The television series Gunsmoke ran from 1955 to 1975. The program was a great success for CBS and was one of the first TV Westerns targeted at adults. The main character was U.S. Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness), who lived in the Kansas frontier town of Dodge City.
The marshall and his deputies faithfully dealt with all the disputes and criminals that blew into town. Miss Kitty Russell was Dillon’s confidante and companion. For 19 of the show’s 20 seasons, actress Amanda Blake portrayed the proprietor of the neighborhood saloon and bordello.
However, the actor encountered difficulties following her fruitful run, including health issues that finally led to her demise. What was the reason of Amanda Blake’s passing, and why did her friends claim she had throat cancer?
Amanda Blake Cause of Death
Amanda Blake departed the television show that had made her famous in 1974. “I needed to leave because I was exhausted.” A decade later, she told the Los Angeles Times, “It was the end of the trail.”
Blake smoked two packs a day and had oral cancer surgery in 1977. Later, she got associated with the American Cancer Society and appeared on their behalf across the country.
At the age of 60, the Gunsmoke actress passed away on August 16, 1989, at Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento. Blake’s friends and the hospital first claimed that throat cancer was the cause of her death.
Months later, the Associated Press revealed she had throat cancer, but Sacramento internist Dr. Lou Nishimura insisted that ′′that wasn’t the reason she died.”
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He clarified that he had been treating her symptoms for a year prior to the celebrity’s passing and that the actress passed away as a result of AIDS-related complications.
He also put his signature on her death certificate, which said that Amanda Blake died from “cardiopulmonary arrest due to liver failure and CMV hepatitis,” according to the AP. CMV (cytomegalovirus) hepatitis is connected to AIDS, according to Nishimura. AIDS and cancer were mentioned as contributory reasons on her death certificate.
A tweet regarding the actress’ death:
I learned just now that Amanda Blake, Gunsmoke’s Miss Kitty, died at age 60 in 1989 of complications from AIDS. Her ex-husband had died of AIDS previously. She guest starred in the rebooted Dragnet just a few months before her death. pic.twitter.com/mZVUbpMCVR
— Derf Backderf @derfbackderf.bsky.social (@DerfBackderf) September 8, 2022
Blake’s AIDS virus infection is unknown to the doctor, who stated as much. Later, it was thought that she acquired it from her fifth husband, Mark Spaeth, who was 45 when he passed away from pneumonia in 1985.
The actor’s pals asked Mercy General Hospital spokesperson Jerri Ewen to declare cancer as the cause of Blake’s death, according to the AP.
It’s unclear why Amanda Blake’s official cause of death wasn’t mentioned in her friends’ public statement. However, due to unfavorable perceptions of those who carry the infection, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS, has a stigma associated with it.
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