Torrie Ahern Connelly was a celebrity wife known through her husband, Ken Curtis, an American actor and singer. She was born on July 31, 1929, in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, USA, to George Philip Ahern and Pat Huntsman Gillespie.
Torrie was married twice in her lifetime, first to Lex Connelly in 1950, but their marriage ended years later. She then married actor and singer Ken Curtis in a beautiful ceremony in 1966, attended by close friends and family. Torrie Ahern Connelly’s marriage to Curtis, which spanned over twenty years, ended in 1991 when Curtis died of a heart attack.
Torrie Ahern was a mother of two children, a son and a daughter, William and Danny. Through her children, she was a grandmother of eight grandchildren. Torrie was a nice person and knew how to make friends. Anyone who knew would tell you how sweet of a person she was.
Ken Curtis spent his early childhood on a ranch in Muddy Creek, eastern Bent County, before moving to Las Animas, where his dad served as the county sheriff. They lived below the jail, and his mother cooked for the prisoners. In high school, Torrie’s husband was on the football team, where he played as a quarterback. He served in the US Army before moving into the music industry.
Curtis’ Music Career
After quitting med school, Torrie’s husband decided to become a singer. He was part of the Tommy Dorsey band, where he was a vocalist; Ken joined the band as Frank Sinatra’s replacement for some time before Dick Haymes replaced him. Later Torrie’s husband joined Shep Fields; he performed with several other bands before landing a job as a radio host of WWVA Jamboree, a country music program.
The Major Work of Ken Curtis
Despite starting as a singer, Ken Curtis succeeded in acting, and it became his major work. He started featuring in films as a singing cowboy; with his connection with John Ford, a film director, he was integrated into the film industry and played a major role. His early film credits include The Quiet Man, The Horse Soldiers, The Searchers, The Alamo, and The Wings of Eagles.
Torrie’s husband guest-starred in Have Gun – Will Travel and one episode of Death Valley Days. Curtis’s major role came when he was cast as Festus Haggen, an illiterate and scruffy deputy in Gunsmoke. Though the series has five deputies, Curtis served for the longest time featuring in over three episodes.
Besides Gunsmoke, Torrie’s husband appeared on other television shows, including In the Heat of the Night, where he guest-starred as a retired detective and voiced Nutsy, the vulture in Robin Hood. For most of his later years, he performed alongside Noah Beery Jr in the series The Yellow Rose.
A decade before his death, Torri Ahern’s husband was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame. He died of a heart attack, and his body was cremated.
Torrie Ahern died on November 2, 1997, aged 68. She was interred at the Acadamy Cemetery in Clovis, Fresno County, California.