One of the most popular characters on “Gunsmoke” was the infamous Miss Kitty.
She was played by Amanda Blake on TV. She was in over 500 of the show’s episodes. Amanda Blake plays the saloon employee in season two then she becomes the half-owner of Long Branch Saloon later on.
Blake played a sassy and in-charge woman in the popular Western. However, who else was almost cast as Miss Kitty in the show?
Polly Bond Turns Down ‘Gunsmoke’ Role
Polly Bond was first offered the star spot in the show. However, according to IMDb, she turned down the role due to her marriage with Tommy Bond in 1953.
She had also said that they offered too much money. She had just married Tommy Bond, a child actor who had played “Butch” on “The Little Rascals.” He had left acting and was instead working in production at a local TV station. If she took the role of Miss Kitty, she would have been earning far more than her new husband.
For whatever reason, she believed that this financial difference would cause problems for their brand new marriage. Instead, Blake became Miss Kitty for 20 seasons and Polly and Tommy have been married for 54 years.
Polly retired from acting after getting married. Before that, she had starred in several show-business productions. She was in a western singing act called “The Darling Sisters.” She had her own show with her sister called ‘The Rangeriders.” She was the co-founder of the “Toys For Tots” drive.
Bond also made an album with a new guitarist, Les Paul, in the ’40s. She was also on the cover of “Down Beat” music magazine.
Amanda Blake’s Career
Besides playing Miss Kitty on “Gunsmoke,” Amanda Blake had a longstanding career in the industry.
She first starred in the 1950 western film, “Stars in My Crown.” She was also in another western called “Cattle Town” and “Miss Robin Crusoe.” Due to her experience in westerns, “Gunsmoke” was the perfect role.
Fans loved her relationship with Marshal Matt Dillon. The show was even canceled the year after she left, which some fans don’t think is a coincidence.
According to Wide Open Country, acting and westerns weren’t the only things Blake was passionate about. She loved animals. Blake had a pet lion called Kemo that she would sometimes bring to set. She and her husband also used to breed cheetahs and ended up with seven successive generations of them.
Blake helped create the Arizona Animal Welfare League, which is the oldest no-kill shelter in Arizona. She was a board member of the Humane Society of the United States.