Dennis Weaver dies

Feb 28, 2006 by Ian Evans

Dennis Weaver, the beloved actor who starred in TV classics Gunsmoke and McCloud, died Friday at the age of 81. He died of complications from cancer.

He was cast as Chester in Gunsmoke in 1955. He initially played the role for seven years. When pilots focused on him failed, he returned to the series on a limited basis for two more seasons. He won an Emmy for the role in 1959.

He followed Gunsmoke with Gentle Ben in 1966. That series ran for two seasons.

From 1970 to 1977, Weaver played a role that he called “the most satisfying role of my career.” In McCloud, Weaver played a lawman from Taos, New Mexico who was on an exchange with the NYPD.

Offscreen, Weaver was dedicated to the environment and eradicating world hunger. Even his home, a solar-powered structure composed of recycled tires and cans, showed his dedication to his causes.