Did James Arness and Amanda Blake Have a Relationship?

There is no evidence that James Arness and Amanda Blake had an off screen affair.  Amanda Blake had five husbands the last of which was bisexual and was thought to have given her AIDS from which she died at age 60.


On screen, Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty never officially had a serious relationship. But many people used their imaginations to create one. Here is James Arness discussing their roles:

As for Amanda Blake, here is her discussion of Miss Kitty and Matt:

So, it shall remain a mystery but we can all fantasize and make up our own story!

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Comments

  1. William Myles says:

    James Arnest and Amanda Blake were the mystics of Gunsmoke, how ever the other actors were doing a fine job. Just to mention, Ken Kurtis, Buck Taylor and Milburn Stone. With out these guys, gunsmoke would not last so long. Kitty, Kitty, man, she meant everything to the feelings of loyalty, honesty and wisdom to gunsmoke she gave it the feelings God would deliver to his own for them to continue correctly in to life. It was a pain full scenery of her life,that made kitty, in real life had to fall in to such a sickness. And what a way to go? This make me very sad.. You wonder, why should we not be very concerned of one another and truly live to make each other happy.

    • William Myles says:

      James Arness and Amanda Blake were the mystics of Gunsmoke, how ever the other actors were doing a fine job. Just to mention, Ken Kurtis, Buck Taylor and Milburn Stone. With out these guys, gunsmoke would not last so long. Kitty, Kitty, man, she meant everything to the feelings of loyalty, honesty and wisdom to gunsmoke she gave it the feelings God would deliver to his own for them to continue correctly in to life. It was a pain full scenery of her life,that made kitty, in real life had to fall in to such a sickness. And what a way to go? This make me very sad.. You wonder, why should we not be very concerned of one another and truly live to make each other happy.

      • Gunsmoke was so successful (20 years) because it was authentic and honest. The actors were great and the acting was great. I think only Bonanza had that kind of longevity in the Westerns. I watched it in high school and I watch it now over 50 years later, and I even appreciate the show more than I did then!

      • My father and I would watch gunsmoke together just us father and son, after each show my father would use the events of the storyline to allow me to understand the right and wrong and justice and loyalty to those that prevail. I still remember those times like it was yesterday, my father pasted away 1973 . Fond memories

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  3. Matt, Kitty, Fetus, Cester and Doc were simply great. Doc was the best western doctor ever on screen. he had an edge with humor.RIP Gunsmoke.

  4. Sara Vaughan Nichols says:

    Gunsmoke was the favorite show when I was growing up and still is at my age of 75! There was no profanity on tv in those days, and very little nudity. My, how times have changed – and not for the better. Profanity is so rampant in some movies that you lose the content of the story. It really isn’t necessary, well, maybe at times, but every other word?? Ridiculous! Thanks to those who bring us great movies without all the foul language and “love” making, which leaves nothing to the imagination.

    • Texas Trudi says:

      My husband and I are fairly young, 48 & 55, and we watched Gunsmoke as kids. Now, on Dish network, we’re able to relive the shows. You are so right, the show was clean, fun, and exciting! We enjoy it so much, we have begun to purchase all the episodes. The only shows we watch are old ones due to the decline of morality on tv. We are Christian people, and we don’t enjoy the filth on modern tv. We had an opportunity to go to Dodge City this fall, and it was so fun! We hope to return for the Gunsmoke festival in the summer. God bless you!

      • I am 71 and watched the when I was young and still do !!! Reruns are no problem , if you pay close attention you will see something that you had not seen before . Did any of you ever talk to James ( Matt ) on line ? I had that opportunity and took advantage of it !!!! Great show and I still enjoy it very much great comments so far !!!! Does anyone like Chester ??? Thanks , Ron

      • Gunsmoke was one of the best western movies ever made no foul talk on the show they all made it the best western movie ever made it was a clean movie . If u notice in the movies I never saw Matt Dillon kiss Amanda Blake I never thought they never had affair it was a clean movie . I am 73 years old still watch Gunsmoke on tv channel TV Land its on there everyday. Thank God we still have clean movies like Gunsmoke & Bonanaza etc. …

        • Wendy Ferguson says:

          I love Gunsmoke more than show on television and I am sure that I have seen every season at least twice. There were several episodes in which it was said that Miss Kitty was the marshal’s woman. Miss Kitty was seen entertaining Matt in her boudoir on a few occasions and she even left town a couple of times because she told Matt that she was tired of waiting around for him to ask her to marry him. In the episode that I watched today, Miss Kitty told a woman (Season 10 Ep 32) that Matt was more hers than anybody else’s. Matt and Kitty were definitely in love. All you had to do was observe the glances and interaction between them.

          • Thanks, Wendy. I think we would all want to believe that.

          • Carolyn Hammond says:

            My husband is 85 years old I am 81 we watch Gunsmoke Monday through Saturday at 1:00 PM we like the show. All the actors are very good.

        • The best western ever they couldn’t pick better characters then was on the show!!! great stars James, Amanda, Ken ,Wilber i still love that show watch it everyday on tv land hope it never stops i am 75 and watched it from the early sixties great crafted screen play ,,know wonder it lasted so long great producer

    • Mike Cohen says:

      I agree. Acting greats like Charleston Heston come to mind.
      James Arness was a fantastic actor. He earned his stripes the hard way.He worked for them. The cast was great. But, my curiosity is pricked. I
      wonder what went on in his personal life. I know it’s irrevelant but I still wonder

      • PADRE GREG says:

        Was devoted to his family and often got together with his brother. Many weekends, The two “giants” would bring some of their kids down to PaliHi to play basketball. Twice I was asked to join (to even out their teams)
        First time, I was too nervous. Second Time – I had a blast !!
        /s/ Padre Greg PaliHi Class of 65

      • Aynne Ames says:

        Well, I’m not sure that racism and slaughtering people is all that “Christian” and moral but I agree it was a terrific show with fine acting and fun humor.
        As typical of the time, rarely were actual Indians playing in the roles of Indians or Mexican’s playing Mexicans but Marshall Dillon always made a point out of being fair and the writers did a really fine job of fairness, especially considering the era they were writing for.
        I do find it odd that people question whether or not Kitty and Matt were partners. How many times did he have to save her, she had to agree she was “His woman” or did they sneak off upstairs before people would believe they were lovers? But thank heaven, no one needed to show all the calisthenics then, which take most of the romance and all of the imagination our of it for the viewer.
        I watch two hours in the morning one hour in the afternoon and two hours late night, if I can. I only watch the black and whites as Matt and Kitty just look sad and old in the color ones.
        I love the “who is that star” game where we spot the likes of Jodi Foster, Jon Voight, Tom Skerrit, Angie Dickinson (playing an Indian!!??) in their youth and of course the wonderful combination of Bruce Dern, Harry Dean Stanton and Warren Oates showing up, often together, and never up to anything good. We need a revival of a show like this without the nudity, vulgarity and politics. Just ONE America? Surely we can stand ONE good drama such as Dwontown Abbey made it this country? Even the cartoons are profane now. Geeze.

    • W.P. Maceri says:

      I agree, today’s entertainment industry is all about the shock value of using profanity. I think your right, it does distract from the main theme or plot. It makes me wonder if any of the films and the actors in them would have ever had acting careers if censorship had not been lifted to what it is today. So sad.

    • Steve Paxton says:

      I agree completely. I still watch Gunsmoke to this day. There was no denying the strong bond between Miss Kitty and Matt. However, through the many years on the air, Gunsmoke will remain one of top western show of all time.

  5. Laura Seidler says:

    There is no other show that keeps me totally interested like Gunsmoke – and my adoration for James Arness and the rest of the cast always keeps me interested and thoroughly involved. I love it! Always have and always will.

    Laura Seidler

  6. Mariana Vidal says:

    I totally agree with Sara, Gunsmoke was a delightful show because it was interesting, clean fun. The actors were superb in their respective characters. Mr. Milburn as Doc Adams was absolutely believable as the older country doctor, Mr. Curtis was incredibly talented as Festus and the memorable performances of James Arness and Miss Amanda Blake as Matt Dillon and Ms. Kitty Russell were etched in my memory for ever. Today’s shows are plagued with profanity and inpropriety of every kind. I constantly escape to older shows like Kung Fu, Ironside, Cannon, Mannix, Mission Imposible and so on. Thank God for those shows. Even Bonanza and the HIgh Chaparral were inteligent, clean, proper television shows.

  7. Jayne Hubbell says:

    I loved Gunsmoke. Watched my first show when I was 5 and my father brought our first tv into our home. I cried when I thought he was dead after the shootout on main street in Dodge City.
    My father told me he would be back on tv next week. Sure enough he was on the screen in Gunsmoke larger than life itself. What a wonderful actor and a wonderful show. Very clean cut.

  8. Arlene Miller says:

    love Gunsmoke, even today. Why did Amanda Blake leave the show? Thank you

    • Here is what I could find about why she left:

      She left Gunsmoke, tired of the role, with a few poignant remarks, ‘God, if I have to put on that damn bustle and those curls one more time, I’m gonna snap and then reasoned, nineteen years is a hell of long time for someone to be stuck behind a bar.’

      Gunsmoke went off the air the next year.

    • Amanda Blake got sick with the Aids virus’s and was Unable to finish I could be wrong about that! It was one of the BEST SHOWS OUT THERE!! No PROFANITY NO SEX!! I watch them everyday as I’m retired now and can watch GUNSMOKE on DIRECT TV on THE WESTERN CHANNEL 548 AND ON TVLAND CHANNEL 304 from 9:30-10:30 & 10:30-11:30!! Why don’t Directors nowadays get it that we DONT WANT TO HEAR ALL THAT PROFANITY AND SEX!! THAT DOESNT MAKE THE SHOW!! AMEN? Thankyou for all the Pleasure of the long lasting GUNSMOKE AND ALL THE CHARACTERS WHO PLAYED SUCH WONDERFUL ROLLS!!

      • You are not wrong about Amanda Blake. This was a tragic way to go and she was only 60 years old.

      • Jake Williams says:

        It also is on the MeTV network six days a week, check local listings for times in your area. MeTV. It plays all the older favorites like The Rifleman, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, The Big Valley, and others. Check it out. I’m 34 and used to watch these as a boy with my grandmother. The classics never get old. Thanks for letting me share.

        • I’m 41 and watch MeTV everyday, lol. I love Gunsmoke, Bonanaza, The Rifleman, Big Valley, and of course other oldies on MeTV! (Like C.H.I.P.S.)…..But Gunsmoke and Bonanaza are my favs!! I have Wikipedia all the actors and have learned quite a bit. Very interesting read!

  9. To bad they don’t make films like that any more. I am 67 an watched gun smoke all the time. Great to grow up then, because those days are gone for good. Miss u all.

  10. Tina Pickering says:

    My husband and I record Gunsmoke and watch it everyday even though we are in our late 60’s and 50’s. We are currently watching return to Gunsmoke. So we wanted to see how old the actors were and I never knew when miss kitty died or how. So sad. If I had known about Doc while my son was stationed in San Diego would have went to see his grave and home while there

  11. Laura Ravenscraft says:

    As a 54 year old woman, love the old shows I watched as a young girl. I watch reruns of Gunsmoke as often as able. I wish I would have been able to meet Amanda Blake before she passed since she did reside in my town for a bit.

    I agree with all of your posts. TV is not what it used to be, wondering if our society is breeding the violence & disrespect for all….

  12. Ruth Parkes says:

    Amanda Blake left the show after 19 years but was scheduled to come back on the show if it had returned for the 21st year, which we all know it did not return (our loss). Amanda did die of aids related in 1989. I had the privilege of seeing Miss Kitty, Chester and Doc at a Rodeo in 1961. I was 11 years old when Gunsmoke began airing and I can remember my family talking about each show the next morning at the breakfast table. I tape Gunsmoke every day so I can watch it when I want to. I never get tired of watching Gunsmoke. It has been one of the best shows on TV. They don’t make them like that any more. Everyone on the show was great. Milburn Stone who played Doc Adams said his grandpa was a real life doctor in Kansas going around to homes doctoring and that’s how he got some of his ideas of how to play a country doctor doing things in the way that his grandpa did. I believe that’s why he seemed like a real country doctor. He did a wonderful job of it. Hope Gunsmoke stays on the air for a long time.

  13. grandma5021 says:

    I agree with everybody, everyone was great in the show but the best parts were when Festus and Doc would get into their everyday arguments. We use Festus’ comebacks often at our house. Why he’s as smooth as the nose on a newborn calf.

  14. There are many new article online that scientists are finding out that the AIDS Virus is thought at this time to be possibly killing the lions, that African lions may carry it as well and a Feline version of it as a second type they carry was well. If Amanda owned them , or went some where to buy or see others of them , it may be from them to her as well.

    • No sorry. That doesn’t hold. It’s not passed that way, period. The cats have lentivirus, and a kind of HIV like but NOT HUMAN. Human HIV HUMAN Immunodeficiency. Virus!
      Better chance that she caught it from having sex with someone there.

      • Ms Kitty got Aids from her husband who was bisexual and she didnt know it.She was a classy lady

        • Miss Kitty & Matt and the entire cast are the best ever. I watched them when I was young and still watch today. I will never get tired of watching these beloved people. Just a Note: You can watch and hear Fetus sing on YouTube. Beautiful voice.

    • Amanda’s last husband was a bisexual man. She got it from him. Give the Africans a break, please. They have already taken enough from The Dotard.

  15. I am 89 and still watch it every day. Can’t take my after noon nap til I see Festus.

  16. Howdy,

    I have a website dedicated to the life and career of Amanda Blake. Thanks for checking us out.

    http://amandablakeforum.freeforums.net/

    • I loved Amanda Blake and the rest of the cast of gunsmoke. It truly is one of the top television shows of all time. It lasted so long because the acting and writing were the best on TV. Everyone’s love for gunsmoke will live forever. The theme song was also the best on TV.

  17. all those actors were professionals. I got to meet Buck Taylor in Branson Mo a few years ago. He is a very talented painter as well as a good actor and a really nice guy. He was very humble.

    • Barbara Brown says:

      For the last six years my daughter and I go to Branson (Silver Dollar City) to see Buck Taylor and see his art. He is a great artist and most of his art has to do with the western movies and TV show he was in. He is a very nice person and very interesting to talk with. This year a lot of his pictures had to do with Gun Smoke and the characters in the series. I have enjoyed the pictures that I have purchased and hope to go back next year!

  18. Miss Maggie says:

    Love love love Gunsmoke and Marshall Dillon. I’ve watched the show from the time it started until now, as a matter fact I’m watching a rerun right now, and I record every episode I can get my hands on.

    I hardly ever watch network TV because it’s filled with so much filth. That just detracts from the story.

    The cast of Gunsmoke felt like family. They cared about one another, and as a result the we cared about them. Half the fun of watching was wondering if Matt was ever going to kiss Kitty… I loved Matt and Kitty and I adored Chester and Doc.

    Today’s TV leaves nothing to the imagination. I’ve got a good imagination. I don’t need to see “everything ” on the screen.

    • Well said…

      • I watch Gunsmoke on Me-tv every day. For Christmas, my husband bought me the first 6 seasons and I watch 2 or 3 when I have time. I felt sorry for Chester having to deal with that stiff leg. I don’t know why he had it but I read someday it was his choice, and he regretted it after a while. I agree with everyone who likes the B&W episodes the best. I also watch Big Valley and Bonanza. Love those shows so much!!!

  19. Sandra Pantalione says:

    Gunsmoke is a wonderful show with great stars that deserve all the compliments they receive. James Arness made Matt a real person that we could all relate to. Thanks for allowing me the pleasure of watching the episides…was Buck his horses name? Did he belong to him and how many years was he on the show.? Thanks

  20. Hello Gunsmoke Fans,
    This is a fine blog. I enjoyed reading your comments.
    I would like to say that the reasons Amanda left GS were researched and written in her biography by Mrs Burgoyne. It is titled “Perfectly Amanda”.
    Also, if you are a great fan of Amanda Blake, I have a free website all about her life and career. Here is the link. amandablakeforum.freeforums.net You must register and verify to see all the topics. Thanks, Bev

    • Hi Bev – thanks for the heads up on your forum. I am very much interested in Amanda Blake. By the way, are you related?

  21. I love Gunsmoke!
    We watch it every day and then Saturday mornings – my favorite!
    So refreshing to watch a ‘clean’ show where the star characters have a sense of morality!
    I can – and do – watch the episodes over and over –
    ….hope it stays on forever!

  22. Useful info. Lucky me I found your web site accidentally, and I am stunned why this coincidence didn’t happened in advance!
    I bookmarked it.

  23. To say there is no evidence that James and Amanda had an off screen relationship is to totally ignore plain old public facts. The two were on a show together before Gunsmoke. They started their affair then. During that time and the years on Gunsmoke they were caught many many times having sex. It was an open joke and an open secret. His first wife committed suicide over it after their divorce. It takes only casual Googling to find out all about it.

  24. Mash was a great show and ran for 11 years but it never compared to gun smoke…
    I’m 60 and still watch gun smoke religiously…
    RIP my friends..!!

  25. John Martin says:

    If anyone is reading this far down… It’s clear from early episodes, Matt/Kitty had sexual and (largely) exclusive relationship. She wanted marriage (it would have ruined the show); he can’t commit to both job and wife. I read way back when, somebody from show said that a love scene would have been most watched show in TV history, but where to go from there? Still I’m sorry they never shot the love scene (followed by him refusing to marry her, and her leaving the show) but it’s fun to imagine it.

  26. Andrea I. says:

    Millennial here and I must say, I have always preferred classic tv and movies to the modern stuff. My grandfather sort of influenced me with his John Wayne movies, but I really started my appreciation with TCM, I loved that there were no commercials and came to find the story lines that I recognized in modern culture in their original format and enjoyed them more than their modern counterparts…then I was exposed to Bonanza and Gunsmoke on TV land and I was hooked. Everything was so vibrant in the 60’s, for all of the graphics and ultra hd technology I still prefer things made in technicolor, its just a better format. As for Gunsmoke, I’m glad that Arness in real life seemed like an upstanding person like the character he plays, though too bad for Amanda Blake that they didn’t have an affair, she could’ve used an upstanding guy rather than her fifth husband who was closeted and played around till he gave her HIV. I always got a kick out Arness’s character name, matt Dillon, being the same as a modern actors and would always imagine him in the role as a goof in my head. I was only familiar with the colored episodes on TV land and so I became familiar with Festus as the side kick first, I really like the dynamic between him and the dr and they’re sarcastic bouts were hilarious, here recently though they have been playing the earlier black and white episodes and I enjoy Chester as well. Anyway just wanted to pop in and give my perspective, not all of us millennials are age-dismissive uncultured bone heads lol.

  27. Gunsmoke was one of the best western movies ever made no foul talk on the show they all made it the best western movie ever made it was a clean movie . If u notice in the movies I never saw Matt Dillon kiss Amanda Blake I never thought they never had affair it was a clean movie . I am 73 years old still watch Gunsmoke on tv channel TV Land its on there everyday. Thank God we still have clean movies like Gunsmoke & Bonanaza etc. …

  28. I can answer that no Amanda Blake and James Arness never had affair he loved his family too much Amanda Blake had a lot respect for her self . How can anyone think such a thing like this between two Great People on Gunsmoke .

  29. I have recently started watching Gunsmoke. I used to watch when I was in my teens. Now I DVR it and watch the episodes on my time. All the shows now on TV are garbage so I watch all the old shows. My husband says I live in the past. I told him that is where all the decent shows are. No swearing or nudity. You don’t need that to make a show. I watch all the old westerns and love them all.

  30. matt and kitty did love each other. There was an episode where Kitty was courted by a man who eventually asked her to go away with him. when it was time for the man to leave, Kitty went over to Matt and asked what he thought saying she can’t wait forever (for him). he basically said he understand. she knew that it as long as he was a marshall he was never going to marry her and that he planned to be a marshal for as long as he could.

  31. GI BLUES says:

    Gunsmoke was more than a great western TV series. It was a show with a wonderful moral compass that we all hungered for in our own lives, and for one hour each week, we were able to imagine due to the great acting and writing of this wonderful western series what we were all longing for in our every day life!

  32. James Horan says:

    Being 65, I never watched the first eleven years of shows as I was too young. I did see the last nine years of shows when the originally ran as they were in color and for years rewatched them when they were in syndication. The first eleven years of shows we’re in a vault for years. I am watching now on INSP and TV Land the best years of Gunsmoke; namely, Years 7 – 11. They are all one hour, in black and white and possess great story telling, primarily from the great writer, John Mestin. Some episodes leave you haunted after viewing and the story remains in your mind. That has never happened to me with any other show. The shows don’t always have happy endings. It’s real life. One such episode is “With A Smile.” Disturbing……but great writing. That is Gunsmoke.

  33. Barbara Almstead says:

    Like many of you, I watched GS as a kid and loved it. Recently I saw a rerun which spiked my interest. I bought 19 seasons! Amanda Blake left bc she and Mantley had a big fight on the set and she was fired–Mantley couldn’t stand strong-minded women. Amanda was very gracious by saying it was her decision to leave. My one wish is if Matt and Kitty just had 1 real kiss–no promise of marriage or future implications involved. That might have happened in Season 20! James Arness has said that M & K’s relationship was not platonic, so we have to imagine scenarios. If you pay close attention, there are a number of references of their love for one another especially in the later shows. “Hostage” comes to mind when Matt goes after the gang that has kidnapped and presumably raped Kitty. Doc implores him to follow the law, but Matt takes off his badge and says:”Anything but this.” He’s ready to fight to the death if necessary to avenge the rape. He tells Kitty he needs her and she tells Doc she couldn’t live without him. On any episodes where Kitty goes off angry at Matt, he either goes and brings her back or waits nervously for her return. In the episode when Claude Akins and Kitty have a trist, at the very end, Akins is killed and Kitty stammers: “Matt…I…” several times. He turns around and says “I know.” In my book that means he knows she loves him! Anybody else have some hints of their romance?

  34. Gunsmoke was the best tv western show ever, to me. It was a window into the past, wild, wild western times. Cowboys, saloons, gun fights, and ofcourse Matt Dillon the marshal. Yes, Gunsmoke will always be my window into the past! I think I would have done ok in those times!

    • Watching those episodes, you can almost feel like you were there. I think that is why Gunsmoke was so popular – it was very realistic.

  35. Watching Gunsmoke right NOW on INSP!
    Love this show so much!
    Great people and storyline.
    We could only hope there would be programs like this…made today. But that won’t happen! So glad we have reruns of Gunsmoke and all the Old Great Westerns!

  36. Barbara Almstead says:

    Calling the ladies–Since the producers refused to show any PDA (Public Display of Affection ) between Matt and Kitty for fear of “I Love Lucy in the West”, I have imagined my own scenarios between the two. I would love to hear if anyone else has made up any scenarios bc I’m running out of ideas!
    I like to imagine them in the early years as they were getting to know each other. One scenario is Kitty takes a ride in the country by herself and her horse breaks its leg in a gopher hole. She is left alone and cold in an abandoned shack. Matt finds her and the two spend the night wet and cold with Matt offering Kitty his blanket and a warm embrace. Nothing else happens but it is the start of some good things ahead!
    Add some stories of your own!

  37. I am 69 years old and I have been watching Gunsmoke since it came to TV. I am so happy to be able to continue to watch this wonderful show. It is so good to watch the actors working together and the shows were always wonderful. TV doesn’t offer much in this time, but I will always remember Gunsmoke as the best of the past and the future!!

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