Milburn Stone was born in 1904 in central Kansas, fittingly not far from Dodge City. He left home as a teenager to find work in traveling repertory troupes. Appearing in the Vaudeville circuit and on Broadway, he landed in Hollywood by the mid-1930s.
For two decades, he played everything from bit parts to leads in “B” movies such as Federal Bullets (1937) and serials such as Tailspin Tommy.
In 1955, Stone was cast as Doc Adams in the TV version of Gunsmoke, which had been a successful radio series since 1952. The show would finally give Stone a steady job – and then some. The crusty but sympathetic Doc Adams hung out his shingle in Gunsmoke’s Dodge City for 20 years. Between presiding over births and treating the requisite gunshot wounds, he could often be found counseling Marshal Dillon, bemusing Miss Kitty or needling regulars like Chester and Festus over beers at The Longbranch Saloon. Doc Adams was a character who seems unimaginable now without Milburn Stone to embody him. Stone’s portrayal earned him an Emmy in 1968.