‘Gunsmoke’: ‘Chester’ Actor Dennis Weaver Had One Major Regret About His Character

by Katie Maloney
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What’s one acting decision an actor will regret almost instantly? Dennis Weaver from Gunsmoke reveals his biggest regret from the show.

Gunsmoke is an American western drama series that takes place in Dodge City, Kansas, during the settlement of the American West. Dennis Weaver played the iconic role of Chester Goode, the loyal assistant of Marshal Matt Dillon. The show became the highest-rated and longest-running live-action series in American television history. Additionally, Weaver won an Emmy Award in 1959 for Best Supporting Actor (Continuing Character) in a Dramatic Series. However, there was one thing about the role that Weaver always regretted: Chester’s limp.

Weaver came up with the idea for the lip himself. But soon regretted the decision after realizing how much work it required to fake a limp week after week on set.

https://youtu.be/NiKiPBkutDY
Chester plays the guitar and sings on Gunsmoke.

Why Did Chester Limp On Gunsmoke?

Weaver began his acting career on Broadway as an understudy. After the success of the show, he decided to really pursue an acting career. So, he joined the Actors Studio where he met Shelley Winters. Eventually, Winters helped Weaver land a contract with Universal Studios where he made several appearances in films. But it wasn’t until he auditioned for the role oF Chester in Gunsmoke that his career really took off.

During the audition, the producer told Weaver that Chester was a sidekick to the main character. The producer explained that all sidekicks have some kind of quirk that sets them apart from the star of the show. So, Weaver decided to audition for the role of Chester with a limp. The producers loved his interpretation and hired him for the role shortly after. The rest is western TV show history. Ironically, the producers actually had Weaver in mind for the role all along but they couldn’t remember his name to contact him. Gunsmoke producers were delighted when Weaver showed up for the audition.

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