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James Arness

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
James "Marshal Dillon" Arness
James King Aurness

(1923-05-26)May 26, 1923
DiedJune 3, 2011(2011-06-03) (aged 88)
Cause of deathNatural causes[1]
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery
EducationMinneapolis Washburn High School
Minneapolis West High School
Alma materBeloit College
Years active1947–94
How the West Was Won
Height201 cm (6 ft 7 in)
Spouse(s)Virginia Chapman
(m.1948–1960, divorced)
Janet Surtees
(m.1978–2011, his death)
ChildrenRolf, Craig (deceased), Jim, Jenny Lee (deceased)
RelativesPeter Graves
(brother, deceased)

James King Arness (May 26, 1923 – June 3, 2011) was an American actor. He was best known for his role in Gunsmoke. He played the character Marshal Matt Dillon. His younger brother was actor Peter Graves.

Early life

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Arness was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He dropped the "u" when he started acting. His mother was of German ancestry; his father was of Norwegian ancestry.[2] The family name had been Aursnes, but when Rolf's father, Peter Aursnes, emigrated from Norway in 1887, he changed it to Aurness.[3] Arness and his family were Methodists.[4] He served in the army in Italy during World War II. He received the Bronze Star.

Arness died in Los Angeles at age 88 of natural causes.[5]


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  1. "'Gunsmoke' star James Arness dies at 88". today.msnbc.com. June 3, 2011. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved January 12, 2014.
  2. "Ancestry of James Arness" Archived 2010-09-26 at the Wayback Machine genealogy.com Accessed 12 January 2014
  3. James Arness, James E. Wise Jr. (2001) "James Arness: an Autobiography", ISBN 0-7864-1221-6, McFarland & Company Inc., Accessed January 12, 2014
  4. "Famous Methodists". Adherents.com. Archived from the original on 2019-06-17. Retrieved 2014-01-12.
  5. Hinckley, David (2011-06-03). "James Arness, actor best remembered on 'Gunsmoke,' dies at age 88". Daily News. New York City. Archived from the original on 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2011-06-03.
  6. "The Alamo Thirteen Days to Glory-Overview" New York Times, Accessed 12 January 2014
  7. "James Arness-Filmography" Archived 2013-07-03 at the Wayback Machine Fandango.com Accessed 12 January 2014
  8. "Lone Ranger Fan Club" Archived 2016-02-17 at the Wayback Machine lonerangerfan.com Accessed 12 January 2014
  9. "Gunsmoke was not James Arness' first television western," GunsmokeNet.com