Explanation of Glenn Strange’s Decision to Leave Gunsmoke

After Glenn Strange’s sudden exit from Gunsmoke, the show struggled to find its footing.
Even though his health was deteriorating, Strange persisted in his role on the show until his death, with his last episodes airing after his death.
Glenn Strange was famous for playing the monster in classic Frankenstein films before becoming a popular TV bartender in the West.

When veteran character actor Glenn Strange abruptly quit the hit Western series Gunsmoke, it was like someone stepped off the set. In 1955, Gunsmoke began an extraordinary run on television, following the heroic efforts of Marshall Matt Dillon (James Arness) to uphold law and order in the lawless town of Dodge City, Kansas. Gunsmoke took advantage of the burgeoning demand for Westerns and elevated the already-promising television medium by testing the limits of what was then feasible. Featuring an ensemble cast that included numerous future stars, the series ran for 20 seasons.
Up until 1973, Glenn Strange played the role of bartender Sam Noonan on the long-running TV sitcom. Even though he was just a supporting character, Strange endeared himself to millions of viewers with his one-of-a-kind performances and hilarious banter with Kitty (Amanda Blake) and Marshall Dillon on Gunsmoke. Gunsmoke was never the same without Glenn Strange, even though the show continued for a little while after he left.

Prior to securing the part of Sam Noonan, Strange made guest appearances on Gunsmoke as two separate characters.

Gunsmoke is available onParamount+.
After appearing in more than 200 episodes of Gunsmoke, Glenn Strange decided to leave the program in 1972 due to his diagnosis of lung cancer. Though he was known for his villain performances, the large character actor enjoyed a welcome change of pace in his part as Sam Noonan on the iconic Western TV series.

Even after his death on September 20, 1973, viewers were rewarded to five more episodes featuring the beloved bartender that had been shot before his retirement, proving that Strange didn’t let his diagnosis stop him from performing to the fullest. Finally, Strange made his final appearance over a year after his death in Gunsmoke season 19, episode 11, “The Hanging of Newly O’Brien.”.
Strange Had Three Film Roles As The Classic Monster

Wrap up
The role of Frankenstein’s monster for Universal Studios catapulted Glenn Strange to stardom, though his portrayal of Sam Noonan on Gunsmoke won him millions of fans. Boris Karloff played the lead in 1931’s Frankenstein, but he retired from heavy makeup after three films to focus on other projects. After Lon Chaney Jr. played the part for one picture, Bela Lugosi, who had declined the part before, was cast in it. After that, in 1944’s House of Frankenstein, Glenn Strange was cast as the monster, a role he would reprise twice more.

In films like House of Dracula (1945) and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), Strange would make a lasting impression as the role’s protagonist with features like his distinctive mole and bushy eyebrows. Ironically, for decades, most Universal Monsters merchandise included the likeness of Strange, despite the fact that he was arguably the least famous actor to portray the part in the first Universal Monsters cycle.

Gregory William Mank’s book Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff: The Expanded Story of a Haunting Collaboration states that Karloff’s obituary in The New York Times inadvertently featured a picture of Strange in the monster role before Gunsmoke. This is because Strange became so associated with the role before Gunsmoke.

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