When Amanda Blake took on the role of Miss Kitty in “Gunsmoke” it was no short-term deal.
Blake would end up spending around 19 years in the popular Western TV show alongside fellow actors James Arness, Milburn Stone, and Ken Curtis. It ran for a total of 20 seasons before its cancellation in 1975.
Not only was she a long-term addition to the cast, but she was also a fan-favorite throughout her time on the show. She played the sassy and fun Long Branch Saloon owner. Throughout the show’s run, her character was also in a relationship with Marshal Matt Dillon. When Miss Kitty left the show, “Gunsmoke” was done the year after.
Are there any other actresses with as long of a run on a television series as Amanda Blake in “Gunsmoke?”
Amanda Blake and ‘Gunsmoke’ Record
Originally, “Gunsmoke” was a radio program before it was adapted for the screen. Georgia Ellis played Miss Kitty on the radio, but Amanda Blake was snatched up as Miss Kitty on TV.
She would soon become a Western-themed icon for her appearance in the show.
According to IMDb, Amanda Blake held the record for playing the same character for the longest time on TV. Her record was 19 years. However, she only held that record for a bit until someone else surpassed it.
Mariska Hargitay beat that record on the longstanding crime show, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” She has been playing Detective Olivia Benson since the show first aired in 1999. Hargitay has been playing the role of the New York detective for a little over two decades.
According to Insider, she received eight Emmy nominations and one win from her performance on the show.
Similar to Amanda Blake, both actresses were passionate and used their platforms to make a difference. Blake had one of the first successful programs to help breed cheetahs in captivity. She was an advocate for animal welfare and helped form the Arizona Animal Welfare League, which is the largest no-kill shelter in the state. Blake was also a member of the Humane Society of the United States. She was a lot more than an actress on “Gunsmoke.”
Hargitay is an advocate for sexual assault. The show itself often focused on different kinds of rape cases. She took this passion and started working as a rape crisis counselor and founded the Joyful Heart Association to assist survivors of sexual assault.
Longest Continous TV Actor
There have been countless actors that have played their popular characters for over a decade. From older shows like “Gunsmoke” and classic sitcoms to more modern shows like “Supernatural” and “NCIS.”
However, William Roache holds the world record for playing the same character for the longest period of time.
Roache is an English actor who plays Ken Barlow on the soap opera called “Coronation Street” since it first came on in 1960. He holds the Guinness World Record for the longest-serving male television star in a continuous role. He has played his character for over 60 years and is still doing so.