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'Gunsmoke' Legend James Arness Dies at 88
Hollywood Reporter ^ | 6-3-11 | Mike Barnes

Posted on 06/03/2011 3:04:27 PM PDT by STARWISE

The 6-foot-7 actor, who also starred in the 1950s sci-fi classics "Them!" and "The Thing From Another World," thanks fans for their support with a posthumous letter on his website.

James Arness, the tall man who towered over TV screens for 20 seasons as the iconic Marshal Matt Dillon on CBS’ Gunsmoke, has died. He was 88.

The 6-foot-7 actor, who also starred in the 1950s sci-fi classics Them! and The Thing From Another World, passed away of natural causes Friday in his home in Brentwood, according to his business manager, Ginny Fazer. His death comes 14 months after his brother, Mission: Impossible actor Peter Graves, died of a heart attack at age 83.

Arness’ official website posted a letter from the actor on Friday that he wrote with the intention that it be posted posthumously.

“I had a wonderful life and was blessed with some many loving people and great friends,” he said. “I wanted to take this time to thank all of you for the many years of being a fan of Gunsmoke, The Thing, How the West Was Won and all the other fun projects I was lucky enough to have been allowed to be a part of. I had the privilege of working with so many great actors over the years.”

As the stoic Marshal Dillon, Arness kept the peace in rough and tumble Dodge City, Kan., on Gunsmoke, which aired on CBS from September 1955 to March 1975 for a total of 635 episodes. It set a record for the longest-running, live-action primetime series by seasons, since tied by NBC’s Law & Order.

Arness’ 20-year primetime stint is another record, since tied by Kelsey Grammer’s two decades years as the character Frasier Crane on two shows, Cheers and then Frasier.

Said a statement from CBS on Friday, “Our network headquarters at CBS Studio Center in Studio City looks out at Stage 3, which was home to Gunsmoke’s “Dodge City.” All of us here today tip our hat in that direction for everything Mr. Arness contributed to Gunsmoke, to CBS and to the medium we all love.”

Arness was born James King Aurness in Minneapolis on May 26, 1923. He served in the army during World War II, was wounded in his right leg and received the Purple Heart.

On the advice of Graves, Arness applied for and earned a job as an announcer for a radio station in the Twin Cities, then moved to Los Angeles and landed a role as Loretta Young’s brother in the 1947 film The Farmer's Daughter.

Rest @ link


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: gilligansislandyyr4; gunsmoke; jamesarness
My Gram wouldn't miss it. Rest in peace, Marshall Dillon. Happy trails.


1 posted on 06/03/2011 3:04:30 PM PDT by STARWISE
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To: STARWISE

Thanks for some great entertainment.


2 posted on 06/03/2011 3:07:15 PM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: STARWISE

A really good man...

http://exposingtheleft.blogspot.com/2011/06/james-arness-dies-at-88.html


3 posted on 06/03/2011 3:07:27 PM PDT by traderrob6
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To: STARWISE

What an amazing run for a true pioneer of series television. May this last ride off into the sunset be his most glorious of them all!


4 posted on 06/03/2011 3:09:44 PM PDT by Rona Badger (Heeds the Calling Wind)
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To: STARWISE

All these years and he never did make Miss Kitty an honest woman.


5 posted on 06/03/2011 3:12:21 PM PDT by bgill (Kenyan Parliament - how could a man born in Kenya who is not even a native American become the POTUS)
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To: STARWISE

I loved that show. RIP Mr. Arness........


6 posted on 06/03/2011 3:13:28 PM PDT by LaineyDee (Don't mess with Texas wimmen!)
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To: STARWISE
One of mine and my dads favorites.

His brother was Peter Graves, another favorite.

Peter Graves

7 posted on 06/03/2011 3:13:57 PM PDT by blam
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To: STARWISE; Liberty Valance

The man was fast on the draw. I had to cheat to beat him. Thanks for everything Marshall Dillon!


8 posted on 06/03/2011 3:14:11 PM PDT by Brucifer (Proud member of the Double Secret Reloading Underground.)
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To: STARWISE

Really enjoyed Matt, Miss Kitty, Doc, etal. He was made for the role. Sad, but time passes.


9 posted on 06/03/2011 3:16:20 PM PDT by izzatzo (Palin2012, she's one of us.)
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To: STARWISE
"Arness is survived by his long-time companion, Kitty... "


10 posted on 06/03/2011 3:16:48 PM PDT by billorites (freepo ergo sum)
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To: Perdogg; AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; ...

Thanks STARWISE.
His death comes 14 months after his brother, Mission: Impossible actor Peter Graves, died of a heart attack at age 83.

11 posted on 06/03/2011 3:20:19 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Thanks Cincinna for this link -- http://www.friendsofitamar.org)
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To: STARWISE

6’7” - good grief!
Always liked Gunsmoke.


12 posted on 06/03/2011 3:22:37 PM PDT by GnuHere
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To: STARWISE

As the article mentions, he was a WWII Army vet. I heard one time that he was one of the first ones off at Anzio because they kind of used him as a water depth guage because of his height. O’Really interviewed him one time, that may have been where I heard it.


13 posted on 06/03/2011 3:22:42 PM PDT by izzatzo (Palin2012, she's one of us.)
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To: STARWISE

A couple of pretty good runs- 20 years as Marshall Dillon and 88 years in life. RIP to Mr. Arness and God’s peace to all who love him!


14 posted on 06/03/2011 3:28:03 PM PDT by Rockitz (This isn't rocket science- follow the money and you'll find truth.)
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To: STARWISE
The Thing From Another World
A classic and one of my favorites.
As a kid, it scared the hell out of me.

15 posted on 06/03/2011 3:38:57 PM PDT by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: oh8eleven

Agree in full. Arness as the Thing was really the scariest movie I saw as a child; could never get over the murder of the dogs, the hanging of the scientists in the greenhouse and the sounds Arness made, as well as the truly frightening musical score. The movie (Howard Hawks was director, I believe) was made in 1951 and was an allegory for the Soviet menace (”Watch the skies!!”) was the ending phrase; also, the Thing looked a good bit like Lenin, although he was much bigger. I couldn’t help but think of The Thing when I first viewed the old devil’s corpse in his mausoleum in Red Square. But the movie touted American teamwork that defeated The Thing, the limits of science and the foolishness of trusting outerspace aliens until you know their true intent (trust but verify). Plus, Robert Cornthwaite (who just died a couple of years ago) was great. Arness will be missed; one of the few in Hollywood for whom I had great respect; his brother Peter Graves is another.


16 posted on 06/03/2011 3:48:59 PM PDT by laconic
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RIP

And thanks.


17 posted on 06/03/2011 3:59:03 PM PDT by combat_boots (The Lion of Judah cometh. Hallelujah. Gloria Patri, Filio et Spiritui Sancto.)
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To: laconic
Arness as the Thing was really the scariest movie I saw as a child
I also have to throw in Vincent Price movies of the same era: The Tingler, House on a Haunted Hill, Fall of the House of Usher, etc. Great stuff.
I hold these movies and many others (eg, The Day the Earth Stood Still, War of the Worlds) in such high esteem that I never watch the remakes. Never.
What makes them all so special too is how much "terror" they created without the use of gratuitous violence, gore and profanity.
18 posted on 06/03/2011 4:04:15 PM PDT by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: laconic

I did not realize that was him as the THING. That movie scared me as a kid, especially when they tried to shut that door and his hand thrust out. That part would still scare me today.


19 posted on 06/03/2011 4:16:44 PM PDT by annieokie
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To: oh8eleven

Yes, House on Haunted Hill was terrifying, although the ultimate plot was really quite well thought out. The weird guy who appears as an appartion at the end of the movie was extremely odd; don’t remember the name of the actor.


20 posted on 06/03/2011 4:28:37 PM PDT by laconic
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To: Rona_Badger

I read that John Wayne was the Gunsmoke producer’s first choice but Wayne said he didn’t want to do a TV show and recommended his friend James Arness.


21 posted on 06/03/2011 4:32:35 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (Islam is the religion of Satan and Mohammed was his minion.)
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To: laconic
Elisha Cook?

22 posted on 06/03/2011 4:44:29 PM PDT by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: oh8eleven

Yes, that was Elisha Cook, who was also noted for playing the short, blustery guy in Shane who gets tricked into a gunfight by Jack Palance and is shot dead by him in the mud street of the local town.


23 posted on 06/03/2011 5:04:56 PM PDT by laconic
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To: billorites

He was the last of the TV western icons.We’ll not see their like again.


24 posted on 06/03/2011 5:46:35 PM PDT by pawpawrick (Brevity is the soul of wit)
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To: Blood of Tyrants

Yes, I knew that, Blood. What a nice friend! When Encore Western channel started airing Gunsmoke about five years ago, I became hooked all over again. It was around that time when I found out that his younger brother was Peter Graves! Which made me watch the Gunsmoke reruns in a whole new light, as I was a big Mission Impossible fan. You can probably tell from my tagline that I love Westerns, too!


25 posted on 06/04/2011 11:54:13 AM PDT by Rona Badger (Heeds the Calling Wind)
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To: Rona_Badger

I just found out yesterday that Peter Graves was his brother, but when I think about it, they do look similar.


26 posted on 06/04/2011 5:31:04 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (Islam is the religion of Satan and Mohammed was his minion.)
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To: STARWISE

RIP “Matthew”.


27 posted on 06/04/2011 5:32:13 PM PDT by eyedigress ((Old storm chaser from the west)?)
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To: STARWISE
You only die twice!
28 posted on 06/04/2011 5:35:20 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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