Friday, June 3, 2011


James Arness, One of the Biggest Stars in the History of TV, Dead at 88 LA Times

James Arness, who played Marshal Matt Dillon in the long-running TV Western “Gunsmoke,” has died, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Arness died today, Friday, June 3, 2011, of natural causes at his home in Brentwood, Calif. The 6-foot-7 TV legend was 88.

His brother, actor Peter Graves, who starred in “Mission: Impossible,” died of a heart attack just a year ago at 83.

Arness is best known for his 20-year stint on “Gunsmoke,” one of the longest-running shows in TV history. The CBS drama premiered in September 1955, at the dawn of the era of the adult Western. “Gunsmoke” outlasted most of its rivals in the genre, remaining on air until 1975.

Arness reprised the role of Marshal Dillon in a series of “Gunsmoke” TV movies in the 1980s and 1990s. He once said of the character: "Matt is very human and has all the failings and drives common to anyone who is trying to do a difficult job the best he knows how."

The actor received three Emmy nominations for his portrayal of Dillon.

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