Ken Curtis

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Ken Curtis

Born

7/2/1916, Lamar, Colorado

Died

4/28/1991

Birth Name

Curtis Wain Gates

Gender

Male
9.2
out of 10
User Rating
25 votes

Biography

EDIT
Ken Curtis was the son of Las Animas Sheriff Dan Gates and his wife,Nelly. They lived on the second story of the jailhouse. Foreshadowing his role of Festus on Gunsmoke, Ken acted as deputy during his father's abscence. He attended college, where he studied medicine. However he gave…more

Credits

Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Ken went to school to be a doctor, but gave that career up to pursue his singing career.

    • This is the farewell letter that Ken wrote before he died:

      If there are to be prayers said for me, let them be said in the hearts of my friends and those whose lives I may have touched during my lifetime - by all means let there be no sadness or grief - I want my family and friends to remember only the happy times we were together, my attributes (if any) and try to overlook all of my faults - (That should keep you busy until the time we all meet up again!!)

      Ken Curtis

    • Ken joined father-in-law John Ford in at least 7 films.

    • Ken joined fellow actor John Wayne in at least 6 films.

    • Ken produced the movies: The Killer Shrews and The Giant Gila Monster.

    • Ken was inducted (as a cast member of Gunsmoke) into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1981.

    • Ken was the son-in-law of director John Ford.

    • Ken introduced the western standard, "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" to movie audiences.

    • Ken's parents were: Dan and Nellie Gates.

    • Ken grew up in Las Animas, Colorado where his father, Dan Gates, was sheriff.

    • Ken was 6' tall.

  • Quotes

    • Ken Curtis: I wouldn't care if they tattoo 'Festus' all over. He's been good to me.

    • Ken (On acting): We're just doing a job, like a bookkeeper in a bank, except people watch us.

    • Ken: I'd stop in the middle of a gunfight and sing a song.

    • Gunsmoke producer Norman MacDonnell: The mail on Festus is either absolutely white or absolutely black. Some people say they can't stand him. Others say they like him better than Chester. They either love him or they hate him – but 90 percent say they love him.

    • Ken: In my opinion it's an actors duty to walk into the first rehearsal with a well defined character – then it's up to the director to shade or change the character to fit into the overall picture or play.

    • James Arness: Did I know Ken Curtis well? Oh my, yes. Ken was one of the sweetest and kindest men I know. He was always so friendly to everyone on the set. He was sorta the ambassador on the set, greeting everyone.

    • Ken: I'm really proud of Gunsmoke. We put on a good show every week, one that families could all watch together without offending anyone.

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