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Milburn Stone

Personal information
Birth dateJuly 5, 1904
Place of birthBurrton, Kansas, U.S.
Date of deathJune 12, 1980(age 75)
Death placeLa Jolla, California, U.S.
SpouseEllen Morrison (1925-1937)
Jane Garrison (1939-1940) (1941-1980)
AwardsSupporting Actor in a Drama
1968 Gunsmoke

     Home | American actors | Milburn Stone

Milburn Stone (July 5, 1904 June 12, 1980) was an American television actor, a nephew of Broadway comedian Fred Stone and the son of a shopkeeper, best known for his role as "Doc" (Dr. Galen Adams) on the CBS western series Gunsmoke.

Stone was born in Burrton in Harvey County in central Kansas. He began his screen career in the 1930s, having been featured in Monogram Pictures' series of "Tailspin Tommy" adventures. In 1940, he appeared with Marjorie Reynolds, Tristram Coffin, and I. Stanford Jolley in the comedy espionage film Chasing Trouble. He also played the liberal minded warden in Monogram Pictures', "Prison Mutiny", in 1943. Stone was signed by Universal Pictures in 1943 and became a familiar face in its features and serials. One of his film roles was a radio columnist in the Gloria Jean-Kirby Grant musical I'll Remember April. He made such an impression in this film that Universal gave him a starring role (and a similar characterization) in the 1945 serial The Master Key.

One of CBS Radio's hit series, the western Gunsmoke, was adapted for television in 1955 and recast with experienced screen actors. Howard McNear, radio's "Doc Adams," was replaced by Milburn Stone, who gave the role a harder edge consistent with his screen portrayals. He stayed with Gunsmoke through its entire run and was often shown sparring in a friendly manner with costars Dennis Weaver and Ken Curtis, who played, respectively, Chester Goode and deputy Festus Haggen. His other co-stars were James Arness, Amanda Blake, Burt Reynolds, Glenn Strange, Buck Taylor and Roger Ewing.

In March of 1971, Milburn Stone had heart bypass surgery at UAB Hospital, in Birmingham, Alabama. Afterward, he had to be revived two times after his heart had stopped.

A painting of the Doc Adams character was commissioned from Gary Hawk, a painter from Stone's home state of Kansas. When then-President Ronald Reagan, a friend of Milburn Stone, heard about the painting, Gary Hawk was invited to the Oval Office to present the artwork to the President. Stone lived to see Reagan emerge as the likely Republican nominee for President in 1980 but not to witness Reagan's election.

For his contribution to the television industry, Milburn Stone has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6801 Hollywood Blvd. He died of a heart attack in La Jolla, California. In 1981, he was inducted posthumously into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

After his death he left a legacy for the Performing Arts in Cecil County, MD by way of the Milburn Stone Theater at Cecil Community College in North East, MD. In 2007, the name of the College was changed to Cecil College.

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