Dennis Weaver: Inside the 'Gunsmoke' Actor's 61-Year-Long Marriage

Dennis Weaver penned the autobiography “All The World’s a Stage” in 2001. In the book, he opened up about his long marriage and relationship with Gerry Weaver.

Dennis Weaver was born on June 4, 1924. He passed away on February 24, 2006, in Mexico where he had been looking for a cure for his cancer.

At his side was his wife, Gerry Stowell, who was born in Missouri in 1925. Here is a look at their 61-year-long relationship.

Dennis Weaver and his wife attend The 8th Annual PRISM Awards at the Hollywood Palladium | Getty Images / Global Images Ukraine

Dennis Weaver and his wife attend The 8th Annual PRISM Awards at the Hollywood Palladium | Getty Images / Global Images Ukraine

How Dennis and Gerry Met:

Dennis and Gerry met at a Joplin Junior College sock-hop in 1942. She was a figure roller skater and wore one of her skating outfits to the dance. He wrote in his book:

“When she was right smack dab in front of me, Bobby gave Gerry a powerful whirl and her skirt twirled up, exposing the neatest pair of legs I’d ever seen. I got a glimpse of those red tights, and it was all over! ... She was the only one I danced with the rest of the night. That was the beginning of a grand partnership that has lasted more than fifty years. She has truly blessed and enriched my life.” 

 Dennis Weaver and his wife Gerry attend the 44th Annual Los Angeles Press Club Southern California Journalism Awards  | Getty Images / Global Images Ukraine

Dennis Weaver and his wife Gerry attend the 44th Annual Los Angeles Press Club Southern California Journalism Awards | Getty Images / Global Images Ukraine

Proposal

The pair hit it off and three years later Dennis popped the question. He got down on one knee during a Friday night Joplin High School football game.  

When she responded immediately, he asked again and she responded yes again. They drove to Columbus the same night and were married by a justice of the peace. They used his navy ring and Gerry paid for real wedding rings the next day.

Dennis Weaver and his wife attend The 8th Annual PRISM Awards at the Hollywood Palladium | Getty Images / Global Images Ukraine

Dennis Weaver and his wife attend The 8th Annual PRISM Awards at the Hollywood Palladium | Getty Images / Global Images Ukraine

Children:

The pair went on to have three sons, Rick Weaver, Rob Weaver, and Rusty Weaver. Rick was born in 1948 and became an actor, producer, and director. He married Judy and they have two sons, Jess and Travis.

Rob Weaver was born in 1953 and also became an actor. He has a daughter named Jennifer. Rusty Weaver was born in 1959 and also followed a career in entertainment as an actor, a songwriter, and a musician.

Dennis Weaver and wife Gerry attend a surprise 70th birthday party for television talk show host Larry King  | Getty Images / Global Images Ukraine

Dennis Weaver and wife Gerry attend a surprise 70th birthday party for television talk show host Larry King | Getty Images / Global Images Ukraine

Their Relationship

In their junior college yearbook, the staff reportedly wrote a sweet message for the pair. Weaver revealed in his book what transpired writing: 

“Below a picture of Gerry and me dancing, they (staff) wrote, ‘The couple that always Weaved across the floor and Stowell the show’.”

Dennis Weaver and his wife pose at the premiere of "Why Are We Here?" the Public Awareness Campaign | Getty Images / Global Images Ukraine

Dennis Weaver and his wife pose at the premiere of "Why Are We Here?" the Public Awareness Campaign | Getty Images / Global Images Ukraine

He also opened up about the “secrets”  on making your marriage last long. He wrote: 

“Well, there isn’t just one secret - there are many. First of all, it’s not a contest of longevity. The length of a marriage has little to do with the success of a marriage. 

Dennis Weaver attends the 26th Anniversary Book Fair Benefit for the Robert F. Kennedy Medical Center  | Getty Images / Global Images Ukraine

Dennis Weaver attends the 26th Anniversary Book Fair Benefit for the Robert F. Kennedy Medical Center | Getty Images / Global Images Ukraine

He went on to add that "the word ‘allow’ is very significant in any successful relationship." He explained that in any relationship the word can play a big part in how long the relationship will last adding:

"When we truly love someone, we allow them their own thoughts, interests, and space. We give each other room to breathe."

Dennis Weaver arrives to the 14th Annual Environmental Media Awards | Getty Images / Global Images Ukraine

Dennis Weaver arrives to the 14th Annual Environmental Media Awards | Getty Images / Global Images Ukraine

After Dennis passed away, Gerry decided to carry his legacy forward and worked hard to protect his dreams for their home and land which she donated in his name.
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