Milburn Stone

1904 - 1980

Character actor Milburn Stone, the beloved "Doc Adams" on TV's long-running western classic Gunsmoke (1955), was born in Kansas on July 5, 1904. Acting must have been in his blood as the nephew of Broadway comedian Fred Stone for Milburn left home as a teenager to find work with touring repertory troupes. Emulating his famous uncle Fred, he appeared in vaudeville as part of a song-and-dance team called "Stone and Strain." Following a minor appearance on Broadway in "The Jayhawkers," Milburn moved to Los Angeles in 1935 to try his luck in films. He toiled for years in mostly unbilled parts for 'poverty row' Monogram Pictures, apprenticing in a number of background roles as both benign fellows (clerks, reporters, sailors, detectives) and bad guys (convicts, robbers, henchmen). Out of the blue he would nab a heroic film lead in films as Federal Bullets (1937) or serial thrillers as The Great Alaskan Mystery (1944) and The Master Key (1945), then invariably go right back to unbilled status

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