Ken Curtis (I) (1916–1991)

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Considering the kind of scruffy, backwoods, uneducated, Deep-South hillbilly types he played, many people would be surprised to hear that Ken Curtis wasn't actually born in the south but in the small town of Las Animas, Colorado, the son of the town sheriff. They would probably be even more surprised to learn that he began his show business career ... See full bio »

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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


Known For

Gunsmoke Festus / Brisco / Frank Eaton / Jesse / Kyle / Phil Jacks / Scout
The Searchers Charlie McCorry
Robin Hood Nutsy - A Vulture
The Horse Soldiers Cpl. Wilkie


Hide Hide Show Show Actor (66 credits)
 1991 Conagher (TV Movie)
Seaborn Tay, Cattle Rancher
 1990 In the Heat of the Night (TV Series)
Tom McCauley
- December Days (1990) ... Tom McCauley
 1988 Once Upon a Texas Train (TV Movie)
Kelly Sutton
 1986 Airwolf (TV Series)
Cecil Carnes Sr.
- Wildfire (1986) ... Cecil Carnes Sr.
 1985 The All American Cowboy (TV Movie)
 1983-1984 The Yellow Rose (TV Series)
Hoyt Coryell
- The Far Side of Fear (1984) ... Hoyt Coryell
- Villa's Gold (1984) ... Hoyt Coryell
- Beyond Vengeance (1984) ... Hoyt Coryell
- Chains of Fear (1984) ... Hoyt Coryell
- Debt of Honor (1984) ... Hoyt Coryell
 1983 Lost
Wyatt Cosgrove
 1981 California Gold Rush (TV Movie)
 1979 How the West Was Won (TV Series)
Orville Gant
- Hillary (1979) ... Orville Gant
 1979 Vega$ (TV Series)
Digger Dennison
- Death Mountain (1979) ... Digger Dennison
 1978 Once Upon a Starry Night (TV Movie)
Uncle Ned
 1978 The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams (TV Series)
Uncle Ned
- Once Upon a Starry Night (1978) ... Uncle Ned
 1978 Black Beauty (TV Mini Series)
Howard Jakes
 1976 Pony Express Rider
Jed Richardson
 1976 Petrocelli (TV Series)
Harry Underwood
- The Falling Star (1976) ... Harry Underwood
 1959-1975 Gunsmoke (TV Series)
Festus / Frank Eaton / Kyle / ...
- The Sharecroppers (1975) ... Festus
- Manolo (1975) ... Festus
- The Busters (1975) ... Festus
- I Have Promises to Keep (1975) ... Festus
- Hard Labor (1975) ... Festus (credit only)
 1973 Robin Hood
Nutsy - A Vulture (voice)
 1964 Cheyenne Autumn
 1964 Death Valley Days (TV Series)
Skinner Graydon
- Graydon's Charge (1964) ... Skinner Graydon
 1961-1963 Ripcord (TV Series)
Jim Buckley / Ken Buckley
- Man on a Mountain (1963) ... Jim Buckley
- Wrong Way Down (1963) ... Jim Buckley
- Where Do Elephants Go to Die? (1963) ... Jim Buckley
- The Well (1963) ... Jim Buckley
- The Trouble with Denny Collins (1963) ... Jim Buckley
 1962 How the West Was Won
Cpl. Ben (uncredited)
 1959-1962 Have Gun - Will Travel (TV Series)
Lucky Laski / Tom Strickland / Monk / ...
- Pandora's Box (1962) ... Lucky Laski
- Soledad Crossing (1961) ... Tom Strickland
- Love's Young Dream (1960) ... Monk
- The Naked Gun (1959) ... Skinner Monk
- The Posse (1959) ... Curley
 1961 The Aquanauts (TV Series)
Head Waiter / Horton
- The Diana Adventure (1961) ... Head Waiter
- The Stakeout Adventure (1961) ... Horton
 1961 Two Rode Together
Greeley Clegg
 1961 Sea Hunt (TV Series)
- The Octopus Story (1961) ... Dean
 1961 Rawhide (TV Series)
Vic Slade
- Incident of the Lost Idol (1961) ... Vic Slade
 1960 Wagon Train (TV Series)
Kyle Cleatus / Pappy Lightfoot
- The Colter Craven Story (1960) ... Kyle Cleatus
- The Horace Best Story (1960) ... Pappy Lightfoot
 1960 Perry Mason (TV Series)
Tim Durant
- The Case of the Clumsy Clown (1960) ... Tim Durant
 1960 The Alamo
Capt. Almeron Dickinson
 1960 Freckles
 1960 My Dog, Buddy
Dr. Lusk
 1959 The Killer Shrews
Jerry Farrell
 1959 The Horse Soldiers
Cpl. Wilkie
 1959 The Young Land
Lee Hearn
 1959 Escort West
Trooper Burch
 1958 The Last Hurrah
Monsignor Killian
 1958 The Missouri Traveler
Fred Mueller
 1957 The Growler Story (Short)
Captain Howard W. Gilmore
 1957 The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (TV Series)
Major Hendericks
- Warpath (1957) ... Major Hendericks (uncredited)
 1957 The Wings of Eagles
John Dale Price
 1956 Spring Reunion
 1956 5 Steps to Danger
FBI Agent Jim Anderson (uncredited)
 1956 The Searchers
Charlie McCorry
 1955 Mister Roberts
 1955 The Long Gray Line
Undetermined Secondary Role (uncredited)
 1952 The Quiet Man
Dermot Fahy (uncredited)
 1951 Fighting Coast Guard
Ken - Member Sons of the Pioneers
 1951 Don Daredevil Rides Again
Lee Hadley
 1950 Rio Grande
Donnelly - Regimental Singer (uncredited)
 1950 Everybody's Dancin'
Ken - Member Sons of the Pioneers (as Sons of the Pioneers)
 1949 Call of the Forest
Bob Brand
 1949 Stallion Canyon
Curt Benson
 1949 Riders of the Pony Express
Tom Blake - posing as Tom Bledsoe
 1947 Over the Santa Fe Trail
Curt Mason
 1946 Lone Star Moonlight
Curt Norton
 1946 Singing on the Trail
Curt Stanton
 1946 Cowboy Blues
Curt Durant
 1946 That Texas Jamboree
Curt Chambers
 1946 Throw a Saddle on a Star
Curt Walker
 1945 Out of the Depths
Buck Clayton
 1945 Song of the Prairie
Dan Tyler
 1945 Rhythm Round-Up
Jimmy Benson
 1941 Shep Fields and His New Music with Ken Curtis (Short)
Ken Curtis - Band Singer
Show Show Producer (3 credits)
Show Show Soundtrack (17 credits)
Show Show Thanks (1 credit)
Show Show Self (11 credits)
Show Show Archive footage (13 credits)

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Personal Details

Other Works:

Single: "Five Years" / "Violets For Your Fur" (R-Dell Records) See more »

Publicity Listings:

1 Biographical Movie | See more »

Alternate Names:

Sons of the Pioneers


5' 11" (1.8 m)


Torrie Ahern Connelly  (his death) | See more »


John Ford (aunt or uncle)

Did You Know?

Personal Quote:

I'm really proud of Gunsmoke (1955). We put on a good show every week, one that families could all watch together without offending anyone.


Refused an offer to appear as Festus Haggen in the movie Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge (1987), which reunited James Arness, Amanda Blake, Buck Taylor and Fran Ryan from the original series. Money was the issue. Producer John Mantley, interviewed for TV Guide when the movie aired, said Curtis had demanded double what Blake got; other sources say Mantley was at fault in offering Curtis an insultingly ... See more »


His beard. See more »

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