Despite being on Gunsmoke for the shortest amount of time compared to other cast members, Dennis Weaver drew many viewers to the charming character he portrayed, Chester Goode. He left the series more than once, but finally moved on for good after the ninth season to explore other options in the entertainment industry. His role as the limping deputy on Gunsmoke earned him an Emmy award in 1959. Outside of acting, he was an activist for a safe and clean environment and founded the Institute of Ecolonomics. Weaver also believed Christmas meant more than giving or receiving gifts, and he explained his reasons in an interview with MeTV. Weaver's Approach To Christmas GUNSMOKE, Dennis Weaver, 1955-1975 Weaver did not concur with how most people celebrated Christmas, because he was of the opinion that many focused their attention on gifts. From Weaver's point of view, there was a thing or two to learn about what the holiday season should be about. RELATED: Whatever Happened To Dennis Weaver, Chester Goode From ‘Gunsmoke’? "I attend the Church of Self Realization, and I have come to understand that an individual's peace is carried within him. The object of our senses doesn't have the power to make us happy," Weaver explained. "For example, you see a hat, and you buy it. Then you're happy, you say. But when you get it, almost immediately the pleasure begins to fade away. If it had the power within itself to make happiness, then it would do so for everybody. But it doesn't." GUNSMOKE, Dennis Weaver, on set, (November 5, 1963), 1955-1975. ph: Bob Vose/TV Guide/Courtesy Everett Collection According to the late actor, gifts and purchases only arouse fickle happiness, and Christmas should instead be a time of introspection. "So you see, it's what's within you that creates peace and breeds gentleness. And that's the way I feel about Christmas — it's a time to get in touch with the feelings within you," Weaver said in conclusion. Weaver Took Activism And Goodwill Seriously Weaver pioneered causes and activism against the use of harmful fuels, leading by example with his solar-powered home in Colorado. Aside from founding the non-profit Institute of Ecolonomics in 1993, Weaver also established another non-profit, L.I.F.E (Love Is Feeding Everyone), aimed at providing food for the needy in Los Angeles specifically. He received the Presidential End Hunger Award in 1986 for establishing L.I.F.E. GUNSMOKE, Dennis Weaver, on set, (November 5, 1963), 1955-1975. ph: Bob Vose/TV Guide/Courtesy Everett Collection "If we are to leave a planet that will sustain life for future generations, we have to have two things: a sustainable economy and a sustainable environment, and if we fail in achieving either we will suffer greatly," the actor-activist noted. Weaver kept up his good work, on and off screen, before he died of cancer at his Colorado residence in 2006 at the age of 81. The 60-acre Dennis Weaver Memorial Park in Ridgway, Colorado is dedicated to the memory of the man and his humanitarian service.