James Arness
American actor
James Arness
James King Arness was an American actor, best known for portraying Marshal Matt Dillon in the television series Gunsmoke for 20 years. Arness has the distinction of having played the role of Dillon in five separate decades: 1955 to 1975 in the weekly series, then in Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge (1987) and four more made-for-TV Gunsmoke movies in the 1990s. In Europe Arness reached cult status for his role as Zeb Macahan in the western series How the West Was Won.
Biography
James Arness's personal information overview.
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News
News abour James Arness from around the web
For Bruce Boxleitner, a personal code shaped by Marshal Dillon
LATimes - over 2 years
James Arness, a.k.a. 'Gunsmoke's' Dillon, took a young Boxleitner under his wing and taught him about acting and life. He's followed those lessons all his career, including the current 'Cedar Cove.' James Arness, a.k.a. 'Gunsmoke's' Dillon, took a young Boxleitner under his wing and taught him about acting and life. He's followed those lessons all his career, including the current 'Cedar Cove.'
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LATimes article
Peter Dreier: The Koch Brothers Are My Brothers
Huffington Post - over 3 years
I just discovered that the Koch brothers are my brothers. I learned about our extraordinary kinship through a brief article in the New Republic, which mentioned that Charles Koch, and his younger twin brothers David and William, were members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity at MIT. I was a Beta at Syracuse University (Class of 1970). And it is well known that all Betas are brothers, forever. I admit that I haven't stayed in touch with my Syracuse frat brothers or paid much attention to Beta happenings, but learning about my kinship with the Koch brothers has reawakened my fraternal feelings. So if I ever run into Charles (MIT 1957) or David (MIT 1962) at one of their regular Palm Springs get-togethers for the ultra-conservative wing of the .001 percent, I'll make sure to give them the secret handshake, quietly mutter "Phi Kai Phi" (Beta's secret slogan, although I can't remember what it means), and sing a few refrains of one of the fraternity's drinking songs, "I'm ...
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Huffington Post article
Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D.: Frightway to Stardom (Part 1)
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Alan Alda battling a satanic pianist! James Arness combating titanic ants! Gene Barry fighting Martian invaders! These are just a few of the fascinating roles many of Tinseltown's top stars once essayed early in their careers in the horror/sci-fi genre! Intriguingly, a surprisingly high percentage of Hollywood luminaries started out in such entries. These early appearances in horror and sci-fi films and television programs, although often low-budget in nature, afforded them an excellent opportunity to perfect their craft and display their talent, setting the stage for later success. Indeed, it can truly be said that this early experience represented a "Frightway to Stardom." The following are among the many celebs who started out in the niche of horror and sci-fi: -Alan Alda: The only actor to appear in every single episode of TV's M.A.S.H. (1972-82) portrayed a young journalist involved with a dying satanic pianist (Curt Jurgens, seen as Sebastian, a magician d ...
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Huffington Post article
Skiller seg fra ektemannen etter 16 år - Seher
Google News - over 5 years
Boxleitner vant pikehjerter over hele verden gjennom rollen som nevøen til hovedkarakteren Zeb, spilt av norskættede James Arness. Skilsmissepapirene ble levert den samme uka som Gilberts søster, Sara Gilbert, annonserte slutten på sitt forhold til
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Google News article
Arrest logs: Aug. 25, 2011 - Pensacola News Journal
Google News - over 5 years
James Arness Johnson, 26, 1600 block of Lepley Road, larceny, resisting an officer. Cadarryl Levon Kelley, 21, 700 block of Truman Avenue, battery, aggravated battery. Thomas Anthony Meeks, 40, 1000 block of South Fairfield Drive, fraud-swindle, fraud
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Google News article
Does Size Really Matter? - Patch.com
Google News - over 5 years
And well-known actor (dating myself back to the days of "Gunsmoke") James Arness, who was a massive 6-foot-7, preferred the delicate Bichon Frise. So what gives? Whatever happened to the image of the rough and tough biker with the fierce-looking
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Google News article
Maine Observer: Time to honor new 'Greatest Generation' - Press Herald
Google News - over 5 years
And, the people who trained me wondered who James Arness of "Gunsmoke" was and pondered why his death made headlines. They were astonished that I know who Lady GaGa is and that Peter Gabriel's music floats from my car. I have learned much
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Google News article
Top Five Big Bug Films - FEARnet.com
Google News - over 5 years
James Whitmore (The Shawshank Redemption) as Sgt. Ben Peterson and James Arness (The Thing From Another World) as FBI Agent Robert Graham are especially riveting. Furthermore, the black and white cinematography is outstanding
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Google News article
Dodge City: Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame to induct five new members - McPherson Sentinel
Google News - over 5 years
This year's festivities include a special presentation honoring James Arness. Arness portrayed a Kansas lawman, Marshal Matt Dillon, on the long running television series Gunsmoke. A debt of gratitude is owed to Arness, the cast and producers of
Article Link:
Google News article
“TurbyTalk” – Tom’s Blog
WTAW News Talk 1620 - over 5 years
  Tom Turbiville Blog Aug. 14, 2011 Had a great vacation week.. reading all about Texas A&M’s “Impending” leap to the SEC, only to return today and see that SEC is not ready to issue an invitation. From those more in the loop than I, it seems that this new does not necesarilly mean that A&M won’t start the 2012-2013 school year as a member of the SEC, but rather that the SEC rightly was not ready to make a quick decision with so much to be sorted out, like if A&M is invited as the 13th member, who will even it out as the 14th member.  From this old guy’s perspective, who is still getting used to not being part of the Southwest Conference, it does all seem to be rushed. Dr. Loftin is right in saying that this whole thing is a lot more complicated than it appears and there’s a lot that much be sorted out before deals can be done.  It can still be done in a month or two months and till take effect in Sept. of 2012. Looking forward to being back on the Informanics in the ...
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WTAW News Talk 1620 article
Arness, Graves were Kin - Atlantic City Weekly
Google News - over 5 years
When James Arness died you said on your radio show that his brother was also a famous actor, but I can't remember who. Thank you — Doris Francey, Audubon, NJ James Arness was the older brother of Peter Graves of Airplane, TV's Mission Impossible,
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Google News article
Anecdotes shed light on Boogie Board icon - OCRegister
Google News - over 5 years
I think he, James Arness and Tim Morgan have brought me the most email feedback of all the stories I have done. So today I thought I would share a couple Morey stories that came in. The first one is from Ron Salisbury. "Read with interest your Tom
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Google News article
Islander shares memories of family friend and neighbor, actor James Arness - PNW Local News
Google News - over 5 years
Its star, the handsome James Arness, who played the Marshall of Dodge City was just a regular guy though, according to longtime family friend and Islander, Carter Harrington. Arness died June 3 at the age of 88. Harrington said he got the call at about
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Google News article
Ask Mr. Know-It-All: Big-name gangster died a pauper - Yorkdispatch.com
Google News - over 5 years
James Arness starred as Matt Dillon in all 635 television episodes; the series ran for 20 seasons, from 1955 to 1975. The radio version aired from 1952 to 1961, and in the more than 500 radio programs, William Conrad portrayed the venerable Marshal
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Google News article
Monster Movie Matinees at LACMA - 89.3 KPCC (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
This weekend's The Thing stars the late lamented James Arness as the monster (tall typecasting!). And note that they're screening Mothra (1961), which is far less seen than Mothra v Godzilla (1964). 1958's Horror of Dracula is one of the best of the
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Google News article
BELL v. STATE - Leagle.com
Google News - over 5 years
Following his 2005 conviction for rape, James Arness Bell appeals from the denial of his motion for new trial. He contends that the trial court erred in admitting evidence of a prior transaction for which he was acquitted, and erred in denying his
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Google News article
Tim Burton: Nine monster movies that inspired him - Los Angeles Times
Google News - over 5 years
A US Air Force re-supply crew is sent to the base where a frozen, tall alien creature (played by a young James Arness) is discovered. Margaret Sheridan, Kenneth Tobey and Dewey Martin are among the stars. Time magazine named the movie, which was remade
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Google News article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of James Arness
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2011
    Age 87
    Arness died of natural causes at his Brentwood home in Los Angeles on June 3, 2011.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2006
    Age 82
    Arness was inducted into the Santa Clarita Walk of Western Stars in 2006, and gave a related TV interview.
    More Details Hide Details On the 50th anniversary of television in 1989 in the United States, People magazine chose the top 25 television stars of all time. Arness was number 6. In 1996, TV Guide ranked him number 20 on its 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time list. Arness was nominated for the following Emmy Awards:
  • FIFTIES
  • 1981
    Age 57
    In 1981, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.
    More Details Hide Details
    An exception was as a big-city police officer in a short-lived 1981-1982 series, McClain's Law, co-starring with Marshall Colt.
    More Details Hide Details His role as mountain man Zeb Macahan in How the West Was Won made him a cult figure in many European countries, where it became even more popular than in the United States, as the series has been rebroadcast many times across Europe. James Arness: An Autobiography was released in September 2001, with a foreword by Burt Reynolds (who had been a cast member of Gunsmoke for several years in the 1960s). Arness noted that he realized, "If I was going to write a book about my life, I better do it now... 'cause I'm not getting any younger."
  • 1978
    Age 54
    Arness was married to Janet Surtees from 1978 until his death.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1975
    Age 51
    Gunsmoke made Arness and his co-stars, Milburn Stone, Amanda Blake, Dennis Weaver, Ken Curtis, and Buck Taylor, world-famous and would run for two decades, becoming the longest-running prime-time drama series in US television history by the end of its run in 1975.
    More Details Hide Details The series' season record was tied only in 2010 with the final season of Law & Order. Unlike the latter show, Gunsmoke featured its lead character in each of its 20 seasons; Gunsmoke also aired 179 more episodes, and was in the top 10 in the ratings for 11 more seasons, for a total of 13, including four consecutive seasons at number one. After Gunsmoke ended, Arness performed in Western-themed movies and television series, including How the West Was Won, and in five made-for-television Gunsmoke movies between 1987 and 1994.
  • FORTIES
  • 1970
    Age 46
    Rolf Arness became World Surfing Champion in 1970.
    More Details Hide Details Craig Arness founded the stock photography agency Westlight and also was a photographer for National Geographic. Arness is survived by Rolf and by his adopted son. Despite his stoic character, according to Ben Bates, his Gunsmoke stunt double, Arness laughed "from his toes to the top of his head." Shooting on the Gunsmoke set was suspended because Arness got a case of the uncontrollable giggles. James Arness disdained publicity and banned reporters from the Gunsmoke set. He was said to be a shy and sensitive man who enjoyed poetry, sailboat racing, and surfing. TV Guide dubbed him "The Greta Garbo of Dodge City." Buck Taylor (Newly on Gunsmoke) thought so highly of Arness that he named his second son, Matthew, after Arness' character.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1955
    Age 31
    Wayne introduced Arness in a prologue to the first episode of Gunsmoke, in 1955.
    More Details Hide Details The Norwegian-German Arness had to dye his naturally blond hair darker for the role.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1948
    Age 24
    Arness was married twice, first to Virginia Chapman from 1948 until their divorce in 1960.
    More Details Hide Details He adopted her son. She died of a drug overdose in 1976.
  • 1945
    Age 21
    After his discharge, Arness entered Beloit College in Wisconsin. He began his performing career as a radio announcer at Minneapolis station WLOL in 1945.
    More Details Hide Details Arness came to Hollywood by hitchhiking and soon began acting and appearing in films. He began with RKO, who immediately changed his name from "Aurness". His film debut was as Loretta Young's (Katie Holstrom) brother, Peter Holstrom, in The Farmer's Daughter. He was credited in The Farmer's Daughter as Arness. Though identified with Westerns, Arness also appeared in two science fiction films, The Thing from Another World (in which he portrayed the title character) and Them! He was a close friend of John Wayne and co-starred with him in Big Jim McLain, Hondo, Island in the Sky, and The Sea Chase, and starred in Gun the Man Down for Wayne's company. He also starred in a 1988 TV remake of Wayne's 1948 classic Red River An urban legend has it that John Wayne was offered the leading role of Matt Dillon in the longtime favorite television show Gunsmoke, but he turned it down, instead recommending James Arness for the role. The only part of this story that is true is that Wayne did indeed recommend Arness for the part.
    On January 29, 1945, having undergone surgery several times, Arness was honorably discharged.
    More Details Hide Details His wounds continued to bother him, and in later years, he suffered from chronic leg pain, which sometimes hurt when mounting a horse. His decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three bronze battle stars, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
  • 1944
    Age 20
    According to James Arness – An Autobiography, he landed on Anzio Beachhead on January 22, 1944 as a rifleman with 2nd Platoon, E Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Infantry Division.
    More Details Hide Details Because of his height, he was the first ordered off his landing craft to determine the depth of the water; it came up to his waist. Arness was sent to the U.S Army 91st General Hospital at Clinton, Iowa, to be treated.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1943
    Age 19
    Instead, he was called up for the Army and reported to Fort Snelling, Minnesota, in March 1943.
    More Details Hide Details Arness served as a rifleman with the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division, and was severely wounded during Operation Shingle, at Anzio, Italy.
  • 1942
    Age 18
    Despite "being a poor student and skipping many classes", he graduated from high school in June 1942.
    More Details Hide Details Arness wanted to be a naval fighter pilot, but he felt his poor eyesight would bar him. His height of 6 feet 7 inches (2.01 m) ended his hopes, since 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) was the limit for aviators.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1923
    Born
    James Arness was born James King Aurness in Minneapolis, Minnesota; on May 26, 1923; he dropped the "u" when he started acting.
    More Details Hide Details His parents were Rolf Cirkler Aurness, a businessman, and his wife Ruth Duesler, a journalist. His father’s ancestry was Norwegian; his mother's was German. The family name had been Aursnes, but when Rolf's father, Peter Aursnes, emigrated from Norway in 1887, he changed it to Aurness. Arness and his family were Methodists. Arness' younger brother was actor Peter Graves (1926–2010). Peter used the stage name "Graves", a maternal family name. Arness attended John Burroughs Grade School, Washburn High School, and West High School in Minneapolis. During this time, Arness worked as a courier for a jewelry wholesaler, loading and unloading railway boxcars at the Burlington freight yards in Minneapolis, and logging in Pierce, Idaho.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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