Is Ken Curtis Related to Tony Curtis? The Truth Behind the Rumor

Many people have wondered if the actors Ken Curtis and Tony Curtis were related, since they shared the same last name and both appeared in popular films and TV shows. However, the truth is that they were not related at all, and their last names were actually stage names that they adopted for their careers.

Who was Ken Curtis?

Ken Curtis was born as Curtis Wain Gates in 1916 in Colorado. He was a singer and actor who became famous for his role as Festus Haggen on the CBS western television series Gunsmoke. He appeared on Gunsmoke from 1962 to 1975, and also starred in several films directed by John Ford, such as The Searchers, The Horse Soldiers, and The Quiet Man. He was also a member of the Sons of the Pioneers, a musical group that performed western songs. He died in 1991 at the age of 74. 

Who was Tony Curtis?

Tony Curtis was born as Bernard Schwartz in 1925 in New York City. He was an actor who starred in more than 100 films, covering a wide range of genres. He achieved his peak of popularity in the 1950s and early 1960s, with roles in films such as Sweet Smell of Success, The Defiant Ones, Some Like It Hot, Spartacus, and The Boston Strangler. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for The Defiant Ones in 1958. He was also known for his marriages to actresses Janet Leigh and Christine Kaufmann, and for being the father of actresses Kelly Curtis and Jamie Lee Curtis. He died in 2010 at the age of 85. 

How did the rumor start?

The rumor that Ken Curtis and Tony Curtis were related probably started because of their similar last names and their involvement in the entertainment industry. However, both of them changed their names when they started their careers. Ken Curtis took his name from his middle name Wain and his father’s middle name Curtis. Tony Curtis took his name from a suggestion by a magazine editor who thought that Bernard Schwartz sounded too Jewish for Hollywood. 

How did they respond to the rumor?

Both Ken Curtis and Tony Curtis denied that they were related whenever they were asked about it. According to a website dedicated to Gunsmoke trivia, Ken Curtis once said: \”No relation to Tony at all. I never met him.\”  According to a website that answers questions about celebrities, Tony Curtis once said: \”I don’t know him. I never met him.\” 


Ken Curtis and Tony Curtis were not related by blood or by marriage. They were both successful actors who chose stage names that happened to be similar. They never met each other or worked together in their careers. The rumor that they were related was based on false assumptions and lack of information..

Doms Desk

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