James Arness (born May 26, 1923) was a well-known American actor best remembered for his 20-year starring as Marshal Matt Dillon in the famous CBS television series Gunsmoke.
James Arness exhibited his outstanding talent in a range of films during his illustrious career, including The Thing (1951), in which he left a lasting impression on viewers, as well as How the West Was Won (1976) and The Macahans (1976), in which he further cemented his image as a versatile actor.
|James Arness: History ‧ Bio ‧ Photo|
|Full Name:||James King Aurness|
|Stage Name:||James Arness|
|Born:||26 May 1923 (age 88 years old)|
|Place of Birth:||Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States|
|Died:||3 June 2011, Brentwood, Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Parents:||Rolf Cirkler Aurness, Ruth Duesler Aurness|
|Spouse:||Janet Surtees (m. 1978–2011), Virginia Chapman (m. 1948–1960)|
|Girlfriend • Partner:||Thordis Brandt (1970-1972), Tura Satana|
|Children:||Jenny Lee Aurness, Rolf Aurness, Craig Aurness|
|Occupation:||Actor • TV Personality|
|Net Worth:||$8 million|
Early Life & Education
James Arness, the iconic actor, was born James King Aurness on May 26, 1923, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was the older of two sons born to Rolf Cirkler Aurness, a traveling salesman, and Ruth Duesler Aurness, a newspaper columnist.
Arness‘ father was of Norwegian descent, and his mother was of German descent. He has a younger brother named Peter Graves.
James Arness attended John Burroughs Grade School, Washburn High School, and West High School in Minneapolis. He could have been a better student, and he often skipped classes.
After graduating from high school in 1942, Arness enrolled at Beloit College in Wisconsin. He studied drama and joined the campus choir and Beta Theta Pi fraternity.
James Arness‘ career started in the 1940s, during which he appeared in a handful of films, such as The Farmer’s Daughter (1947) and Wagon Master (1950). Nevertheless, it was only when he secured the role of Matt Dillon that he reached the heights of stardom.
Gunsmoke, Arness remained active in the entertainment industry, taking on various roles in both television and film. One notable project he was involved in was the Western series How the West Was Won, which aired from 1977 to 1978. Additionally, he appeared in made-for-television movies such as Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge (1987) and The Tracker (1993).
James Arness achieved success in the field of voice acting as well. He was responsible for lending his voice to the main character in the animated series Mighty Mouse (1967-1973). He also contributed his vocal talents to various Rankin/Bass Christmas specials characters. Notably, Arness portrayed Santa Claus in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964).
Awards & Nominations
Primetime Emmy Awards
- 1957: Nominated Best Continuing Performance by an Actor in a Dramatic Series, Gunsmoke
Western Heritage Awards
- 1967: Won Bronze Wrangler, Fictional Television Drama, Gunsmoke, for the episode “Death Watch.”
- 1972: Won Bronze Wrangler, Fictional Television Drama, Gunsmoke, for the episode “Pike.”
- 1976: Won Bronze Wrangler, Fictional Television Drama, The Macahans
James Arness, the American actor best known for portraying Marshal Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke, had no social media accounts.
James Arness, the famous actor, was married twice in his lifetime. He first tied the knot with Virginia Chapman in 1948. Together, they had three children named Jenny Lee Aurness, Rolf Aurness, and Craig Aurness.
Unfortunately, tragedy struck when Jenny died from a drug overdose in 1975. Virginia also succumbed to a drug in 1977.
However, James Arness found love for the second time when he married Janet Surtees in 1978. Their marriage lasted until he died in 2011.
James Arness was in a committed relationship with Thordis Brandt from 1970 to 1972. Additionally, James Arness had a notable encounter with Tura Satana.
James Arness, a highly renowned actor, amassed a substantial net worth valued at approximately $8 million before his unfortunate passing in 2011. Throughout his extensive 50-year acting journey, he accumulated this wealth through his remarkable performances on screen.
Arness‘ talent and dedication allowed him to flourish in the entertainment industry, leaving behind an impressive legacy that continues to inspire aspiring actors today.