Historically Speaking: Milburn Stone performed in television show about Dodge City
This actor was from Kansas and performed in a television program about Dodge City.
Milburn Stone was born on July 5, 1904 in Burrton, Kansas. At the age of three, his family moved to Frizell, Kansas where he attended school. Following his father’s death, Milburn and his mother returned to Burrton, where he finished high school. After graduating high school, he received a Congressional appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. But with acting being his passion, he declined the appointment.
Stone started out in vaudeville, traveling with his first wife, Nellie Morrison, whom he married in Delphos, Kansas in 1925. They had a daughter Shirley, who resides in California.
Stone was related to well known Broadway comedian, Fred Stone. Though the family called him “Uncle Fred,” Fred was actually a cousin. He helped Milburn get his start on Broadway in the play “The Jayhawkers.”
In 1935 Stone began a career in movies. Soon after, in 1938, Nellie died. In 1942, he married another Kansan, Jane Garrison of Hutchinson, in Hollywood. Milly, as he was nicknamed, appeared in over 150 films, but is best known for his 20 year role as “Doc Adams” in the TV show “Gunsmoke.” In the show, Doctor Galen Adams was Dodge City's firm-handed, elderly physician. He and James Arness were the only actors who stayed during the entire run of the series. However, Stone did miss seven episodes in 1971 when he had open heart surgery.
Early in his Gunsmoke time, Stone was named a Boot Hill Marshal in 1958. In 1968 he was awarded an Emmy for his role as Doc.
Gunsmoke was a huge part of Stone's life. He once said, “I was bred to play the part of Doctor G. Adams.” Though not a real medical doctor, Stone received an honorary membership from the Kansas Medical Association.
When the show ended in 1975, Stone retired at the age of 70. On June 12, 1980 Milburn Stone died of a heart attack in La Jolla, California. Stone is interred at El Camino Memorial Park cemetery, San Diego, California. He posthumously received an honorary doctorate from St. Mary of the Plains College in Dodge City. He was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City in 1981. Stone also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Milburn Stone is related to another actor with Kansas connections. Character actress Madge Blake is related to him via her mother Alice Stone. Blake was born as Madge Cummings in Kinsley on May 31, 1899.
A lasting legacy to Stone in the performing arts is the Milburn Stone Theatre in Cecil County, Maryland.
He is a member of Boot Hill Museum's Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame having been inducted as Cowboy Entertainer in 2006. His wife, Jane, passed away on October 20, 2002 in Rancho Santa Fe, California.