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Obituary of James Arness

James Arness

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James Arness (born on May 26th, 1923) was a TV-Actor who was best known for portraying Marshal Matt Dillon on the American TV series "Gunsmoke". James died on June 3rd, 2011 in Los Angeles and his death was because of natural causes. He lived to the age of 88.

James Arness's Biography Stats:

  • Full Name: Arness, James
  • Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Birth Date: May 26, 1923
  • Place of Death: Los Angeles, California
  • Death Date: June 3, 2011-deaths
  • Also Known As: Jim, James Aurness
  • Category/Genre: TV-Actor
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  • Nationality: American
  • Spouse:
    • Janet Surtrees (m. 16 December 1978-his death)
    • Virginia Chapman (m. 12 February 1948-div. 1960)
  • Father: Rolf Cirkler Aurness
  • Mother: Ruth Duesler
  • Siblings: Peter Graves
  • Children:
    • Rolf Aurness (1971)
    • Craig Aurness
    • Jenny Lee Aurness (23 May 1950-12 May 1975)

Claim to Fame:

Recognizable for his height of 6 feet 7 inches (2.01 m), Arness portrayed Marshal 'Matt Dillon' on the television Series Gunsmoke for 20 years, from 1955-1975. Returned as Dillon again for 5 'Gunsmoke' telemovies. Also well remembered for his early role as the alien in the 1951 Science Fiction movie The Thing (aka The Thing from another World). Also appeared in many other, mostly 'western' style movies. He was a friend of John Wayne, who helped him get his role in Gunsmoke. Jim appeared in a movie with Wayne called "The FBI." When Wayne was offered the job as Matt Dillon he declined but added, "Jim Arness is perfect for the role." They shared conservative political philosophies. Each was perfectly shy when it came to fame and public attention. Jim was a very private person who lived to avoid limelight and publicity. Acting provided him a source of financial support for his love of surfing and the outdoors. He owned a ranch in Santa Susana, Ca. where he raised and rode good horses. He was very loyal to those few who knew him well as evidenced by-- like Wayne-- his lifelong friends who often worked for him. His home was furnished with over-sized furniture, tall counter tops and other amenities to accommodate his height. He lived a private life of practical but not ostentatious comfort and adventure.

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This document was last modified on February 12, 2018, at 07:03 AM EST