The late Amanda Blake was an American actress who passed away on August 16, 1989, at the age of 60. Born on February 20, 1929, as Beverly Louise Neill, she is most famous for her part in the TV series, Gunsmoke. Blake had a constant role as ‘Miss Kitty Russell’, a sassy salon proprietress. Her cause of death in 1986 has been rumored to be HIV, but medical reports have not backed this up and reports have confirmed it to have been a cardiopulmonary arrest; liver failure; Cytomegalovirus hepatitis.
Before her 19 year-long roles as ‘Miss Kitty Russell’ on the popular mid-90’s TV series, Gunsmoke, Amanda Blake had already made appearances in some films. Her first TV show was the 1952 Schlitz Playhouse: Double Exposure. In 1952, she appeared in Cattle Town and in 1954; she starred in Miss Robinson Crusoe, a version of the novel, Robinson Crusoe.
However, once her recurring role on Gunsmoke began, Blake’s film appearances dwindled. In 1957, Blake had a role in State Trooper. She has also appeared on other shows which include; The Red Skeleton Show, Hollywood Squares, and Match Game. In 1988 she appeared in two films, The Boost, and B.O.R.N. These films were done after a reunion film from the cast of Gunsmoke.
During Blake’s free time after her successful Gunsmoke stint, she fully focused on her love for animals. Her care for animals and animal welfare was already well known by her fellow castmates as the Gunsmoke cast and crew had often been surprised by visits from Blake’s pet lion, Kemo. Amanda Blake had taken it upon herself to try and raise Cheetahs in captivity and then donate them to zoos and was successful.
Seven generations of Cheetahs were bred in her animal compound. The Performing Animal Welfare Society was started up in 1985 with financial assistance from Blake. She was a huge supporter and even made the necessary travels to promote and assist the society, including trips to Africa.
Blake had a serious bout with cancer and went in for surgery in 1977 for oral cancer. This illness was mostly due to her continuous heavy smoking.
Blake has been married four times. Her first marriage to Dan Whitman lasted exactly 2 years with the couple’s wedding on 22nd August 1954 and divorcing on 21 August 1956. Jason Day, her second husband, was with her for 3 years; 1964-1967. Her third marriage to Frank Gilbert in 1967 was her longest lasting.
The couple stayed together 15 years until they got a divorce in 1982. Blake fourth and final marriage to Mark Edward Spaeth in 1984 sadly ended in tragedy with his death in May 1985. She is the only child of her parents and has no children. Blake was rumored to have died of AIDS, but medical reports do not support this claim.
In 1984, after being diagnosed with and going through surgery for oral cancer, Blake was presented with the Courage Award from the American Cancer Society by President Ronald Reagan. Amanda Blake was nominated a total 4 times for various awards with 3 wins. In 1970, 1971 and 1972, she received consecutive Golden Globe nominations for the 1955 show Gunsmoke. In 1985, she had been nominated for a Primetime Emmy for the show again. In 1985, 1972 and 1967, she won the Golden Boot awards & Western Heritage Awards for Gunsmoke.
How much is Amanda Blake Net Worth
Amanda Blake had an estimated net worth of $500 as of 1989, her time of death.
Amanda Blake was an American actress before her tragic death in 1989. She is most notable for her role in the mid 90’s TV series Gunsmoke. She played ‘Miss Kitty Russell’; a character in the show that was well liked and even earned her the nickname of ‘Kitty’. She was also an active wildlife activist and helped start up several wildlife societies.