Ken Curtis was a singer and an actor from the US who played in western series.

Early life:

He was born on July 2 in 1916 in a place called Lamar. It was located in Colorado.

Although he was born in Lamar under his real name Curtis Wain Gates, he lived his early life in a place called Muddy Creek.

His family actually ended up relocating to Las Animas so his dad Dan Sullivan had a chance of getting a promotion in the sheriff station. He became one eventually. Ken’s favorite game when he was a kid was to play the role of sheriff, his father was a big role model to him.

His family lived in a weird environment, in a house with a jail above. His mother worked there and made meals for the imprisoners.

He was a good student who actually found better interests in playing football then in learning. He became the quarterback of his Bent County High School football team and he was also involved in the school band.

He did graduate, but life lead him different ways and he had to serve military during World War II.

He wanted to finish his medicine studies but music got in the way. He wanted to pursue his singing career but he finally found himself in the acting industry.

Career development:

He actually got into the industry by singing and this lead to making movies. He was a part of a band where he worked with Frank Sinatra too.

He changed his name into Ken Curtis during this period because people told him it would sound better.

Ken continued his music career while working with Shep Fields, a popular bandleader, but he felt as if he was becoming more and more attracted to making movies rather than music.

He got a deal with Columbia Pictures in year 1945 and started out acting in western musicals. There he found his first wife, Lorraine Page, and they got married. Their marriage was very turbulent.

He became pretty popular and gained an opportunity to host a radio series on WWVA Jamboree.

One of his biggest achievments was the fact that he joined the “Sons of the Pioneers” which was, and still is, the most popular group of singers related to westerns. Room Full of Roses was one of their biggest hits and it brought them both fame and money.

His second marriage was even better for him since he became close family with John Ford. He was a very known producer and helped Ken to get into many famous movies, some of them being: The Searchers, How The West Was Won, The Horse Soldiers, The Alamo and so on. John Ford was a legend at that time.

A navy classic Mister Roberts was also a popular work of his.

He was also a guest star on many shows and one of his most popular guest appearances was on Have Gun Will Travel.

However, his definitely most popular appearance was in a show called Gunsmoke which was very popular back in the days. He became it’s most known character.

He wae a sheriff called Festus and he acted in this role for 11 years, which is the longest anyone has played in that role. He ended up being a part of 304 episodes.

In newspapers he used to say that he liked the role because of the funny nasal accent he had to develop.

Ken was so popular in this role that he ended up making even more money off of it since, after the show itself ended, he decided to do a few theme shows live. He was a great entertainer and people loved listening him singing and joking.

A new experience for him was acting in an adventure show called Ripcord where the actors had to do stunts and extreme sports. This developed his love for parachuting.

His last role was in Conagher. It was a TV western movie made by Turner Network in 1991.

Personal life:

Even though he had two failed marriages he fell in love again and decided to get married. His third wife was called Torrie Connelly and they had a pretty good marriage.

However, he died in 1991. He had two step-children by this time.

There is a statue of his character Festus in Fresno County. This is the place where he died in his sleep. He had a heart attack on April 28, 1991.

His ashes remain in Colorado, scattered all across the land itself.

He was a Republican and he was not ashamed to show it.

He made about 45 movies alltogether and captured 16 shows. This is a really big number and the reason he is so respected amongst producers from that time.

Quick summary

Full name:  Curtis Wain Gates

Date of birth: July 2, 1916

Birthplace: Lamar, Colorado

Age: 74 (died on April 28, 1991)

Profession:  singer, actor

Height: 183 cm

Weight: NA

Net Worth: $5 million