Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. ( Log Out /  The press conference never recovered. After all, she said, they’re both named Ken Curtis. Mercer invited him to make a guest … He was the son of a sheriff and worked on a jail farm as a boy. (In fact, we mentioned him in an earlier post about Fields.). Curtis brief time with Dorsey was mentioned in the November 26, 1941 issue of Variety: "Ken Curtis, singer, who recently made couple sides with Tommy Dorsey in place of Frank Sinatra, replaces Pat Foy with Shep Fields' band." The only drawback, said Curtis, is that he has to keep his beard. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Learn how and when to remove this template message, "Ken Curtis, actor, 74, Festus on 'Gunsmoke, "Ken Curtis appeared in a number of cheesy movies,", Michael Breid shares memories of being part of Ken Curtis' backup band for his stage show during the 1970s,, High school football players in the United States, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles needing additional references from April 2015, All articles needing additional references, Wikipedia articles with BIBSYS identifiers, Wikipedia articles with MusicBrainz identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SNAC-ID identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 27 October 2020, at 23:39. To easily peruse what Festus sings throughout Gunsmoke, look no further than the 1968 album, Gunsmoke’s Festus Sings ‘n Talks ’bout Dodge City ‘n Stuff. There's a section on Ken Curtis with many large images:, Teresa Murray has a Ken Curtis Appreciation website with a bio and photos. This proved rather fruitful for Curtis when, in 1941, he joined the Tommy Dorsey band. This proved rather fruitful for Curtis when, in 1941, he joined the Tommy Dorsey band. Even when he went to college to study medicine he continued to be active in campus musical activities, and in the late 1930s he left school for Hollywood to try for a singing career. A decade later, he returned to television in the short-lived Western series The Yellow Rose, in which he performed most of his scenes with Noah Beery, Jr.. He made his Hollywood debut in 1938 as a singer with swing bands. We’re going to spotlight the singing career of a guy who was better known as a Western actor. [9] He was cremated, and his ashes were scattered in the Colorado flatlands. Curtis said he was happy to be playing a comic relief character rather than a leading me. He made his Hollywood debut in 1938 as a singer with swing bands. Through his second marriage, Curtis was a son-in-law of film director John Ford. Ken Curtis (born Curtis Wain Gates, July 2, 1916 – April 28, 1991) was an American singer and actor best known for his role as Festus Haggen on the CBS western television series Gunsmoke. That was the era of the singing cowboy, though in many movies the definition of “cowboy” seemed to include anyone dressed like Roy Rogers. Growing up in Colorado as the son of a sheriff probably meant that young Curtis Wain Gates was exposed to a lot of cowboys, but every member of his family was musically inclined and he fit right in. Festus' character was known, in part, for the nasally, twangy, rural accent which Curtis developed for the role, but which did not reflect Curtis' actual voice. Curtis teamed with Ford and John Wayne in Rio Grande. In the Search box, select Songwriter/Composer and enter Curtis Ken. In that version “Doc” Adams was played by Howard McNear, whose best-known television role was a Floyd the barber on “The Andy Griffith Show.”). In any event, Curtis several movies with Guinn “Big Boy” Williams as his sidekick. Whatever Happened To Amanda Blake, Miss Kitty From ‘Gunsmoke’? Curtis enrolled at Colorado College in 1935 with plans to be a doctor. “Honestly,” he said, “I had never thought of acting until Columbia called me.”. He voiced Nutsy the vulture in Disney's 1973 animated film Robin Hood. Columbia Pictures signed Curtis to a contract in 1945. November 1, 2020, 9:00 pm. Roberts″ and ″Cheyenne Autumn.″ He also had roles in TV’s ″Rawhide,″ ″Perry Mason″ and ″Have Gun, Will Travel.″. And because he was a fixture on television in the same role for 21 years, many Americans came to regard him almost as a member of the family. But I really got interested in sky diving and if I were younger (he’s 48), I’d take it up as a hobby.”. Curtis also remained with Dorsey,, but only for three months during which he sang with Dorsey’s Hawaiian jazz group. Curtis also campaigned for Ronald Reagan in 1976, during the future President's attempt to secure the Republican nomination from incumbent Gerald Ford. “One day Hunter and I got to kidding,” said Curtis, “and I started talking in my dry land dialect.” (He explained that’s the way people talk in the area around Curtis’ hometown of Lamar, Colorado. Later, he appeared in Ripcord, a first-run syndicated action/adventure show about a company providing skydiving services, along with its leading star Larry Pennell. The date of his birth: May 4, 1904.). In 5 Steps to Danger (1957 film), he is uncredited as FBI Agent Jim Anderson. Curtis tucked the comic portrayal away in his bag of tricks and before he had a change to pull it out again he was approached to be a leading man in the “Ripcord” series with co-star Larry Pennell. Turned out Stone was a special favorite of her parents, which made the actor one of her idols, and she was reduced to tears. That continued even after he began to show up regularly on TV. FRESNO, Calif. (AP) _ Ken Curtis, a singer and actor who starred as Marshal Matt Dillon’s sidekick on the long-running television western ″Gunsmoke,″ has died at age 74. A few months later he heard Frank Sinatra was going to leave the Tommy Dorsey band. He’s 60, if you’re interested. Curtis also produced two extremely low-budget monster films in 1959, The Killer Shrews and The Giant Gila Monster. He starred in a series of musical Westerns[5] with the Hoosier Hot Shots, playing singing cowboy romantic leads. Change ). This major derailment made music his primary career even before acting. Although his progress was interrupted by his wartime service, Curtis spent much of the 1940s building a career that included a number of activities, including radio work and lots of film appearances in singing cowboy roles.

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