who groan every time the introduction of a western starts. Television in England was a strange thing in the fifties and sixties and the powers that be would only allow certain things to be shown. As a result a lot of US programmes which I now know were considered essential viewing to the American public were never seen over here until the advent of the internet. Luckily westerns were considered good family entertainment and so I practically grew up in the saddle. Maverick, Cheyenne and Bonanza along with Gunsmoke were considered essential viewing in our house. Recently I have managed to watch the Honeymooners on the net but I remain a complete pushover for any cowboy show

  22. Syd Thomason says:

    Please correct me if I’m wrong but was’nt ‘Gunsmoke’ originately named ‘Gunlaw’ and if so, why was it changed?

  23. Virginia says:

    I absolutely love Gunsmoke and all the folks that have a part in this tv series. I watch it every weekday and also have a set of DVD’s. My question is how did the cast member’s get along, with each other, away from the set? I wondered if they were close as friends and considered themselves as “family” in real life like they played on Gunsmoke.
    I did read an interview several years ago and I got the impression from James Arness that his character on the tv series and his character in real life were quite alike. Thank you.

    • I cannot speak for the entire cast but I did read about someone who visited James Arness in his home. He said that he was very friendly and down to earth. You may want to consider getting the book “James Arness: An Autobiography” were he talks about other cast members and other things.

  24. Michael Richardson says:

    The picture is now correct. Thanks for changing it to the one I sent to you.
    Michael

  25. Michael – no problem. Thanks for pointing out the error.

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