Why did Burt Reynolds leave Gunsmoke?

Burt Reynolds left Gunsmoke because Milburn Stone convinced him to leave so that he could focus on his film career instead.

Gunsmoke is an old western television show that really introduced many of the elements that we know the genre for today.

Burt Reynolds appeared in three seasons of Gunsmoke as Quint Asper, but he eventually left the show to focus on his film career.

Is Gunsmoke worth the watch?

The Gunsmoke television series first aired in 1955 and it is one of the old-school shows that people from that era remember watching fondly.

Younger people may also remember it as a landmark for how television and programming has changed over the years. Either way, this classic holds a lot of nostalgic feelings for many of its viewers to this day.

The show follows United States Marshal, Matt Dillon, who is played by James Arness, as he tries his best to keep Dodge City in the Wild West under his control.

This show ushered in a new era for Westerns in the United States and it features all of the tropes that we now consider synonymous with the genre, such as brawls, gunfights, cattle rustling, and bank fraud.

Not to mention the inherent charm of watching a show that began in black and white, which definitely makes it worth the watch if you are a fan of old Western films.

Why did Burt Reynolds leave Gunsmoke?

Gunsmoke was particularly successful initially because of the following that came from the radio series that it was based on and how the beloved characters were translated into film for television.

One of the actors that really managed to make his character a fan-favourite, even though he was somewhat side-lined for most of the show, is Burt Reynolds.

Burt joined the cast of Gunsmoke in its eighth season in an episode titled “Quint Asper Comes Home”, where he played none other than Quint Asper.

Burt’s incredible on-screen talent and charisma quickly made him one of the most beloved characters on the show, and fans were devastated when he left the show suddenly after just three years.

There were some rumours that because of Burt’s public disdain of his other co-stars on different projects in the past, him leaving the show could have been the result of some unknown back-stage drama.

However, even though Burt’s co-star, Milburn Stone, who played the role of Doc Adams on Gunsmoke, was the one who encouraged him to leave, there were no sinister hidden motives behind this.

Milburn told Reynolds that he should leave the show to pursue roles in films that would propel his career forward and this is why he left.

How long was Burt on Gunsmoke?

Burt had a fairly short stint on Gunsmoke, as he only joined the cast in the eighth season of the show in 1962 and left three years later in 1965. This means that he only appeared in 50 episodes over the course of the three seasons of the show that he was in.

Although he had such limited appearances over the course of the show, his character, Quint Asper, is still a character that many people remember from Gunsmoke to this day.

Despite the fact that the creators of the show had a tendency to push his character to the side, even in the few episodes that he was in, out of fear that he would completely steal the episode.

Was there drama between Reynolds and his co-stars in Gunsmoke?

Just before Burt joined the cast of Gunsmoke, he had left another project because of a behind-the-scenes fight with Darren McGavin on Riverboat.

Reynolds was very public about his dislike for Darren, and he did not hold back about his feelings in interviews for years after the fact. This is what made many people suspicious about his true reasons for leaving Gunsmoke.

However, from interviews with Burt and the rest of the cast, it seems like they all enjoyed working together on the show very much and that Burt really did just leave so that he could put all of his energy into working on films instead of television.

Did Reynolds end up being successful as a movie star?

It seems like Burt’s gamble to leave Gunsmoke to pursue larger movie roles really paid off in the long run. Over the years, he went on to play many memorable roles in popular films, including:

  • Deliverance
  • White Lightning
  • The Longest Yard
  • Smokey and the Bandit
  • Boogie Nights
  • Evening Shade

Burt even won a Golden Globe and Emmy for his work in Evening Shade, as well as a Golden Globe for Boogie Nights, with many other nominations over the years.