James Arness : Biography, Pictures, Photos, Trivia, Address, Filmography (How the West Was Won)

Your personnal space on Series-80> My account

Login | Register | Password ?

Series-80 > TV Actors > James Arness

James Arness

Zebulon "Zeb" Macahan in How the West Was Won

Photos James Arness Birth name: James Aurness
Birth date: 1923/05/26
Date of death : 2011/06/03 (88 years old)
Birth place : Minneapolis
Height: 2.01 m

French Traduire

Biography for James Arness

James Arness (originally Aurness) (born May 26, 1923 in Minneapolis, Minnesota) is an actor best known for portraying Marshal Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke for 20 years, a record length for prime time shows that is shared with Kelsey Grammer’s portrayal of Dr. Frasier Crane. Arness's parents were Rolf Cirkler Aurness and Ruth Duesler, descendants of German and Norwegian immigrants. Arness is the older brother of actor Peter Graves. He was the tallest actor ever to play a lead role, standing 6' 7" (2.01 m).

Though primarily identified with Westerns, he also is remembered for appearing in two science fiction films, The Thing from Another World and Them!

James Arness served in the United States Army during World War II and was severely wounded at the Battle of Anzio. He was a close personal friend of John Wayne's and co-starred with him in Big Jim McLain. In fact, Wayne recommended Arness for the role of Matt Dillon after he turned the part down.

Since Gunsmoke ended, Arness has continued to perform primarily in western-themed movies and television series, including How the West Was Won, and five made-for-television Gunsmoke reunion movies between 1987 and 1994. A notable exception was a brief turn as a big city policeman in the short-lived 1981 series, McClain's Law.

For his contribution to the television industry, James Arness has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1751 Vine Street. In 1981, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

James Arness (which is also found under the pseudonym Jim Arness on his first films), was sent to the war in Europe, after his studies.

Seriously injured by the way, in Anzio -Italie-, he was decorated there after his acts of bravery during the landing.

In 1945, back in the United States, he worked on a local radio, as an advertising advertiser.

But he aspired to something else, went to Los Angeles, and his physique enabled him to win a role as a figurative, in the film my wife is a great man -1947-, in which Loretta Young won an Oscar.

Partially noticed, he will perform in three other compositions, Bastogne -1949-, the convoy of Braves -1950-, and Sierra -1950-.

In this year 1950, it must also have been his debut in fantastic films, Two Lost World, a style in which he will return.

James Arness will be the young accused of murder, in the people accuses O'hara -1951-, where he is defended by a convincing Spencer Tracy.

Beginning on television in 1950, a decidedly rich year for him, in the series, The Lone Ranger.

Returning to the fantastic, it will constitute, Carride obliges, the monster of the thing of another world -1951-, one of the best black and white film on the subject.

His signature with Bat Jack, the production company of John Wayne, allowed him to play with the latter in several very successful adventure films (Hondo the Desert Man, Island in the Sky -1953-, the ocean fox - 1955-).

He will previously be, for the same firm, investigator of a commission, in Big Jim Mclain -1952.

If the westerns suited him best (the Texas traitor, the man with Carrabine-1952-), it is still in the SF, monsters attack the city -1954-, and in the role of an agent of FBI. , that he is noticed again.

His luck, the second, came again from John Wayne who, refusing to put on the outfit of the Marshall Matt Dillon, for Police des Plains, suggested James Arness, who was taken. The series lasted twenty years, during which James Arness did almost nothing else, as he was taken by this new character.

Nominated three times at the Emmy Awards, he will persevere on a small screen, his last film, only thirty-three, was The First Traveling Saleslady, in 1956. He will then only turn on TV movies and series, completely abandoning the cinema, which ultimately had not fully allowed him to express himself.

This splendid fellow, which we see with pleasure the completely tanned complexion and the healed face in the series The conquest of the West (makeup?), Lives in Brentwood in California with his wife Janet, and has just published his memories.

Friendly boy, of which I had very great pleasure in discovering part of his intimate life, the moment of writing these few lines which were very humbly devoted to him.

James Arness was an American actor born May 26, 1923 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was best known for his role as Marshal Matt Dillon in the television series "Gunsmoke", which he played for almost 20 years, from 1955 to 1975. This series was one of the longest dramatic series of the History of American television, with more than 600 episodes.

Arness began his acting career in the cinema in the 1940s, playing in films such as "Les Pillars de la Terre" and "La Guerre des Mondes". He also played in television series such as "The Thing" and "The Naked City" before becoming famous thanks to his role in "Gunsmoke".

In addition to his role in "Gunsmoke", Arness has also played in several other television series and films during his career. He notably played in the series "The Remington Steele investigations" and in the film "The man who was worth 3 billion".

Arness died on June 3, 2011 at the age of 88, after a pulmonary infection. His acting career has earned him several awards, including a Primetime Emmy Award for his role in "Gunsmoke" in 1967. He is considered one of the most talented actors of his generation and remains one of the most characters iconic in the history of American television.


Photos James Arness n_15 Photos James Arness n_15 Photos James Arness n_15 Photos James Arness n_15 Photos James Arness n_15 Photos James Arness n_15 Photos James Arness n_15 Photos James Arness n_15 Photos James Arness n_15 Photos James Arness n_15 Photos James Arness n_15 Photos James Arness n_15 Photos James Arness n_15 Photos James Arness n_15 Photos James Arness n_15


Title Role
Comanche Stallion (2006) Adjutant General
Gunsmoke: One Man's Justice (1994) (TV) Matt Dillon
Gunsmoke: The Long Ride (1993) (TV) Matt Dillon
Gunsmoke: To the Last Man (1992) (TV) Matt Dillon
Gunsmoke: The Last Apache (1990) (TV) Matt Dillon
Red River (1988) (TV) Thomas Dunson
Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge (1987) (TV) Matt Dillon
The Alamo: Thirteen Days to Glory (1987) (TV) Jim Bowie
McClain's Law (1981) TV Series Det. Jim McClain
How the West Was Won (1979) TV Series Zeb Macahan
How the West Was Won (1978) (mini) TV Series Zeb Macahan
How the West Was Won (1977) (mini) TV Series Zebulon (Zeb) Macahan
The Macahans (1976) (TV) Zeb Macahan
Gunsmoke Marshal Matt Dillon
Alias Jesse James (1959) (uncredited) Marshal Matt Dillon
Gun the Man Down (1956) Rem Anderson
The First Traveling Saleslady (1956) Joel Kingdom
Front Row Center
Flame of the Islands (1956) Kelly Rand
The Sea Chase (1955) Schlieter
Many Rivers to Cross (1955) Esau Hamilton
Lux Video Theatre
Her Twelve Men (1954) Ralph Munsey
Them! (1954) Robert Graham
Hondo (1953) Lennie, Army Indian Scout
The Veils of Bagdad (1953) (as Jim Arness) Targut
Island in the Sky (1953) Mac McMullen, pilot
Lone Hand (1953) Gus Varden
Horizons West (1952) Tiny McGilligan
Hellgate (1952) George Redfield
Big Jim McLain (1952) Mal Baxter
Carbine Williams (1952) Leon Williams
The Girl in White (1952) Matt
The People Against O'Hara (1951) Johnny O'Hara
Iron Man (1951) (as Jim Arness) Alex Mallick
Cavalry Scout (1951) Barth
The Thing from Another World (1951) The Thing
Belle Le Grand (1951) (uncredited) Belle admirer at fire
Two Lost Worlds (1951) (as Jim Aurness) Kirk Hamilton
Wyoming Mail (1950) Russell
Sierra (1950) (as Jim Arness) Little Sam
Stars in My Crown (1950) (uncredited) Rolfe Isbell
The Lone Ranger
Wagon Master (1950) Floyd Clegg
Battleground (1949) (as Jim Arness) Pvt. Garby
Roses Are Red (1947) (as James Aurness) Ray


Honorary United States Marshal, "In recognition of his unique contribution to the Image and Traditions of the U.S. Marshal's Service"

Became "Matt Dillon", the US Marshal on "Gunsmoke" after John Wayne, originally offered the role, turned it down and suggested Arness to play the role.

Wounded in Italy in World War II.

He was the tallest actor to ever play a lead role.

According to an article on TV westerns in Time Magazine (March 30, 1959), Arness stood 6' 7", weighed 235 lbs, and had chest-waist-hips measurements of 48-36-36

Arness was one of the first to hit the beaches at Anzio, Italy during WWII due to his height.

Inducted (as a cast member of "Gunsmoke") into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1981.

On June 20, 2003, James Arness was honored at Los Angeles City Hall by the Mayor, the 15 city council members, and the city attorney with a resolution honoring his life's work as an actor and 60 year resident of Los Angeles. The colorful resolution included a depiction of a U.S. Marshall's badge and a salute to his work as Matt Dillon on "Gunsmoke" and its over 20 year duration as TV's longest running drama series. It also recalled his heroism during World War Two and thanked him for "leaving us with one of the most telling and realistic portraits ever created of the brave, tall man in the saddle who tames a western town as he searches for justice and peace." Arness called it "the most wonderful day in his life" and says the resolution is now framed and in a prominent place in his home. By the way, he received a standing ovation that morning.

Held the record for the longest continuous role portrayed by a single actor (20 years) on prime-time television (for Marshal Matt Dillon on the CBS western 'Gunsmoke'), until Kelsey Grammer (Dr. Frasier Crane on "Cheers" and "Frasier") tied the record in 2004 (at 20 years).

Was rightly touted as the tallest Leading Man in Hollywood, although this title has since been taken by other stars, mainly basketball players turned "actors."

Member of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity

Very, very often during his career, this huge actor was surrounded by co-stars standing on apple boxes or had to perform standing in a ditch just so he could be in a shot.

His status as a Republican disappointed Lady Bird Johnson, who was a fan of Gunsmoke.

Attended Beloit College.


Spouse : Janet Surtrees (1978 - present), Virginia Chapman (12 February 1948 - 1960) (divorced) 3 children

Brother of actor Peter Graves.

His daughter, Jenny, committed suicide in 1975.

Has two sons, Craig and Rolf.

Author of the card

  • Creation date: 01/07/2003 by abdest

The Dead Zone The Dead Zone

Dead Zone follows the adventures of Johnny Smith, who after 6 years of Coma due to a road accident wakes up and discovers that everything to change. He discovers that his...

John Ashton John Ashton

John Ashton, his real name John David Ashton is an American actor born February 22, 1948 in Springfield Massachusetts.

He is mainly known f...