With his steely gaze, gruff voice, and ever-present mustache, Milburn Stone embodied the role of Dr. Galen “Doc” Adams on television’s classic Western series Gunsmoke. He portrayed the dedicated frontier physician on CBS’s longest-running primetime drama for two decades. Yet even decades after his death, fans still wonder about the life and net worth of the man behind Doc. 

To know about Milburn Stone Net Worth and other information related to him, read our article till the end.

Early Life in Kansas

Born in 1904 in Burrton, Kansas, Milburn Stone (birth name: John Grespan Stone) grew up in various spots across the central Great Plains. His family moved wherever his father found work as a construction engineer on projects. During his teen years, the future actor lived in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and even for a spell in Santa Monica, California in the late 1910s. 

Milburn Stone Net Worth

Stone later claimed he participated in rodeos during his youth. Coupled with his rural upbringing, this perhaps laid the foundation for playing Western roles convincingly. While no confirmed records validate his rodeo career, the evidence does corroborate Stone attended the University of Kansas for a time. However, he left his studies prematurely to pursue acting.

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Milburn Stone’s Early Acting Career

In the late 1920s, Stone arrived in Los Angeles to test his mettle as a performer on stage and radio. He spent years acquiring small roles at local theatres before gaining adequate notice to secure representation. This allowed the struggling actor to obtain minor film roles, often uncredited, throughout the 1930s. 

Still, Stone persevered until landing a steady string of bigger parts—mostly Western characters—by the early 1940s. Films such as Branded Men (1940), Honky Tonk (1941), and The Woman of the Town (1943) helped establish his niche portraying rugged cowboys or stern authority figures. Consequently, Stone was in demand for similar roles in movies and especially on television over the following decades.

Big Break On Gunsmoke

After guest appearances on various shows in the 1950s, Stone won his biggest role as the unflappable physician Dr. Galen Adams on the TV series Gunsmoke. Set in the lawless cattle town of Dodge City, Kansas, during the late 1800s, Gunsmoke began as a radio program in 1952. The television incarnation arrived in 1955 and featured the determined Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness) striving to impose order amid chaos and violence. 

Milburn Stone

Stone’s “Doc” character was Dillon’s reliable friend and Dodge City’s primary medical practitioner. The American icon Charles “Doc” Adams, who helped establish some standards of medical ethics, inspired his name. As Doc, Stone offered a steady, compassionate presence to offset the mayhem surrounding him. For an actor known for playing tough-talking hombres, Doc allowed Stone to reveal a thoughtful, caring dimension as well. Gunsmoke quickly became a hit and elevated Stone to stardom in his early 50s.

Long Television Career

Gunsmoke dominated Stone’s career in the 1960s through the mid-1970s, logging an astounding 635 episodes. He also appeared in other Westerns like Death Valley Days during that same prolific span. Additionally, Stone portrayed different characters in a few Gunsmoke television movies broadcast after the network canceled the regular weekly series in 1975. He reprised Doc Adams no less than three times in made-for-TV Gunsmoke films between 1987 and 1994.  

Stone acted in around 40 theatrical films and well over 1,000 TV programs during his lengthy Hollywood career. Some became respected classics of American cinema—like The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)—and television, securing Stone’s legacy. Even so, to most fans, Stone remains first and foremost Doc Adams from Gunsmoke.

Personal Life

Stone married Jane Garrison in 1948. They later adopted a daughter together, Shirley Jean, in 1961. At age 70, after surviving lung cancer and pneumonia previously, Stone died from a heart attack in 1980, soon after appearing in his final Gunsmoke TV film. Known as an outdoorsman off-camera, he enjoyed hunting and fishing in his spare time. He also partnered with Buck Knives to market the signature “Milburn Stone Knife” for sportsmen. Royalties from the knives and Stone’s ample gunsmoke earnings over 20+ years provided him with financial security in his final decade.

Birth DateJuly 5, 1904
Birth nameHugh Milburn Stone
Nick NameMilly, Doc
FatherHerbert Mack Stone
MotherLaura Belfield Stone
Height5′ 8″ (1.73 m)
SpouseFrances Jane Garrison (December 7, 1946 – June 12, 1980) (his death)
Frances Jane Garrison (February 11, 1940 – 1941) (divorced)
Ellen (Nellie) Morrison (1925 – October 10, 1937) (her death, 1 child)
ChildrenShirley Stone
BirthplaceBurrton, Kansas, USA
DiedJune 12, 1980
Death PlaceLa Jolla, San Diego, California, USA (heart attack)

Milburn Stone Net Worth at Death 

By conservative estimates, Milburn Stone had accumulated a net worth nearing $10 million when he died in 1980—the equivalent of $30 million today when adjusted for inflation. In addition to meaty residuals from over 600 Gunsmoke episodes still airing regularly in syndication, Stone earned up to $100,000 per Gunsmoke movie in which he appeared from 1987 onward. Plus, he received unknown royalties from concurrent re-airings of episodes on other international channels for years.

Milburn Stone Net Worth

While Stone relished the outdoorsy Doc Adams image, he amassed his small fortune not from rugged living but by leveraging his specialized acting talents. Despite being typecast, Stone shrewdly invested his earnings to guarantee wealth late in his career. Ultimately, Stone and his estate continued benefiting from his enduring Gunsmoke fame long after the actor died.

Milburn Stone Legacy

The desolate Dodge City Boot Hill cemetery, where so many Gunsmoke desperados met their demise, has become an attraction for fans. The family of Milburn Stone made certain to relocate his remains to this famous burial ground after the actor’s death…fitting for Doc Adams. The grave markers for “Doc”, Dillon, Kitty, and other Gunsmoke characters beloved by viewers for generations look remarkably authentic.  

Of course, Milburn Stone was but an actor talented enough to convincingly portray an iconic American television personality. Yet the nostalgic tourism connected to Doc’s Dodge City burial plot illustrates Gunsmoke’s deep cultural impact. To this day, the show influencing multiple generations endures in re-runs across the globe. So, too, does the net worth Stone left behind…and the kindly doctor image he embodied so well on this classic series for 20 years.

Though Stone was much more rugged and gruff than Doc Adams in real life, he tapped into grizzled compassion within to make the character so believably and appealingly genuine. That nuanced portrayal remains Milburn Stone’s lasting legacy across the decades…rooted in Gunsmoke’s Dodge City.

1. Who is Milburn Stone’s spouse?

Milburn Stone married Jane Garrison from 1948 until he died in 1980. The two lived a very private life together and adopted a daughter in 1961 named Shirley Jean.

2. How did Milburn Stone die?

Milburn Stone died at the age of 75 from a fatal heart attack at his home in La Jolla, California, on June 12, 1980. He had a history of illnesses like lung cancer and pneumonia later in life. Stone had just completed his final Gunsmoke movie before suddenly passing away.

3. How tall was Milburn Stone?

Standing at 5 feet 10 inches, Milburn Stone was slightly below average height for a leading man of his era. However, his rugged constitution and piercing eyes helped him convincingly embody gritty Western characters like Doc Adams on screen.

4. Who is Milburn Stone’s daughter?

Shirley Jean Stone was adopted by Milburn Stone and his wife Jane in 1961 when she was just 5 days old. After Stone’s death in 1980, Shirley oversaw franchising for the Gunsmoke TV series through her company Shirley Stone Enterprises.

5. What is Milburn Stone’s height? 

Milburn Stone stood at a modest 5 feet 10 inches tall. However, the actor’s piercing eyes and rugged, lean build filled out the screen impressively. This aided Stone in portraying rugged Western characters like Doc Adams throughout his long acting career in Hollywood.