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Subject: Archive: Milburn Stone, June 12, 1980


Author:
"Doc" on "Gunsmke"
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Date Posted: Monday, June 15, 01:20:24pm

Actor. Born Hugh Milburn Stone, he labored and toiled for twenty years with background parts, literally appearing in hundreds of uncredited character roles as clerks, reporters, sailors, detectives, convicts, robbers and henchmen. In 1955, he became an "instant" star on the television series "Gunsmoke." The appreciative and exasperated actor, after years of futility, found long lasting success as "Doctor Adams," remaining on the show for its entire 20-year run (500 episodes). Although sidelined with health problems, he missed only seven episodes. After the show's cancellation in 1975, he retired to his ranch near San Diego, fishing and making furniture for his residence. Five years later, a heart attack claimed him at age 75. His inspiration was his father's brother, Broadway comedian Fred Stone.

The family moved from Burrton to nearby Frizell at the age of three, where he attended grade school. Following the death of his father, Milburn and his mother returned to his birth place of Burrton where he attended and graduated high school. Upon graduation, Milburn was offered a congressional appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, but declined the offer to pursue his goal of becoming an actor. Still a teenager, he found work with various touring repertory troupes, then tried vaudeville with a song-and-dance team called "Stone and Strain."

Stone made a minor appearance on Broadway in "The Jayhawkers" then headed to Los Angeles in 1935 in an attempt at a movie career. A few of his movies where he was credited..."Federal Bullets" "The Great Alaskan Mystery" "The Master Key" "The Long Gray Line" "The Private War of Major Benson" and "Young Mr. Lincoln."

Legacy...For his contribution to the television industry, Milburn has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was inducted posthumously into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Stone received an Emmy award for his crusty role on "Gun Smoke." He was awarded an honorary doctorate from St. Mary of the Plains College located in where else but Dodge City, Kansas.

He was nominated in 1971 as best supporting television actor for a Golden Globe Award in the Gunsmoke series but did not win. In a bit of trivia...From its premier in 1955 to the last run in 1975, "Gunsmoke" was the longest running dramatic series in the history of television. James Arness and Milburn remained all 20 seasons and Amanda Blake departed after 19 years.

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FUN FACT: Stone was nephew of actor Fred Stone (1873-1959), noted performer in circuses and minstrel shows, vaudeville, and later becoming a star on Broadway, and in feature films.And like nephew Milburn Stone, Uncle Fred also earned a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.Monday, June 15, 03:10:31pm


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