Amanda Blake revealed what she missed the most about working on Gunsmoke

After playing Kitty for almost two decades, Blake left the Western series but missed a lot of things about it.

On Now
MeTV Presents the Best of Kitty Russell
Up Next:

For 20 seasons, Western fans worldwide watched Gunsmoke and indulged in its plots. They fell in love with some of the characters or despised a few, but audiences kept returning each week for a new episode. Kitty, the red-haired saloon owner who spoke with courage and confidence, was played by Amanda Blake.

The character was a vital part of the production, and for 19 seasons, the role stood out, making it a fan favorite. Amanda Blake decided to leave the show; therefore, Kitty was not in the final season. The audience missed her, and the actress shared that feeling about the show.

Being on a series for almost two decades creates strong relationships, and it did just that for Blake. "I'll miss many things about it," she admitted to The Daily Journal in 1974. "It was a wonderful 19 years. Close friendships with my fellow actors and crew, for one thing. They are family."

Blake missed the set, specifically her saloon, which felt like a second home. She missed dressing up in Kitty's wardrobe (although she was also excited to wear modern-day clothes in her new show), laughing with her fellow castmates and all the fun times they had.

"But I've spent half of my adult life as Kitty, owner of the Long Branch saloon in Dodge City. I felt I needed a change. I can really do anything I want to now," the actress added.

Blake did just that. According to the article in the newspaper, less than three weeks after she announced her retirement from Gunsmoke, the actress began her starring role in ABC's Betrayal. It was her first dramatic role outside of Kitty, and she was excited about the new beginning.

"[I have] more time to be devoted to my animals and wildlife conservation. [I can get] a TV or motion picture role when I want. But I also realize that Gunsmoke has made most of this possible. And for that, I am very grateful."

Blake only had one favor to ask of fans who didn't want to see her outside the beloved role. "Try and call me Amanda. The only kitty I'd like to hear now is the sound of a baby cheetah — born in captivity."


Watch Gunsmoke on MeTV!

Monday - Saturday at 1 PM & 1:30 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

15 Comments

Donnajean 10 months ago
GUNSMOKE was one of our family when I was a kid. My Momma would pop some REAL popcorn with REAL melted butter poured over it! (no such thing as pre-buttered microwave popcorn back then!) Now I am 71 yo & I still get to watch GUNSMOKE everyday that I can…brings back such sweet memories of a sweet & simple childhood… That’s why I lov
“MeTV” !!
JamesB 10 months ago
The Westerns of the 1950s-60s were "the" primary way for actors to get TV work, and there is clearly a lot of talent in front of and behind the cameras. That said, I cannot watch the major shows like Bonanza, Gunsmoke, The Big Valley and those of their ilk for the extreme melodrama. I prefer shows like Laredo, Have Gun, Will Travel, and A Man Called Shenandoah. I understand that my parent's generation loved melodrama, as evidenced by A-films of the 1940s-early 1960s but I have always liked the serials of the pre-TV era or the wonderful "B" films. I guess I don't have a point, except to say that writing is often better than people like, or worse than people deserve, and I never saw Bonanza (for example) as being authentic or anything more than a network "guest star" vehicle and thought that the cast deserved better.
gockionni 10 months ago
No one else could have played the part of Kitty better than Amanda Blake. Beautiful lady; got to see her live once in the Parada del Sol in Scottsdale, early ‘70’s.
tootsieg 10 months ago
Thanks MeTV for the very interesting article on Amanda Blake. I can understand how after 19 years she would miss the laughs with her cast mates, the sets and the wardrobe.
nightshade 10 months ago
did she get an actual goodbye or just not be there all of a sudden like a few characters on the show?
bmoore4026 nightshade 10 months ago
No, she had a good bye. The last episode of the 19th season. It's titled "The Disciple". It's referenced again in the reunion movie "Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge".
LoveMETV22 10 months ago
Clearly Amanda Blake contributed a lot to the shows success and long run alongside James Arness.
Good for her in following her wish for a change and the happiness it brought her.
JamesDean59 10 months ago
Always felt the writers should have expanded Kitty and Matt's relationship on the show. Teasing one is alright but, this would have brought a new dimension to the characters.
Andybandit 10 months ago
I didn't watch Gunsmoke from the last couple of seasons. I didn't know Amanda left in season 19. She played a good role as Kitty. I loved how she was so strong and independent.
Runeshaper 10 months ago
Super cool that she had a wildlife conservation. I loved her as Ms. Kitty and it was nice to read about everyone and everything that she missed on Gunsmoke. Thanks for sharing MeTV.
cperrynaples 10 months ago
Didn't see her in Betrayal, but I did see her on Edge Of Night 10 years later!
McGillahooala cperrynaples 10 months ago
The edge of night. That was a good show. I love the early 80s theme.
Mark cperrynaples 10 months ago
And if you have Buzzr, you can see her on Match Game. They recently repeated the episodes she was on.
cperrynaples McGillahooala 10 months ago
Well, I prefer the classic theme! Guaranteed to chill you...LOL!
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?