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

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James Arness - Trivia


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.

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