James Arness

James Arness

James Arness

James Arness (born May 26, 1923 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, † June 3, 2011 in Brentwood, California; actually James Aurness) was an American actor who mainly Smoking through his portrayal of Marshal Matt Dillon in the western series Colts was known.


Arness served during World War II in the U.S. Army and became (1944 Operation Shingle 22 January) severely wounded at the battle of Anzio landing of Allied forces on n Anzio in Italy. His movie career began in 1947 with a supporting role in The Farmer’s Daughter alongside Joseph Cotten, Loretta Young and Lex Barker. Arness was a close friend of John Wayne at his side and played in the film Big Jim McClain and 1953 in a supporting role in Wayne’s the only 3D movie Hondo. Wayne it was who suggested him for the role of Marshal Matt Dillon in the U.S. western series Gunsmoke. Arness played the role for twenty years in a total of 618 episodes. That was the longest time in U.S. television, in which an actor played the same role in the same series (the record was set in 2004 by Kelsey Grammer in the role of Dr. Frasier Crane in the series Cheers and Frasier). For this purpose, Arness was the honorary title Honorary United States Marshal, in recognition of its unique incarnation of the image and the traditions of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Although Arness is identified by the incarnation of the long-term character of Marshal Matt Dillon primarily with Western, Arness starred in two well-known science fiction – Horror s respectively with: The Thing from Another World and Them. As “The Thing” however, he was barely recognizable under the Alien mask. After the end of Gunsmoke Arness continued playing primarily in films and television series of the Western genre. These included eleven episodes of The West Was Won and five made ​​for television feature-length films continuation of Gunsmoke, which were produced between 1987 and 1994. A notable exception is the main role as a big-city cop Jim McClain in the crime series McClain’s Law, sixteen episodes were produced from between 1981 and 1982.

James Arness was with a height of 2.01 meters, one of the largest series actor in a leading role. Divorced from the first marriage to Virginia Chapman (1949-1960) Arness had two sons and a daughter, who in 1975 took his own life. Since 1978 he was married to Janet Surtees. His brother was actor Peter Graves.

Filmography (selection)

•1947: The Farmer’s Daughter (The Farmer’s Daughter)

•1949: Battleground (Battleground)

•1950: West of St. Louis (Wagon Master)

•1951: The murder trial O’Hara (The People Against O’Hara)

•1951: The Thing from Another World (The Thing from Another World)

•1952: Curse of the Lost (Horizons West)

•1952: Stronger than chains (Carbine Williams)

•1953: The last signal (Iceland in the Sky)

•1953 Hondo (Hondo)

•1954: Them (Them

!)•1955: The Sea Chase (The Sea Chase)

•1955: A man loves dangerous (Many Rivers to Cross)

•1955-1975: Gunsmoke (Gunsmoke) (TV Series, 635 episodes)

•1978-1979: The West Was Won (How the West Was Won) (TV Series, 24 episodes)

•1981-1982: McClain’s Law (TV Series, 16 episodes)

•1987: Alamo – 13 days to the victory (The Alamo: Thirteen Days to Glory) (TV Movie)

•1987 Gunsmoke: To the death (Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge) (TV Movie)

•1990: Gunsmoke: The Last Apache (Gunsmoke: The Last Apache) (TV Movie)

•1992 Gunsmoke: Darling of the West (Gunsmoke: To the Last Man) (TV Movie)

•1993 Gunsmoke: The Long Ride (Gunsmoke: The Long Ride) (TV Movie)

•1994 Gunsmoke: It’s the Law (Gunsmoke: One Man’s Justice) (TV Movie)


Person in WWII (United States)

Member of the Republican Party (United States)

Person (Minneapolis)


Born in 1923

Died in 2011


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