Ken Curtis Cause of Death: The Untold Chapter!

Ken Curtis was a well-known actor and singer best remembered for his performances in western films and television shows, particularly as Festus Haggen in Gunsmoke.

He was also a member of the Sons of the Pioneers, a prominent cowboy singing group. This article will talk about Ken Curtis cause of death and share some  facts about his career and personal life.

Ken Curtis Cause of Death

Ken Curtis, the renowned actor and singer, passed away on April 28, 1991, at the age of 74. The cause of his death was a heart attack, which occurred while he was attending a dinner party at a friend’s house in Fresno, California.

Despite his significant contributions to the entertainment industry, Ken Curtis’s life came to an end due to this sudden and unexpected cardiac event.

Following his death, he was cremated, and his ashes were later scattered over Colorado, marking the final chapter in the life of a talented and beloved figure.

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Ken Curtis’s Musical Evolution

Ken Curtis was born on July 2, 1916, in Lamar, Colorado, as Curtis Wain Gates. He grew up in a musical family and learnt to play the saxophone, clarinet, and guitar. He performed in church choirs and on local radio shows. Despite initially studying medicine at Colorado College, he quit to pursue a music career.

In the late 1930s, he moved to Hollywood and became a singer with the Tommy Dorsey band. In 1939, he married Jo Stafford, a singer in Dorsey’s band, but they separated in 1943.

Curtis then joined Shep Fields’ band before forming his own, the Novelty Aces. Along with his singing career, he began acting in modest roles in John Ford films such as Rio Grande (1950), The Quiet Man (1952), and The Searchers (1956).

Ken Curtis's Musical Evolution
Ken Curtis’s Musical Evolution

Gunsmoke and Success

Ken Curtis hit the big time in 1959 when he got a major role as Festus Haggen, a rough but loyal deputy marshal, in the popular TV series Gunsmoke. He took over from Dennis Weaver, who played Chester Goode, as the sidekick to Matt Dillon. Ken was in 304 episodes of Gunsmoke from 1959 to 1975 and became a favorite character on the show.

He didn’t stop there. Ken kept on acting in more western movies and TV shows like Have Gun – Will Travel, Wagon Train, Rawhide, The Alamo (1960), How the West Was Won (1962), Cheyenne Autumn (1964), and The Yellow Rose (1983). He even came back as Festus Haggen in the TV movies Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge (1987) and Gunsmoke: The Last Apache (1990).

Ken Curtis Personal Life

Ken Curtis got married three times in his life. His first wife was Jo Stafford, but they separated in 1943. Then, he married Barbara Ford, who was John Ford’s daughter, in 1952.

However, they went their separate ways in 1964. His third wife was Torrie Connelly, and they got married in 1966, staying together until he passed away.


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