Burt Reynolds said that Milburn Stone gave him the ''courage to leave'' Gunsmoke

Reynolds called Stone "a surrogate father"

As a parent, it can sometimes feel daunting to watch your children leave the nest. But once you set them free, they'll finally have the opportunity to truly fly. 

The cast of Gunsmoke wasn't technically a family, but with the amount of time they spent together, they might as well have been. This was especially true for Milburn Stone and Burt Reynolds. While Reynolds was only in the series for roughly three seasons, he came to admire Stone and view the older actor as a kind of caretaker.

In an interview with the Red Deer Advocate, Reynolds confessed, "Milly was like a surrogate father to me. He was an extraordinary man."

Despite his relatively short time spent as a member of the Gunsmoke cast, Reynolds still had fond memories of his time with Stone years after he left. He said, "One of the most enjoyable evenings of my life was a night I got with Milly and Eddie Foy Sr," Eddie Foy Sr., like Milburn Stone, was a seasoned actor. Reynolds continued, "They were doing burlesque routines and one would spark the other to a story. They danced." 

Like any family, Reynolds also mourned his costars after they had passed away. The actor said, "It's hard to believe that Milly is gone, Amanda, Kenny Curtis — all these wonderful people."

Reynolds also credited Stone with acting as a guiding force during one of the more pivotal moments in his career — his departure from Gunsmoke.

He said, "It was a time when I was making up my mind about what I wanted to do. Milly said to me, 'You're a movie star. Get the hell out of here! Go do it!" So Reynolds left the series and enjoyed a career as a film star, but never forgot how he wound up there. He continued, "Milly gave me the courage to leave, and I don't regret it."

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10 Comments

SeattleNative 3 months ago
Now I'm really curious to know who the Gunsmoke crew favored over Reynolds. That would be a story I'd read.
mtmcgrat 4 months ago
Reynolds rarely gets credit as a great actor….but producers had to love the guy….because his movies always made huge revenues way more than budget…again and again and again. That’s greatness.
Runeshaper 4 months ago
Milburn Stone was a GREAT man! Glad to read how he and Burt got along, and the positive impact the friendship had on Burt. This is a very heartwarming story.
GOOSEYGOOSE9 4 months ago
Burt reynolds went on to star in movies like deliverance. And smokey and the bandit.
LynCarrigan 4 months ago
Quint was an interesting character and fit into the Gunsmoke family. He did thst fun little thing I like - he could slide up on a horse with no help from a stirrup or anything, what all Indians did since they used no saddles.
Andybandit 4 months ago
BR should have stayed a little longer. I liked him on Gunsmoke.
justjeff 4 months ago
They meant Eddie Foy, JUNIOR. The Senior Eddie Foy died on February 16, 1928...
seltaeb 4 months ago
Never heard this contrived story before 🤔
Suzies1952 4 months ago
Glad Reynolds left only person ever on gun smoke I didn’t like
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