Ken Curtis Net Worth

March 18, 2023
2 mins read

Ken Wain Gates was born on 2 July 1916, in Lamar, Colorado USA, and was an actor and singer, probably best known for being a part of the long running western television series entitled “Gunsmoke” in which he played Festus Haggen. He was active in the industry from 1941 up to his death in 1991. All of his efforts helped put his net worth to where it is today.

How rich was Ken Curtis? As of late-2017, sources estimate a net worth that is at $5 million, mostly earned through a successful career in acting. He combined both his singing and acting career after finding his breakout in acting. These achievements ensured the position of his wealth before his passing.


Ken Curtis Net Worth $5 million


Ken attended Bent County High School, where played with the school’s football team as their quarterback. He also played the clarinet in the school band. After matriculating in 1935, he attended Colorado College aiming at a career in medicine, but left to instead pursue a career in music. From 1943, he served in the US Army for two years during World War II.

Early in his career, Curtis joined several bands, playing with the Tommy Dorsey Band and later Shep Fields and His New Music. In 1945, he signed a contract with Columbia Pictures to star in various musical Westerns, playing the romantic lead in most of his films. He was also the host of the radio program entitled “WWVA Jamboree”. His net worth increased as more opportunities started to open up for him. He joined the vocal group called “Sons of the Pioneers” as their lead singer from 1949 to 1952; one of their most popular songs was “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky”.

Ken then teamed up with director John Ford for various projects, which included “The Quiet Man”, “The Horse Soldiers”, “The Alamo” and Mister Roberts”. He was also a part of the three Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney produced films “The Searchers”, “The Missouri Traveler” and “The Young Land”. He also did production work, creating two low budget films, all adding to his net worth.

Aside from these, he made guest appearances in several Western television series including “Have Gun Will Travel”, plus a guest appearance in “Perry Mason”, and then “Gunsmoke” before eventually joining the show in the role of Festus. He became the longest serving deputy on the show, appearing for 11 years and a total of 304 episodes of the show. His net worth increased further, as he also participated in various Western-themed stage productions. After his run with the series, he lent his voice in the animated film ‘Robin Hood”, and appeared in the short-lived “The Yellow Rose”. In 1981, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. One of his last roles was the television production “Conagher”, in which he played an aging cattle rancher.

For his personal life, it is known that Ken married Lorraine Page in 1943 and the two met while he was under contract with Universal Studios. The marriage eventually ended and his second marriage was to Barbara Ford who is the daughter of director John Ford. They were married in 1952 and divorced in 1964. In 1966, he married Torrie Ahern Connelly and their marriage lasted until his death on 28 April 1991- he passed away in his sleep from a heart attack, at his home in Fresno, California. He had two children from his marriages.

Tom Ford

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