Gunsmoke's Doc Adams was a doc in real life too!
You'll never guess what city his honorary degree came from.
While he was still filming on Gunsmoke, Milburn Stone, who played Doc Adams, suffered three heart attacks. That didn't keep him down, though. He'd go on to receive open-heart surgery in 1971. That didn't keep him down, either. He'd go on to have a pacemaker implanted in December 1978, and guess what? Milburn Stone bounced back from that, too!
"Everyone tells me I look great," Stone said in a Gannett News Service wire, "which makes me wonder why I feel so bad."
For all Doc Adams' real-life health scares may not have deterred him from doing what he wanted, Stone's fans made sure the actor received his flowers while he could still smell them. Perhaps because of his ailing health, tributes began pouring in.
In 1977, Milburn Stone received an honorary doctorate degree from St. Mary of the Plains College, located in the real-life Dodge City, the same city that was used as the setting for Gunsmoke. The mayor of Dodge City proclaimed Milburn Stone Day and local fans turned out en masse.
"Now that I've got the honorary Ph. D. I guess I can call myself 'Doc' for real," said Milburn, reflecting on the honor. "I was really touched."
His connection to St. Mary of the Plains didn't stop with just the degree, though,
"They're going to build a Milburn Stone theater on campus and I've established a Milburn Stone scholarship there."
Stone was also bestowed with honorary memberships in the Ford County, Kansas Medical Society as well as the Kansas State Medical Society.