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.
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.
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...
There's probably more?