‘Gunsmoke’: ‘Doc’ Actor Milburn Stone’s Cousin Was a Famous Actress

by Joe Rutland
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It turns out “Gunsmoke” actor Milburn Stone has some acting lineage throughout his life. In fact, his cousin starred in Western films.

Actress Paula Stone, Milburn Stone’s cousin, made a name for herself as somewhat of a blonde starlet in the 1930s.

Stone happened to be the first female lead in a Hop-a-long Cassidy film. That occurs in “Hop-a-Long Cassidy” in 1935.

Paula Stone also appeared in “Atlantic Flight” in 1937 and “Idiot’s Delight” in 1939. She died on Dec 23, 1997, at 85 years old.

‘Gunsmoke’ Star Also Had Famous Uncle As Actor

Now Paula was the daughter of Fred Stone, a well-known actor from the Vaudeville days. Fred Stone, Milburn Stone’s uncle, made his name in the entertainment world by being a jack-of-all-trades. He reportedly could tightrope walk, do acrobatics, and even be a clown.

What happened is because of his flexibility, Fred Stone found himself as a star on Broadway and even in films.

Fred Stone died on March 6, 1959, at 85 years old.

Obviously, the acting bug found its way to Milburn Stone. It helped him play “Doc Adams” for 20 seasons on “Gunsmoke.” It was a part of CBS’s popular primetime lineup, always performing well as Marshal Matt Dillon, played by James Arness, watched over Dodge City.

Milburn Stone, James Arness Appear In All 20 Seasons

It turns out that Arness and Stone are the only two actors throughout the entire “Gunsmoke” run to be a part of all 20 seasons.

You always could count on “Doc Adams” to be on the show. He did miss seven episodes because of illness, but his presence was very important to Dodge City’s citizens.

Stone died in 1980. He was 76. Arness, the tall, rule-following lawman, died in 2011 at age 88.

Viewers loved “Gunsmoke” from the time it made its debut on CBS in 1955. It was TV’s top-ranked show from 1957-61. Ratings, though, started to fall as it went from 30 minutes to an hour-long show.

CBS almost nixed “Gunsmoke” in 1967. If the network had done it, then “Gilligan’s Island” would have gotten another season. Once word got around that CBS was thinking about it, viewers wrote in and other voices also changed the network bosses’ minds.

“Gunsmoke” stayed on CBS for eight more seasons. The show is now in syndication all over the world. You can see “Doc,” Matt, Miss Kitty, Festus, Chester, and other Dodge City regulars all the time.

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