Amanda Blake

Family tree of Amanda Blake

Actor

AmericanBorn Beverly Louise Neill

American actress

Born on February 20, 1929 in Buffalo, New York , United States

Died on August 16, 1989 in Sacramento, California , United States

Family tree

Report an error

This form allows you to report an error or to submit additional information about this family tree: Amanda BLAKE (1929)

More information

Amanda Blake (born Beverly Louise Neill, February 20, 1929 – August 16, 1989) was an American actress best known for the role of the red-haired saloon proprietress "Miss Kitty Russell" on the western television series Gunsmoke. Along with her fourth husband, Frank Gilbert, she ran one of the first successful programs for breeding cheetahs in captivity.


...   Amanda Blake (born Beverly Louise Neill, February 20, 1929 – August 16, 1989) was an American actress best known for the role of the red-haired saloon proprietress "Miss Kitty Russell" on the western television series Gunsmoke. Along with her fourth husband, Frank Gilbert, she ran one of the first successful programs for breeding cheetahs in captivity.


Early life
Amanda Blake was born Beverly Louise Neill in Buffalo, New York, the only child of Jesse and Louise (née Puckett) Neill. Her father was a banker. Blake was a telephone operator and briefly attended Pomona College before she took up acting.Catherine Moore ″Kate" Barry (1752–1823), one of Amanda's ancestors, was a heroine of the American Revolutionary War. She warned local patriots of Banastre Tarleton's approach, giving them time to group and prepare for the Battle of Cowpens (January 17, 1781), a major American victory that helped pave the way for the British defeat at Yorktown.


Career

In the late 1940s, Blake was signed to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as the studio saw her as its next Greer Garson. She appeared in a few Hollywood films, such as the 1952 western Cattle Town and in the starring role of Miss Robin Crusoe, a 1954 adaptation of the Robinson Crusoe adventure. In 1954, she appeared in A Star Is Born.Blake became best known for her 19-year stint as the saloon-keeper Miss Kitty on the television series Gunsmoke from 1955 to 1974. On February 27, 1974, Blake brought a lion named Kemo on to the Gunsmoke set.Because of her continuing role on television, Blake rarely had time for films. She did appear on a number of television shows, including a recurring comedy routine on The Red Skelton Show, as a panelist on the long-running Hollywood Squares, Tattletales, and the 1970s revival of Match Game, as well as comedy appearances on the Dean Martin Celebrity Roast.
In 1957, Blake guest-starred as Betty Lavon-Coate in the episode titled "Coate of Many Colors" on Rod Cameron's crime drama, State Trooper. Later, after a Gunsmoke reunion film, she made two feature-film appearances: in The Boost, a drug-addiction drama starring James Woods and Sean Young, and B.O.R.N, both in 1988.
In 1968, Blake was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. She was the third performer inducted, after Tom Mix and Gary Cooper, selected in 1958 and 1966, respectively.


Personal life
Blake married Don Whitman in 1954 and divorced him in 1956. After the divorce from Whitman, she would go to the 'saloon set' of Gunsmoke. Blake felt like it was home to her on the days when she was not needed. She married Jason Seymour Day Jr. in 1964 and divorced him in 1967. Blake married Frank Gilbert in 1967 and divorced him in 1982. She married Mark Edward Spaeth in 1984. Spaeth died in 1985.


Animal welfare
After Gunsmoke, Blake went into semi-retirement at her home in Phoenix, Arizona, and took on few film or television projects. She instead devoted more time to her animals. She had been known for bringing her pet lion, Kemo, onto the Gunsmoke set. Kemo lived in an animal compound at her home, at which she and husband Frank Gilbert ran an experimental breeding program for cheetahs. They were some of the first to breed cheetahs successfully in captivity; they raised seven generations of cheetahs.Blake joined with others in 1971 to form the Arizona Animal Welfare League, today the oldest and largest "no-kill" animal shelter in the state. In 1985, she helped finance the start-up of the Performing Animal Welfare Society and devoted a great deal of time and money in support of its efforts, including travels to Africa. Blake reportedly was a one-time board member of the Humane Society of the United States. In 1997, the Amanda Blake Memorial Wildlife Refuge opened at Rancho Seco Park in Herald, California. The refuge provides sanctuary for free-ranging African hoofed wildlife, most of which were originally destined for exotic animal auctions or hunting ranches.


Declining health and death
Blake was a heavy cigarette smoker and had surgery for oral cancer in 1977. She became a supporter of the American Cancer Society and made fundraising appearances throughout the country. In 1984, she was the recipient of the society's annual Courage Award, which was presented to her by then U.S. President Ronald Reagan. The popular media later widely reported that Blake's doctor claimed that she had actually died of AIDS. Her close friends have insisted that she was not a drug user or sexually promiscuous, and that she may have acquired the disease from a former husband. On August 16, 1989, Blake died of liver failure brought on by viral hepatitis at Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento, California.


Filmography


References


Citations


Sources
Aaker, Everett (2017). Television Western Players, 1960-1975: A Biographical Dictionary. New York City: McFarland & Company. p. 1810. ISBN 978-1476662503.
Green, Stanley (1990). Hollywood Musicals Year by Year. Milwaukee: Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 188. ISBN 978-0634007651.


External links
Amanda Blake at IMDb
Amanda Blake at AllMovie
Amanda Blake Gunsmoke.net



Biography from Wikipedia (see original) under licence CC BY-SA 3.0


 

Geographical origins

The map below shows the places where the ancestors of the famous person lived.

Loading... An error has occured while loading the map.