(aka: Hugh Milburn Stone)
Born July 5, 1904 in Burrton, Kansas, son of Herbert Mack Stone and Laura Belfield Stone. The family moved from Burrton to nearby Frizell, Oklahoma when he was 3. Frizell is where he attended grade school. Upon the death of his father, his mother moved the family back to Burrton. He graduated in 1922 from Burrton High School in Burrton, Kansas. He was given a Congressional appointment to the US Naval Academy but declined the offer in favor of becoming an actor.
Acting in his blood
Milburn had a pedigree of drama as his uncle (some say his cousin) was Broadway comedian Fred Stone. Milburn was a vaudeville singer and dancer, part of the duo of Stone and Strain. He appeared on Broadway briefly in Sinclair Lewis' The Jayhawkers.
Movie star, kinda
Milburn Stone moved to Los Angeles, California in 1935 where he began a career in films, appearing in over 150 films during the next 4 decades. Many of the parts he had were stock players, uncredited roles. While he has a prolific filmography none of these roles brought Milburn fortune and fame.
The sweet smell of success
When Gunsmoke came his way in 1955, he was ready for the role of Dr. Galen 'Doc' Adams. He patterned his character after 2 doctors that practiced during the time frame where Gunsmoke was to have occurred. One of those 'Docs' had been his grandfather. He was in the western series from the beginning until its end in 1975, appearing in 379 of the show's 635 episodes. Milburn Stone and the star of the show, James Arness, were the only 2 cast members to stay with the show for its entire 20 year run. During the show's long run, he garnered an Emmy Award in 1968 (Best Supporting Actor). Due to health problems he missed only 7 episodes. He retired to his ranch near San Diego after the show was cancelled. In his career he is credited with being in over 150 productions aside from his work on Gunsmoke.
His portrayal of 'Doc' made an interesting character an unforgettable one. With his signature hat perched on his head he'd hold forth at the Longbranch Saloon, being civil enough. Inevitably someone (usually Festus Haggen, played by Ken Curtis) would set him off and crusty ol' Doc would start spewing fire and brimstone like Mount Vesuvius. Milburn made that part his own to the enjoyment of millions of faithful Gunsmoke fans.
Milburn Stone finally did earn the title 'Doc' when he was awarded an honorary doctorate from St. Mary of the Plains College, Dodge City, Kansas. He was also an Honorary Marshall in Dodge City, Kansas. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to the television industry. In 1981 he was inducted into The Western Performer's Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Milburn Stone was married to Nellie Morrison from 1925 until her death in 1938. They had one child, a daughter named Shirley. Milburn was later to marry Jane Garrison in 1942 (her dob November 23, 1912). They remained married until his death. He passed away from heart failure at La Jolla, California on June 12, 1980. She passed away on October 20, 2002 at Rancho Santa Fe, California.