Dennis Weaver fought for kindness and justice outside of Gunsmoke and into the real world


Gunsmoke actor Dennis Weaver inspired countless fans of the adult Western television show across the country. They loved his performance, but they were also drawn in by the wit and charm behind the character that he portrayed. Weaver once talked about what Christmas meant to him beyond the gift-giving tradition that many folks would benefit from taking to heart.

Weaver was one of the original cast members who started in Gunsmoke Season 1. The only others included James Arness, Amanda Blake, and Milburn Stone. They all initially played their characters relatively close to their radio iterations, but the actors progressively made them their own over the course of the show’s run. However, Weaver added a limp that he had to learn to perfect to give the character some form of weakness.

Weaver stayed on the show for the shortest amount of time out of the bunch, playing Chester Goode for a total of nine seasons. He left Gunsmoke a couple of times, but he would ultimately return to the reliable gig. Nevertheless, Weaver finally left the show for good, believing that he had taken the character as far as he could go. Therefore, he felt it was time to take his creative juices elsewhere.

For those who celebrate, Christmas is a time for loved ones to get together to enjoy the holiday season. However, there’s an emphasis placed on the gift-giving aspect that often overshadows the rest. Gunsmoke actor Weaver didn’t agree with where many folks placed their attention when it came to Christmas.

“I attend the Church of Self Realization, and I have come to understand that an individual’s peace is carried within him,” Weaver said, according to MeTV. The object of our senses doesn’t have the power to make us happy. For example, you see a hat, and you buy it. Then you’re happy, you say. But when you get it, almost immediately the pleasure begins to fade away. If it had the power within itself to make happiness, then it would do so for everybody. But it doesn’t.”

Weaver concluded: “So you see, it’s what’s within you that creates peace and breeds gentleness. And that’s the way I feel about Christmas – it’s a time to get in touch with the feelings within you.”

Weaver fought for kindness and justice outside of Gunsmoke and into the real world. He was an environmentalist who championed activism toward the use of alternative fuels. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Weaver worked through a non-profit that he created in 1993 called the Institute of Ecolonomics.

Additionally, the actor also founded another non-profit named L.I.F.E., which stood for “Love Is Feeding Everyone.” They worked to feed those in need of a meal across Los Angeles. Weaver used his status as an actor to promote liberal political causes, especially those involving the environment and folks in need.

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