Hugh Milburn Stone was an American actor who achieved widespread recognition for his performance as “Doc” (Dr. Galen Adams) on the western television series Gunsmoke, which was broadcast on CBS.
In this post, we will investigate what happened to him and why he left the show, in addition to a great deal of other information regarding the actor.
Hugh Milburn Stone Early Life
Stone’s parents, Herbert Stone and the woman formerly known as Laura Belfield, gave birth to him in the town of Burrton, Kansas.
He attended Burrton High School, where he participated in the theatre club, played basketball, and sang in a barbershop quartet, and then went on to graduate from the school.
According to Joe Stone, Stone’s brother, their uncle Fred Stone was a versatile performer who performed both on Broadway and in circuses.
Stone was offered a place at the United States Naval Academy through a legislative appointment; however, he declined it and instead pursued a career in acting with a stock theatrical group that was managed by Helen Ross.
Joe Stone, a writer, wrote the scripts for three Gunsmoke episodes. Joe was Stone’s brother. The character actor Madge Blake’s cousin was Stone.
Stone underwent cardiac bypass surgery at UAB Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama, in March 1971. Stone passed away at La Jolla in June 1980 from a heart attack. In Sorrento Valley, San Diego, at the El Camino Memorial Park, he was laid to rest.
Shirley Stone Gleason, a daughter from Stone’s first 12-year marriage to Ellen Morrison, previously of Delphos, Kansas, who passed away in 1937, is still alive and resides in Costa Mesa, California. She was born about 1926.
His second wife, Jane Garrison, a Hutchinson, Kansas native, passed away in 2002. Stone had first married Garrison, then divorced her.
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Why did Doc Adams leave Gunsmoke?
Contrary to popular belief, Doc Adams didn’t choose to quit Gunsmoke because of a drama-filled set. He appeared in an astonishing 605 of the 635 episodes over the course of the show’s 20-year run from 1955 until 1975, according to IMBD.
He had to have heart surgery after having a heart attack, which required him to briefly quit the show for a small number of episodes in 1971.
For a while, Pat Hingle played the part of Dr. Chapman in lieu of Milburn to make up for the lost gig, but Milburn eventually returned to the programme to complete the remaining four seasons, and Pat was fired.
Unbelievably, only James Arness—who played the show’s protagonist Matt Dillon—has featured in each and every one of its 20 seasons’ worth of episodes.
Shows other than Gunsmoke
In addition to his role on Gunsmoke, which established him as a household name and earned him an Emmy Award in 1968 for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Drama.
James Coburn had a long list of acting credits to his name in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. These roles ranged from comedic to dramatic.
Sky Patrol, Stunt Pilot, The Three Mesquiteers, A Doctor’s Diary, Atlantic Flight, Climax!, Drango, TV Reader’s Digest, The Man Behind the Badge, Fireside Theatre, and Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok are just some of the shows in which he has appeared. He has also appeared in a great number of other shows.
Is Milburn still alive?
No, regrettably Milburn has been gone for the better part of four decades now. In spite of having the bypass operation in 1971 (which was the time when he had to leave Gunsmoke for a while).
He passed away from a heart attack nine years later, in 1980, when he was 75 years old. His passing occurred only five years after the final episode of Gunsmoke.
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Huge Milburn Stone: Achievements And Recognition
For his role on Gunsmoke, Stone won an Emmy in 1968 for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Drama.
St. Mary of the Plains College in Dodge City, Kansas, where Gunsmoke was conceived but not actually produced, awarded Stone an honorary doctorate in 1975.
Gary Hawk, a painter from Stone’s native state of Kansas, was asked to create a picture of the Doc Adams character. Hawk was called to the White House Oval Office to deliver the painting to then-U.S. President Ronald W. Reagan, a friend of Stone’s.
Stone saw Reagan as the most likely candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 1980, but he did not survive to see Reagan defeat Jimmy Carter since Stone passed away in June 1980 and Reagan did not become president until November of that year.
Milburn Stone has a star at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in recognition of his work in the television industry.
At the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Stone was posthumously admitted to the Western Performers Hall of Fame in 1981.
By way of the Milburn Stone Theatre in North East, Maryland, he left a legacy for the performing arts in Cecil County in northeastern Maryland after his passing.
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