Remember Amanda Blake
Amanda Blake "Kitty" Remembered
I loved the TV Western era in the 50s and 60s. They were and will probably remain my favorites. It got so bad with me that I would be singing the theme songs during the day. I knew all the players and many times could anticipate the plot direction. Scarry? But, getting back to TV Westerns, Gunsmoke would be the longest running and probably most liked (loved Bonzana as well).
Amanda Blake, I believe, gave Gunsmoke that something "special" touch. She carried out the part of Kitty eloquently. She had that "rough around the edges" when needed and could show the "softness" side during that special moment when looking into Matt's eyes, as seen in the videos "For You" and "Ride (Best of Kitty) " below.
In 1950, she star in Stars in my Crown. She was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. She played in comedy routines with Red Skelton, made appearences on Hollywood Squares and Match Game.
In 1985, Amanda helped finance the startup of PAWS, Performing Animal Welfare Society. She continued to remain an animal advocate until her passing in August 1989.
Was It AIDS
In life, controversy seldom touched Amanda Blake, the straight-shooting Miss Kitty of TV's Gunsmoke, but now, three months after her death in Sacramento, Calif., at age 60, a shocking truth has surfaced. Five times a wife, Blake didn't die of oral cancer as originally reported. Instead she has become the first Hollywood actress of note to die of AIDS. "There was no recurrence of cancer," her physician, Dr. Lou Nishimura, says now. "Technically she died of liver failure brought on by viral hepatitis, which was AIDS-related." Blake's secret was known only to a few intimates. "Once she knew she had it, she decided to keep it to herself," says her closest friend, Pat Derby, who, with her husband, Ed Stewart, runs a preserve in Sacramento for unwanted performing animals. "She didn't want to live in a goldfish bowl."
continue Amanda Died of AIDS
Kitty and Amanda
An only child, Beverly Neill moved with her family from Buffalo to Claremont, California. There she got the acting bug and was signed with MGM. After a few movie roles, she landed the role that would make her a household name for the next 20 years, Miss Kathleen "Kitty" Russell on Gunsmoke.
Married four times:
Jack Shea ?
Don Whiteman 1953-1955
Jason Day 1964-1967
Frank Gilbert 1967-1982
Mark Spaeth 1984-1985
Frank and Amanda were the first successful breeders of cheetahs in captivity on their 4 acre ranch in Phoenix, Arizona. Their love for Africa and animals prompted many charitable events including the first Sato Mutt competition in Phoenix as an answer to the WKC purebred competition. Amanda spent the last years of her life living at PAWS with her dear friends Pat Derby who she met on the Gunsmoke set and her partner Ed Stewart. The Amanda Blake Museum and Wildlife Refuge is there at the Rancho Seco Park and it's home to native African deer, emu, and other rare animals.
According to Pat Derby, "Amanda lived 120 years in the 60 she was here."
Amazon of Good Things
As reported by The New York Times
Amanda Blake, the actress who played Miss Kitty on the long-running television series ''Gunsmoke,'' died of AIDS-related complications and not, as a hospital and her friends reported at the time, of cancer, her doctor says.
The doctor, Lou Nishimura, a Sacramento internist, said Monday that Miss Blake, who died at age 60 on Aug. 16, did have throat cancer. But he added, ''That wasn't the reason that she died.''
Dr. Nishimura spoke after a report by television station KRBK in Sacramento, where Miss Blake was a longtime resident, quoted her friends as saying now that her death was related to AIDS. He said that she had suffered from AIDS symptoms for about a year but that he did not know how she had contracted the disease.
Miss Blake's fifth husband, Mark Spaeth, a developer and City Councilman in Austin, Tex., died of pneumonia in 1985 at age 45. They married in April 1984, and divorced a short time later.
After Miss Blake died at Mercy General Hospital, a statement by the hospital and her friends reported the cause of death as cancer.
Miss Blake's death certificate, however, listed the immediate cause as cardiopulmonary arrest due to liver failure and CMV hepatitis. CMV, or cytomegalo virus, hepatitis is AIDS-related, said Dr. Nishimura.
Credit: New York Times
Stop And Smell The Roses - Follow Me To Some Wonderful Links
- Amanda Blake's Acting Career
- Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)
Mission Statement: PAWS is dedicated to the protection of performing animals, to providing sanctuary to abused, abandoned and retired captive wildlife, to enforcing the best standards of care for all captive wildlife, to the preservation of wild spe
- Amanda Blake Memorial
The Amanda Blake Museum & Visitor Center Open Saturdays from 10 am - 3 pm or by special appointment. Please call (209) 745-2606 for more information.
Nobody maintained TV law and order for longer than Gunsmoke's Marshal Matt Dillon. As played by James Arness for a full twenty years, Marshal Matt was everything we wanted in a lawman: tough but fair, strong but good, quick on the draw but slow to vi
Kitty and Matt
TV LAND's Matt and Kitty
There once was a western show that stood out above the rest!
The cast was a wonderful family who together were the best.
Festus, and Doc were the best of friends, as we could clearly see.
If either of them needed the other right there they would be.
There was a Marshall in this show and his name would be Dillon.
whenever the need arose then he'd have to do some killin
The Marshall was a quiet man, as calm as he could be
But if somebody riled him the other side they'd see
There was a lovely lady in town and her name was Miss Kitty.
She was loved by everyone and she was very pretty.
Credit: TV Land (Poem Contest)
Once at the TV Land site, go to the end of the page and finish reading this cute poem. NOTE 3/17/11: No longer posted, sorry!