Ken Curtis Obituary, View, Funeral, ‘Gunsmoke’s’ Festus
On April 28, 1991, Ken Curtis passed away unexpectedly while sleeping. Age-wise, he was 74.
The final words he wrote in this note were revealed by his wife Torrie.
Actor Ken Curtis rose to fame for his role as Festus Haggen, a fan favorite on Gunsmoke. He had no idea that portraying this role in the Western television series would ultimately turn out to be rather beneficial due to his upbringing. Before working in Dodge City, Curtis worked as a child in a real-life jail that held “notorious outlaws,” providing him a unique perspective on this environment.
In the eighth season episode 13 titled “Us Haggens,” Curtis made his Gunsmoke debut as Festus.
The character was shown in the episode as a “rough around the edges” kind of man. U.S. Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness), however, offered Festus a different direction in life as he pursued retribution against his uncle for the murder of his brother. In the end, the two would become a close friendship.
After he was made a series regular, the actor kept on portraying the role for the remainder of the franchise’s run, which lasted through season 20.
Chester Goode’s replacement was required after Dennis Weaver departed the program to pursue other artistic opportunities. For Gunsmoke, Curtis filled that void as Festus, allowing a different viewpoint character to interact with the other principal.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the deceased’s family and friends, who have been struggling with the loss of such an intelligent and compassionate individual.