7 father-son duos who both appeared on Gunsmoke

Did you spot the Howards, Russells, Carradines and Taylors?

Gunsmoke aired for an astonishing twenty seasons, over the span of two decades. Multiple generations grew up watching the most popular Western.

And, because it ran for so long, multiple generations of actors appeared on the show.

Hollywood had its fair share of acting families, and many of them worked in Westerns. It seems like every working actor in town appeared on Gunsmoke, so naturally, there were some father-son duos on the series. But there could have more! Ed Begley appeared on the show, but not his son, Ed Begley Jr. Alan Reed Jr. popped up in Dodge, but not his pop, Alan Reed, best known as the voice of Fred Flintstone.

We could go on. But here are some father-son duos who both appeared on Gunsmoke.

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1. Buck Taylor and Dub Taylor


Buck was a major player in the cast in the later Seventies seasons. His deputy character Newly O'Brien quickly became a fan favorite. Though he grew up in Hollywood, Buck had no dreams of showbiz as a kid — he was a champion gymnast. He might have made the '64 Olympics had it not been for a shoulder injury. After a stint in the Navy, Buck decided to follow dad's footsteps. Dub Taylor's memorably mug appeared in dozens of films over his half-century career. He was in both Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Back to the Future III!

2. David Carradine and John Carradine


The Carradine clan has produced generations of fascinating performers. Patriarch John Carradine was equally adept at horror, Westerns and Shakespeare. His kids, Robert (Revenge of the Nerds), Keith (Dexter) and David (Kung Fu) each carved unique careers. David was the only kid to appear on Gunsmoke (as Clint in "Lavery"), years after his dad made two guest-spots in the 1950s.

3. Kurt Russell and Bing Russell


Kurt Russell is now an icon, partly because we've been seeing him act his entire life. His father Bing is best known for his recurring role as Deputy Clem Foster on Bonanza, but the baseball fanatic worked a lot of Westerns. Bing had eight Gunsmoke stories to his credit. Young Kurt was in two episodes, with a ten year gap between them. They never worked together.  

4. Ron Howard and Rance Howard


The Howards — Rance, Ronny and Clint — are best associated with Mayberry, but all three also took their turns in Dodge City. Clint can be seen in "Murdoch." Ron turns up in the clutches of Matt Dillon in "Charlie Noon." Rance one-upped his boys — he was in two episodes, "Jenny" and "In Performance of Duty."

5. Victor French and Ted French


Victor French was a frequent and favorite guest-star, appearing in 18 episodes of Gunsmoke. Due to his look, particularly his thick mustache and beard, he often played bad dudes, like the corrupt sheriff Bo Harker and vengeful rancher Leonard Parker. The elder French, Ted, had been a regular in western flicks in the 1940s, also often playing a henchman. His final screen appearance came on Gunsmoke, in "Stryker," seen here.

6. Lee J. Lambert and Jack Lambert


With his sunken cheeks and perfect sneer, Jack Lambert made for a brilliant bad guy. The character actor played a killer on Gunsmoke several times. He was in seven episodes total. His kid, Lee J. Lambert, made his acting debut on the show. He had a short-lived career, but did make memorable turns on Land of the Giants, Bonanza and Adam-12.

7. Harry Carey Jr. and Paul Fix


Harry Carey Jr. was, obviously, the biological son of Harry Carey, one Hollywood's earliest cowboy heroes. His character "Cheyenne Harry" starred in a series of silent oaters. But you might not realize that Carey Jr. was also the son-in-law of Paul Fix. He married Marilyn Fix. Paul portrayed the beloved Marshal Micah Torrance on The Rifleman (not to mention the first Enterprise doctor in Star Trek) but also turned in in five Gunsmoke episodes.

8. Bonus: Jenny Lee Arness and James Arness


We should mention Marshal Matt Dillon himself! Arness' son, Rolf, was a World Surfing Champion, more occupied by waves than Westerns. However, his daughter, Jenny Lee, did make two minor guest appearances on Gunsmoke (billed under the family's authentic surname spelling, as Jenny Lee Aurness). You can see her here in "Aunt Thede." Jenny would tragically take her own life in 1975, while the tabloids sleazily attributed to Cher's marriage. 

SEE MORE: 8 married couples who appeared on Gunsmoke


Dodge City is for lovers.


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MJQ 28 months ago
I feel, Gunsmoke was such a success due to the talents of John Meston. He dedication to historic and true life situations made that post-Civil war West come alive for another post-war generation. He was exacting...down to geography and historical events. Amazing writer.
DeborahRoberts 31 months ago
I did a double-take on Harry Carey Jr. with Paul Fix until you explained the in-law relationship. On that note, Gunsmoke's Festus was married many years to Barbara Ford, daughter of iconic director John Ford, and appeared as a supporting player in many of Ford's films, including "The Searchers."
MizDee 33 months ago
Bing Russell and Kurt Russell did star together in "The Fugitive" 'In a Plain Paper Wrapper'. Bing played a police officer and Kurt played a young teen who ordered a gun in the mail; he and his friends were going to catch Richard Kimble, but things didn't go as planned. It was cute the way Bing told Kurt and two of the others to get in the police car, and he sort of swatted at Kurt- you have to watch for it. I thought that showed how pleased he was with Kurt, who was a very good actor.
As an aside, I really enjoy 'The Fugitive'. The stories are so well-written, and the acting is excellent. Set your DVR if you aren't a night owl. Monday mornings at 2 a.m. (EST) on ME-TV.
DeborahRoberts MizDee 31 months ago
I've been watching "The Fugitive"--familiar with the story, of course, but had never seen the series. It's wonderful! The acting is as good and the stories are as exciting as most of today's series.
justjeff 33 months ago
7. Harry Carey Jr. and Paul Fix is really a stretch, along with 8. Bonus: Jenny Lee Arness and James Arness, considering the title of this article is "7 father-son duos who both appeared on Gunsmoke".

If we're going to fudge on "father-son duos"... then how about:

Hedda Hopper and Paul Hopper
Barbara Hale and William Katt
Mary Martin and Larry Hagman
Frank Sinatra and Tommy Sands (Sands was married to Nancy Sinatra)
Kirk Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones (she's married to Michael Douglas)...

... and the list can go on forever (and probably will) if you really want to do so...
Moverfan justjeff 33 months ago
To add another set of in-laws, Roy Dotrice, who played Father on the TV series Beauty & The Beast (where they lived in the tunnels) was the father-in-law of the gentleman who originally played The Equalizer. (Edward, my dear man, what IS your last name?)
justjeff Moverfan 33 months ago
Woodward... I looked it up...
Moverfan justjeff 33 months ago
Thanks! I never watched the show, but I remembered it being on--always thought he was a handsome gentleman. And as soon as I started typing, his name went clear out of my head...and half of it refused to come back.
justjeff Moverfan 33 months ago
Don't feel bad... Once I thought I'd knew where it's at...but they moved it!
Moverfan 33 months ago
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Mike Moverfan 31 months ago
On The Benny Hill Show, Fred Scuttle (Benny) was asked "Who would be your favorite TV actor?"
Fred answered, "Edward Woodward would!"
(Try saying that fast ...)
Andybandit 33 months ago
Very cool story. I think Ron and Rance Howard look so much a like. Clint, I don't know who he looks like.
Andybandit Andybandit 33 months ago
I love when actor or actresses and their kids appear in shows.
Rebec56 Andybandit 33 months ago
Clint looks like his mom
Andybandit Rebec56 33 months ago
Thank you. I saw a picture of her on Google. Clint looks just her.
Andybandit 33 months ago
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DeborahRoberts Rebec56 31 months ago
Yes! Clint is the spitting image of his mother, while Ron looks just like his dad.
LoveMETV22 33 months ago
MeTV did a story on real-life siblings who appeared together on TV 4 years ago:


There's probably more?
Runeshaper 33 months ago
WOW! Lots of family duos here, which is AWESOME (-:
Michael 33 months ago
What about Clint Howard? Did he show up with his father?

In the second episode of "Kung Fu", John Carridine appears along with David. And so does Robert.
Michael 33 months ago
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