Burt Reynolds had everyone's blessing to leave Gunsmoke
Reynolds' departure had the Gunsmoke stamp of approval.
Burt Reynolds spent nearly three seasons on Gunsmoke, which seems like a relatively short amount of time given the longevity of the entire series. However, he certainly made an impact as Quint Asper, a role that he was commonly remembered for in an already notable career.
Originally, Reynolds planned to stay on Gunsmoke until the show's conclusion. According to an interview with the Associated Press, Reynolds stated that he would stay "Until it [Gunsmoke] ends." He went on to say, "I think it's a terrible mistake for an actor to leave a series in the middle of it." Reynolds had previously left the series Riverboat, citing that, amongst other issues, he wasn't getting along with the series star, Darren McGavin.
Reynolds said, "After that, I played heavies in every series in town and did two movies. I was glad to see Gunsmoke come along."
However, when Reynolds changed his mind and decided to leave the series he loved so much, it wasn't due to any bad blood between himself or his castmates. In fact, it was quite a bittersweet moment.
Reynolds recounted his leaving in James Arness's autobiography, James Arness: An Autobiography. He explained his departure and said, "I left Gunsmoke only because it was time for me to move on." But Reynolds added, "I left with everyone's blessing and best wishes."
He continued, "I've had a hell of a ride since. A movie career that I never would have dreamed of. But when I think of those old episodes of Gunsmoke on that wonderful old stage — sitting and telling stories in front of the Long Branch Saloon with Matt, Kitty, Doc, and Festus — well, it just never gets any better than that."