Best photos ( Ken Curtis )

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Birth information

2 July 1916 Lamar, Colorado, USA

Death information

28 April 1991 Fresno, California, USA

Given Name

Curtis Wain Gates

How tall is Ken Curtis?

1.83 m

Who is(are) his/her spouse(s)?

Torrie Ahern Connelly
Barbara Ford

Life Story of Ken Curtis

Considering the kind of scruffy, backwoods, uneducated, Deep-South hillbilly types he played, many people would be surprised to hear that Ken Curtis wasn't actually born in the south but in the small town of Las Animas, Colorado, the son of the town sheriff. They would probably be even more surprised to learn that he began his show business career as a singer in the big-band era, and was a vocalist in the legendary Tommy Dorsey orchestra. He entered films in the late 1940s at the tail-end of the singing-cowboy period in a series of low-budget Westerns for Columbia Pictures. When that genre died out, Curtis turned to straight dramatic and comedy parts and became a regular in the films of director John Ford (who was his father-in-law). Curtis branched out into film production in the 1950s with two extremely low-budget monster films, The Killer Shrews (1959) and The Giant Gila Monster (1959), but he is best known for his long-running role as Festus Hagen, the scruffy, cantankerous deputy in the long-running TV series Gunsmoke (1955).

Significant features of Ken Curtis

Hillbilly accent.
The role of Festus Haggen on Gunsmoke (1955).
High-pitched voice.
His beard.
Before 'Gunsmoke', he often appeared in films with John Wayne and/or directed by John...

Biographical movies about Ken Curtis

This Is Your Life: "Ken Curtis" 1972

What movies did Ken Curtis play or participate?

Producers Filmography
My Dog, Buddy (1960) , The Giant Gila Monster (1959) , The Killer Shrews (1959) ,
Actors Filmography
Conagher (1991) Seaborn Tay, Cattle Rancher, In the Heat of the Night (1990) Tom McCauley, Once Upon a Texas Train (1988) Kelly Sutton, Airwolf (1986) Cecil Carnes Sr., The All American Cowboy (1985) , The Yellow Rose (1984) Hoyt Coryell, Lost (1983) Wyatt Cosgrove, Legend of the Wild (1981) , California Gold Rush (1981) Kentuck, How the West Was Won (1979) Orville Gant, Vega$ (1979) Digger Dennison, Once Upon a Starry...

Birth information

2 July 1916 Lamar, Colorado, USA

Death information

28 April 1991 Fresno, California, USA

Given Name

Curtis Wain Gates

How tall is Ken Curtis?

1.83 m

Who is(are) his/her spouse(s)?

Torrie Ahern Connelly
Barbara Ford

Life Story of Ken Curtis

Considering the kind of scruffy, backwoods, uneducated, Deep-South hillbilly types he played, many people would be surprised to hear that Ken Curtis wasn't actually born in the south but in the small town of Las Animas, Colorado, the son of the town sheriff. They would probably be even more surprised to learn that he began his show business career as a singer in the big-band era, and was a vocalist in the legendary Tommy Dorsey orchestra. He entered films in the late 1940s at the tail-end of the singing-cowboy period in a series of low-budget Westerns for Columbia Pictures. When that genre died out, Curtis turned to straight dramatic and comedy parts and became a regular in the films of director John Ford (who was his father-in-law). Curtis branched out into film production in the 1950s with two extremely low-budget monster films, The Killer Shrews (1959) and The Giant Gila Monster (1959), but he is best known for his long-running role as Festus Hagen, the scruffy, cantankerous deputy in the long-running TV series Gunsmoke (1955).

Significant features of Ken Curtis

Hillbilly accent.
The role of Festus Haggen on Gunsmoke (1955).
High-pitched voice.
His beard.
Before 'Gunsmoke', he often appeared in films with John Wayne and/or directed by John...

Biographical movies about Ken Curtis

This Is Your Life: "Ken Curtis" 1972

What movies did Ken Curtis play or participate?

Producers Filmography
My Dog, Buddy (1960) , The Giant Gila Monster (1959) , The Killer Shrews (1959) ,
Actors Filmography
Conagher (1991) Seaborn Tay, Cattle Rancher, In the Heat of the Night (1990) Tom McCauley, Once Upon a Texas Train (1988) Kelly Sutton, Airwolf (1986) Cecil Carnes Sr., The All American Cowboy (1985) , The Yellow Rose (1984) Hoyt Coryell, Lost (1983) Wyatt Cosgrove, Legend of the Wild (1981) , California Gold Rush (1981) Kentuck, How the West Was Won (1979) Orville Gant, Vega$ (1979) Digger Dennison, Once Upon a Starry...

25 th
Ken Curtis in Der Mann in den Bergen (1977)

Introduced the western standard "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" to movie audiences.

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John Cason and Ken Curtis in Zorro - Flammen der Rache (1951)

Son-in-law of director John Ford.

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Ken Curtis in Zorro - Flammen der Rache (1951)

Inducted (as a cast member of Gunsmoke (1955)) into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1981.

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Ken Curtis and Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams in Throw a Saddle on a Star (1946)

Early in his career he sang with the Shep Fields' Orchestra.

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21 th
Roy Barcroft and Ken Curtis in Zorro - Flammen der Rache (1951)

On Gunsmoke (1955) as Festus Haggen, he always drew and fired a pistol with his right hand -- but whenever he had to use a rifle, he would bring it up to his left shoulder and pull the trigger with his left hand (sighting with his left eye and squinting with his right). Often, Festus would squint with the right eye partially closed as well. This was never explained unless the actor or character had lost vision in his right eye.

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20 th
Ken Curtis in Zorro - Flammen der Rache (1951)

Refused an offer to appear as Festus Haggen in the movie Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge (1987), which reunited James Arness, Amanda Blake, Buck Taylor and Fran Ryan from the original series. Money was the issue. Producer John Mantley, interviewed for TV Guide when the movie aired, said Curtis had demanded double what Blake got; other sources say Mantley was at fault in offering Curtis an insultingly low salary (not specified in either account).

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19 th
Ward Bond, Ken Curtis, John Qualen, and William Steele in Der schwarze Falke (1956)

The Sons of the Pioneers, of which Curtis was once a member, were awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6843 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.

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18 th
Joan Barton and Ken Curtis in Lone Star Moonlight (1946)

Appeared with the Sons of the Pioneers at Carnegie Hall.

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John Wayne and Ken Curtis in Alamo (1960)

Came from a musical family -- his father played the fiddle, his mother the pump organ, brother Chester the banjo, and another brother Carl sang.

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16 th
Ken Curtis, Hank Patterson, and Aline Towne in Zorro - Flammen der Rache (1951)

In 1935 he went to a college in Colorado Springs, CO, to study medicine. While there his love for singing grew and he involved himself in various college musical events.

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15 th
Curt Barrett, Hank Caldwell, Charles Coleman, Ken Curtis, Deuce Spriggins, Frank Buckley, etc.

His stage name was changed to the easier-sounding "Ken Curtis" when he temporarily replaced Frank Sinatra in Tommy Dorsey's band in 1941.

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Ken Curtis, Gil Taylor, Paul Trietsch, Ken Trietsch, Charles Ward, etc.

While appearing in John Ford westerns, he initially utilized his musical talents before turning to straight acting. In Rio Grande (1950) he was a guitar-playing lead-singing tenor with the "Regimental Singers". In The Quiet Man (1952) he played an accordion and sang tenor in the bar.

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Ken Curtis and Vera Miles in Der schwarze Falke (1956)

Not only was he a resident of Dodge City, KS, in the TV series Gunsmoke (1955) from 1962-75, he was also a Dodge City resident in Cheyenne Autumn (1964).

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12 th
James Arness, Amanda Blake, Ken Curtis, Milburn Stone, etc.

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Ken Curtis, Hugh Farr, Karl Farr, Shug Fisher, Bob Nolan, and Lloyd Perryman

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Ken Curtis, Karl Farr, Bob Nolan, and Lloyd Perryman

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John Wayne, Frankie Avalon, Richard Widmark, Laurence Harvey, Ray Ackland, Charles Akins, etc.

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8 th
John Wayne, Frankie Avalon, Richard Widmark, Laurence Harvey, William H. Clothier, etc.

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7 th
Ken Curtis, Gil Taylor, Paul Trietsch, Ken Trietsch, Cheryl Walker, Charles Ward, etc.

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Ted Adams, Carolina Cotton, Ken Curtis, and Shug Fisher in Stallion Canyon (1949)

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Ken Curtis, Jennifer Holt, Guy Kibbee, Gil Taylor, Paul Trietsch, Ken Trietsch, etc.

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Ken Curtis, Jennifer Holt, Guy Kibbee, Gil Taylor, Paul Trietsch, Ken Trietsch, etc.

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3 rd
Richard Widmark, Laurence Harvey, and Ken Curtis in Alamo (1960)

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2 nd
Ken Curtis, Jeff Donnell, Paul Trietsch, and Ken Trietsch in That Texas Jamboree (1946)

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1 st
Roy Barcroft, Lane Bradford, John Cason, Ken Curtis, etc.

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