Here’s Who Took Miss Kitty Russell’s Place on ‘Gunsmoke’ After Amanda Blake Left

Gunsmoke actor Amanda Blake played Miss Kitty Russell for many years. She was a staple on the show since the television adaptation of the radio Western story first started. However, Blake didn’t stick around as long as some of her other co-stars, who managed to remain with the production until its completion. After Miss Kitty’s exit from Gunsmoke, they filled the void that she left with another character.

Amanda Blake’s Miss Kitty Russell left ‘Gunsmoke’ after season 19

'Gunsmoke' Amanda Blake as Miss Kitty Russell in a black-and-white picture leaning back on the top of a piano in front of a staircase
Amanda Blake as Miss Kitty Russell | CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

Blake started playing Miss Kitty on Gunsmoke at the same time that other principal cast members did. James Arness’ Matt Dillon, Milburn Stone’s Doc Adams, and Dennis Weaver’s Chester Goode are included in this list, as well. Gunsmoke connected so much with audiences because of the chemistry that developed between both the actors and the characters that they played.

Arness and Stone were the only two original cast members to remain on the show for all 20 seasons. Meanwhile, Weaver left at the end of season 9 to pursue other creative opportunities. Blake almost stuck around as long as Arness and Stone, lasting a total of 19 seasons. According to the Los Angeles Times, Blake said, “I was tired and it was time to go. It was the end of the trail. The show only lasted one more year without me.”

Fran Ryan replaced Amanda Blake’s Miss Kitty Russell on ‘Gunsmoke’ as Miss Hannah

Fran Ryan’s Miss Hannah replaced Blake’s Miss Kitty on Gunsmoke after her departure at the end of season 19. She took over the role as the owner of the Long Branch in the show’s final year for season 20 before CBS canceled the show without warning.

However, it wasn’t Ryan’s first time appearing on the show. She once played Mrs. Keller on Gunsmoke Season 17 Episode 24 called “The Wedding” in 1972. However, Ryan picked up the role of Hannah starting with season 20 episode 6 called “The Wiving” in 1974. She only starred in the role for a total of five episodes across the season.

Ryan’s final episode as Hannah in Gunsmoke was technically before the unexpected season finale. Her last performance on the Western television show was on season 20 episode 23 titled “Manolo” in 1975.

They both starred in ‘Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge’

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Blake’s Miss Kitty would ultimately see a return to the Gunsmoke series. CBS made five made-for-TV movies to capitalize on the show’s popularity after its demise. However, Blake only returned for the first movie, which was called Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge.

The surprising treat was that it saw both Miss Kitty and Hannah make a big return in the same film. It would also spell out the final time either of them would reclaim their roles. Nevertheless, Arness returned for the following four, which were subtitled The Last Apache, To the Last Man, The Long Ride, and One Man’s Justice.

CBS came to the decision to stop making these made-for-TV movies when the ratings started to slip, officially signaling the end of the series for good.