Actress Amanda Blake (born Beverly Louise Neill on February 20th, 1929 in Buffalo, New York) joined the cast of TV's Gunsmoke in 1955 and left the show after 19 years in 1974. The television series was canceled the following year (September of 1975) after having run on CBS for twenty seasons and a total of 633 episodes.
A cancer survivor who smoked two to three packs a day until 1980 when she was diagnosed with oral cancer, the actress died of liver failure in Sacramento, California on August 16th, 1989. She was 60 years old.
Blake did again appear as Kitty in Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge, a TV movie that aired on CBS in 1987. Her co-star James Arness also starred in the TV movie, returning in his original role as Matt Dillon.
The part of Kitty had originally been offered to an actress named Polly Bond, who had appeared in only two movies - Abilene Town in 1946 and Varieties on Parade in 1951 - but Bond turned it down, giving Blake what became her signature role.
On August 10th, 2012, the FCC ruled that Time Warner Cable had to broadcast independent Buffalo TV station WBBZ-TV on the channel lineup for both its digital and analog tiers, in response to Time Warner's request to carry it solely on the digital tier. The station airs episodes of Gunsmoke as well as other classic TV series in syndication such as Hawaiii Five-O and Perry Mason.
Here's a video clip below of an interview Amanda Blake did on The Mike Douglas Show shortly after her retirement and exit from Gunsmoke: