Amanda Blake was an American actress, best known for her role as Miss Kitty Russell in Gunsmoke. She was born in New York City and attended Pomona College before she started acting. Her career began in the ‘40s when she was signed to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. She appeared in A Star is Born and eventually Gunsmoke.
Before Gunsmoke, she was mainly a movie star. She was in Cattle Town, Miss Robin Crusoe, and more. Then, Amanda played Miss Kitty, the saloon keeper for 19 years on Gunsmoke. She appeared on the series from 1955 to 1974.
Why did Amanda Blake leave ‘Gunsmoke’?
Eventually, she quit the show because she was sick of traveling. She lived in Phoenix but traveled to Hollywood to film the show.
In her personal life, she was married briefly to Don Whitman in the ‘50s. She went on to marry three other men: Jason Seymour Day Jr., Frank Gilbert, and Mark Edward Spaeth. She never had children but devoted most of her life to animal welfare when she was not acting.
In the ‘70s, she went into semi-retirement and devoted her life to animals. She loved big cats in particular and owned cheetahs and lions. She formed the Arizona Animal Welfare League, a no-kill animal shelter. Other wildlife refuges have been formed in her name including the Amanda Blake Memorial Wildlife Refuge in California.
How did Amanda Blake die?
Amanda was a smoker for many years and eventually had oral cancer. She received surgery and lived for about a decade after her cancer. Sadly, she died in August 1989 of liver failure due to viral hepatitis.
RIP Amanda… your legacy lives on in your work.