Torrie Ahern Connely was best known as the wife of Ken Curtis. Her husband was an American singer and actor famous for his role as Festus Haggen on CBS’ western television series Gunsmoke. Torrie was well known to turn acquaintances into friends so quickly. She was dedicated to her friends, humorous and generous to them as well. Ken Curtis had a helpmate in his wife Torrie for the 30 years they were married.
What led to Ken Curtis’ fame? What about Torrie Connely? Did they have children? Please keep reading to discover more about Torrie and her husband, Ken.
Torrie Ahern Connely Bio
Torrie was born in Salt Lake City, UT, on 31 July 1929 to George Daniel Ahern and “Pat” Huntsman Ahern Gillespie. She was jovial and made friends fast. She entertained people with humor and showed dedication, faith, and generosity to others. Torrie’s sisters include Doris Gillespie Hall, Charlotte Ahern Jensen, Kris Ahern Livreri, and Julie Frank.
Torrie and Curtis married in 1966 in a beautiful ceremony in the presence of their friends and family. The couple was blessed with a son named William and a daughter named Danny. She has eight grandchildren.
Before marrying Curtis, Torrie was married to Lex Connely. She remained married to Curtis until he died in 1991. Torrie died in November 1997 at her home in Fresno, surrounded by her family and friends.
Ken Curtis Early Life
Curtis Wain Gates is best known as Ken Curtis. He was born in Lamar, Colorado, the U.S., on 2 July 1916. He was the youngest of three boys of Dan Sullivan Gates. He spent his first ten years on a ranch in Bent County. He moved with his family to Las Animas so that his father could run for sheriff. His family lived below the jail, and her mother cooked for the prisoners.
Curtis was a quarterback for his football team at Bent County High School. He also played clarinet in the school band. He attended Colorado College to pursue medicine but left shortly after to pursue his musical career.
Ken Curtis Career
Curtis was a vocalist in the Tommy Dorsey band. He then joined Shep Fields and His New Music band, an all-around music group. He met his first wife at Universal studios. Curtis was a host and singer in the country music radio show WWVA Jamboree. He was the Sons of Pioneers’ lead singer from 1949 to 1952. (Ghost) Riders and Room Full of Roses were his biggest hits with the group.
In 1945, Columbia Pictures signed Curtis to a contract. He starred as a singing cowboy in a series of musical Westerns. He is best remembered as Charlie McCorry in The Quiet Man, The Horse Soldiers, and How The West Was Won. He appeared in many other films like The MissouribTraveler, The Young Land, and The Searchers.
He played roles in television series like Have Gun-Will Travel, The Case of the Clumsy Clown, and Ripcord. Gunsmoke is the series that shone the spotlight on Curtis. His role in the series was Festus Haggen, Gunsmoke’s ragged and illiterate deputy.
Curtis was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame in 1981. He died in 1991 in his sleep of a heart attack in Fresno, California.
Over the years, Curtis made a name for himself and lives to be remembered as Festus by his Gunsmoke fans.