Roger Ewing, circa 1965. (Photo by Getty Images)

Roger Ewing: What Happened to the Deputy Marshal From 'Gunsmoke'?


The American Western television show, Gunsmoke, aired on CBS for a whopping 20 years, from 1955 to 1975. The TV show is set in Dodge City, Kansas and centers on Marshal Matt Dillon and the people of the town. Marshal Dillon was played by James Arness, and, starting in 1965, the Marshal had a loyal sidekick, Deputy Marshal Clayton Thaddeus Greenwood, or Thad Greenwood, played by actor Roger Ewing. Taking on the role Thad was a big break for Ewing, but it wasn't the first time he starred on the TV series. He played a character named Ben Lukens, who was part of the Lukens clan, in a 1965 episode titled "Song for Dying." Prior to his stint on Gunsmoke, Ewing appeared on episodes of Bewitched ("The Girl Reporter"), The Baileys of Balboa ("Look Who's A Sailor"), The Bing Crosby Show, Rawhide ("The Calf Women") and the film, None But The Brave. 

Ewing enjoyed 52 episodes on Gunsmoke before the television series was announced as cancelled in 1967. But then, thanks to CBS chairman of the board William S. Paley, the show was put back on the schedule. Ewing's character of Thad, however, did not come back to the show after the almost-cancellation.

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After his successful stint on Gunsmoke, Ewing starred in a few other productions, including on episodes of The Mothers-In-Law and Death Valley Days, as well as in films Smith! (1969) and Play It As It Lays (1972). In the late '60s, he also appeared on an episode of The Dating Game. Ewing appeared on the show as one of the eligible bachelors alongside other men, including a medical student and a teacher. The eligible bachelorette was none other than actress Lindsay Wagner before she was famous. Ewing did not turn out to be the apple of Wagner's eye, however, as she chose to go on a date with the teacher over him.


After Ewing's last role in Play It As It Lays, the Los Angeles native retired from his acting career altogether and moved to Morro Bay, California, where he pursued a career in photography and got involved with local politics, according to IMDB. Not much has been written about Ewing since his retirement, but in 2016, the Chronicle Times wrote about a chance encounter a fan named Thad had with the fictional Thad Greenwood, Roger Ewing.