The Western drama radio and television series Gunsmoke was directed by Norman Macdonnell and written by John Meston. The American West’s settlement in the 1870s takes place in and around Dodge City, Kansas. The main character is Marshal Matt Dillon, who is portrayed by William Conrad on the radio and James Arness on television. In the UK, the television show was first known as Gun Law before being renamed Gunsmoke.
One of the most-watched television programs of all time is still Gunsmoke. Long-time viewers strongly identified with at least one character they labeled their favorite, proving the cast’s contagiousness. One would imagine that the cast made quite the fortune starring on such a wildly successful television show, especially those who starred on it for its entire 20-season run. The Gunsmoke star with the highest net worth actually didn’t stick around for so long.
Gunsmoke Cast Net Worth
James Arness, Amanda Blake, Milburn Stone, Dennis Weaver, Burt Reynolds, Ken Curtis, and Buck Taylor made up the majority of the show’s recurring cast. They all stayed on the show for varied lengths of time, though. Starting with season 1, the original cast was reduced to just Arness, Blake, Stone, and Weaver.
Dennis Weaver had the largest net worth of the Gunsmoke cast members at the time of his death in 2006, it turned out. Even though he permanently left the program after season 9 to pursue jobs apart from Chester Goode, his Celebrity Net Worth put him at $16 million.
James Arness, who played Matt Dillon for all 20 seasons of the program, had the second-highest Gunsmoke net worth. When he passed away in 2011, he had an $8 million net worth. He even made a comeback for five made-for-TV movies that added to the history of the program.
Ken Curtis, who portrayed Festus Haggen, and Taylor, who portrayed Newly O’Brian, really tied for the next position. Both Ken Curtis’ Net Worth and Buck Taylor’s Net Worth reported that their respective net worths at the time of Curtis’ death in 1991 and Taylor’s current stats were $5 million.
Burt Reynolds‘ was revealed that, at the time of his passing in 2018, he had a $3 million net worth. In seasons 8 through 10 of Gunsmoke, he portrayed Quint Asper. The following Gunsmoke net worth figures below seem to decline, but there is a conversion to take into consideration.
Actor Milburn Stone, who played Doc Adams, had a net worth of just $600,000 at the time of his passing in 1980. In today’s money, that is a total of $2.1 million. He was the only actor to appear in all 20 seasons, aside from Arness.
Amanda Blake‘s wealth, however, was barely $500,000 when she passed away in 1989. That converts to about $1.2 million in today’s money. Blake remained on Gunsmoke for the first 19 seasons and then returned for the first made-for-TV movie.
Gunsmoke Radio show (1952–1961)
William S. Paley, the chairman of CBS and a fan of the Philip Marlowe radio series, pushed Hubell Robinson, the programming manager, to develop a hardboiled Western series about a “Philip Marlowe of the Old West” in the late 1940s. Harry Ackerman, the West Coast Vice President of CBS who had developed the Philip Marlowe series, was given the task by Robinson.
Mark Dillon Goes to Gouge Eye” was an audition piece that Ackerman and his scriptwriters Mort Fine and David Friedkin created based on one of their mid-1948 Michael Shayne radio episodes, “The Case of the Crooked Wheel.” There were two copies that were recorded.
The first, which was recorded in June 1949 and starred Straight Arrow actor Howard Culver in a more Western, lighter version of the same screenplay, was very much like a hardboiled detective series, with Michael Rye (billed as Rye Billsbury) as Dillon. Ackerman received permission because CBS preferred the Culver version.
Culver’s contract as the star of Straight Arrow, however, prohibited him from appearing in any other Western series, therefore there was a problem. The idea was shelved for three years until being rediscovered by producer Norman Macdonnell and writer John Meston as they were developing their own adult Western series.