Amanda Blake – Age, Career, Marriages, Cause Of Death

Redheaded Actresses
Amanda Blake

When an actor is born in 1989 and she makes waves today, no one will be surprised. She is old enough. But when you die in 1989 and still make waves today, then there is something about you. And this is what this post is about – the life and career of Amanda Blake and if in the cause of this, we find something that will help explain why she is still popular today, then we have earned more than our pay.

Here are all the things you need to know about Amanda Blake “The Gunsmoke” actor.

Amanda Blake – age

Amanda Blake was born Beverly Louise Neill in Buffalo, New York. She was born as the only child to a banker father and a telephone operating mother. She was born in February 1929. Her ancestors came from Britain; she is of Scottish and English and one of her ancestors is a certain Catherine Moore Barry the heroine of the American War of Independence.

While she was in High School her parents relocated to the West Coast where she completed her High School in Claremont, California. She went ahead to study at Pomona College but this time, she didn’t finish. Her theater commitments interrupted.

Amanda Blake – career

Amanda Blake became her acting career in 1950 in the film “Stars In My Crown” . A prophetic title as she went on to become a star in the crown of an illustrious career. A series of uncredited and small roles in films and TVs, she became involved in what turned out to be her most defining act in the industry which spanned three decades. She began Miss Kitty in “Gunsmoke” which is referred to as “among the best shows of any kind and any time”.

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The series began on radio in 1952 up until 1962. It was actually in 1955 that the TV aspect became a regular in 1955 on CBS. In all, the series lasted for 20 TV seasons and nearly 700 episodes. It came to an end in 1975 and was one of the major TV events of the 20th century. Amanda Blake joined the show when it began airing on TV and was there up to the penultimate episode in 1974. In all, she was a part of the show for 425 episodes and for the rest of the century, she held the record for the longest role of a character played by one person on TV.

When she left “Gunsmoke” she largely went into semi-retirement with the statement to the effect that “Nineteen years is a hell of a long time for someone to be stuck behind a bar”. She had TV film roles, Game Show appearances, documentary and feature movies, the last being an episode of “The New Dragnet” in 1989.

Amanda is was in 1968 inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.


Amanda Blake has been married five times. And of all her marriages, her union with “Gunsmoke” is the one that lasted the most – 19 years. In fact, all her marriages to men combined fall short of the number of the years she was with her one true love – “Gunsmoke”.

Her first marriage was to film director Don Whitman in 1954. She had just joined the movie industry and was still a small fish in the budding sea that was Hollywood in the 1950s. The two divorced in 1956. The union produced no child. The star didn’t remarry again till the next century. She got married to Jason Seymour Day Jr (he’s no senator, don’t be fooled by the longish name – he was an Arizona cattleman). The marriage ended in divorce in 1967. The union produced no child.

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Amanda Blake’s third marriage was her longest. She married Frank Gilbert the writer and producer almost as soon as she left Jason Seymour Day Jr. Her marriage with Mr. Gilbert lasted for five years. Before the marriage ended in 1982, Frank and his wife had a curious commitment to raising Cheetahs. Cheetahs, those wild animals. Yes, they raised them ad sold them to zoos. The union produced no child.

Her last marriage was to Mark Edward Spaeth was the shortest. The two married in April 1984 and remained man and wife up until his death just a month after his first wedding anniversary. The union produced no child. This was her last union.

Net worth

Amanda Blake didn’t make millions of her career. She was in Hollywood when the industry hadn’t become the tens of billions of dollars industry it is today. When she died, Amanda Blake was worth 500 thousand dollars. There is no need to begin to calculate what this could have worth today. Even in the best of times, the Hollywood reward system hasn’t been without its many unfair treatments.

Amanda Blake – cause of death

Amanda Blake was addicted to cigarettes and smoked two to three packs every day since she became an adult. Two to three packs every f-wording day! In 1977, she was diagnosed with oral cancer for which earned her support for the American Cancer Society for which she was awarded a Courage Award by President Reagan himself. She underwent surgery.

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Amanda Blake who would have been 80 today, died of cancer in Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento. Her death certificate reads: “Cardio-pulmonary arrest due to liver failure and CMV Hepatitis”, but later on, it emerged in the media that she died of AIDS. This is not proven nor official.

Amanda Blake’s legacy

She lived a life that many will remember for her charitable causes. She was a founding member of the Performing Animal Welfare Society which seeks to rescue abandoned and abused animals. She was one of the founders of the Arizona Animal Welfare League, one of the oldest no-kill animal shelters in the States. She devoted time, expertise, and money to animal causes. She was at one time, a board member of the Humane Society of the United States, based in Washington DC.

In 1997, for her massive contributions to animal causes, she was honored with the creation of Amanda Blake Memorial Wildlife Refuge in Herald California.

And the biggest legacy is the tens of thousands of people who search for her on Google every month.

Image source: Find A Grave

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Staff Editor

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