Perfectly Amanda


by Beckey Burgoyne

As an avid fan of Gunsmoke's Miss Kitty, Beckey Burgoyne, an elementary school teacher from Illinois, felt it was her destiny to write the life story of actress Amanda Blake, who portrayed Miss Kitty on television for nearly 20 years. A farmer's daughter, Burgoyne appreciates the value of hard work and self-reliance. As a child, she saw all of these characteristics and more in Amanda Blake's portrayal of Miss Kitty on TV's Gunsmoke. In Perfectly Amanda, Gunsmoke's Miss Kitty: To Dodge and Beyond, Burgoyne celebrates everything the character of Kitty Russell stood for: strength, grace, intelligence, independence and so much more. The biography provides readers with a chronological look into Amanda Blake's life both on- and off-screen, even telling of her ancestry tracing back to 1600 England, Scotland and Ireland. Perfectly Amanda also includes many wonderful anecdotes and personal reflections from Blake's friends and colleagues, as well as an extensive collection of photographs, both formal and candid. Burgoyne says this book will appeal to anyone young or old, male or female. Full of tales of adventure and travel, as well as more heartwarming information on Blake's battle with cancer and her unending devotion to a wide variety of charities, there is something in Perfectly Amanda for everyone. However, this is more than just an ordinary biography. It's a tale of strength, courage and compassion. It's the story of a legendary character that changed the way women saw the world and their roles in society. Miss Kitty's independence and business know-how sparked a generation of women to challenge conventional views on the traditional roles women were expected to play in society. Her positive influence on young women, Burgoyne included, cannot be measured.

Includes 100 photographs.

Paperback, perfect-bound. 300 pages

To purchase, contact the author directly:



“Thanks to Beckey Burgoyne, fans of make-believe 'Miss Kitty' will be introduced to the endearing and multi-faceted real life of Amanda Blake.”

— Paul Savage, Gunsmoke Executive Story Consultant

“Thanks, Beckey, for stirring memories of a time past when I was there. Thanks for the visits with so many great friends and most of all the new insights into a significant human being of enormous quality. A big disappointment for me was guest starring in a super role on Gunsmoke and NOT getting to meet Amanda. This book has gone a long way toward minimizing that disappointment and enriching my life.”

— Alex Cord, Actor and Author of A Feather in the Rain

“What an absorbing and affectionate insight of a legendary TV star. The colorful details of her career, as Miss Kitty and numerous personal anecdotes bring Amanda Blake into sharp focus for Gunsmoke fans of all ages. Meticulous Blake admirer Beckey Burgoyne is the ideal biographer to make the saga of Perfectly Amanda a totally delightful read!”

— Gregg Hunter 'NITESIDE' Heard on CRN Digital Talk Sunday Evenings

About the Author

Beckey Burgoyne.jpg

Beckey Burgoyne, an elementary school teacher from Illinois and daughter of a farmer, has penned her first book Perfectly Amanda, Gunsmoke's Miss Kitty: To Dodge and Beyond. Burgoyne was driven to write this biography of Amanda Blake based on her deep admiration of the actress and the strong woman she portrayed on television s Gunsmoke. Born in Danville, Ill., Beckey Burgoyne has lived in Illinois and Indiana all of her life. A graduate of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill., Burgoyne has always had a passion for the theater and English. Putting her two loves together, it only made sense that her first book would be about the famous actress who inspired her in so many ways. As an elementary school teacher since 1992, Burgoyne has taught math, science and physical education classes. Outside of teaching and spending time with her family, she also loves flowers and the theater. The self-proclaimed Flower Lady has been designing, planting and caring for 15 flowerbeds at her local bank for the last 10 summers. She is also involved in the choir/drama department at her church and has taken part in their Christmas and Easter dramatic musical productions for the past 15 years. She also works with the Danville Light Opera, a local community theater group, whenever she can. As a wife, mother, full-time teacher and now a published author, however, Burgoyne doesn't find a lot of free time. Perfectly Amanda, Gunsmoke's Miss Kitty: To Dodge and Beyond was the result of Burgoyne s lifelong love for and admiration of the great actress Amanda Blake and her Gunsmoke character, Kitty Russell, the owner of the Long Branch Saloon and love interest of Marshal Matt Dillon on the legendary Western series. As a young girl, Burgoyne was greatly influenced by Miss Kitty. She admired her independent nature and contentment with choosing a career over homesteading. As television didn't often portray women with such strength and strong will, Miss Kitty was truly an inspiration and an excellent role model for a new generation of women. To honor all that she stood for, Burgoyne put pen to paper for this biography.