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петак, 03. јун 2011.

JAMES ARNESS: 1923-2011


James Arnes: 1923-2011

     James Arness, the lanky actor best remembered for his portrayal 
of the iconic Marshal Matt Dillon on the long-running American 
TV series "Gunsmoke", passed away on Friday of natural causes. 
He was 88.
     He was born James King Aurness on May 26, 1923 in 
Minneapolis, Minnesota, the eldest son of Ruth and Rolf 
Aurness, older brother to Peter, who later changed his name 
and gained fame as actor Peter Graves. James spent his 
formative years in Minneapolis before heading to university 
at Beloit College, dropping out of classes there when he 
received his draft notice in 1943. Having dreamt of becoming 
a fighter pilot, he was disappointed to discover that his 6'7" 
height disqualified him from aviation. Instead, he served in 
the Army as an infantry rifleman, but his Army career ended 
with a medical discharge after being seriously wounded during 
combat in Anzio, Italy, injuries which earned him a Purple Heart. 
While recovering, he was visited by his brother Peter, who 
encouraged him to enroll in the University of Minnesota's radio 
training course. James took his brother's advice, and a career as 
a Minneaoplis radio announcer followed.
     After spending time as a successful disc jockey, James and a 
friend headed to Hollywood to try their luck at acting. James 
won a contract with RKO pictures, where he made his first 
onscreen appearance as Loretta Young's brother in 1947's The 
Farmer's Daughter. It was at this time that the studio officially 
changed his surname to "Arness". He continued to act in local 
theater productions, and during his time in the Pasadena 
Playhouse production of Candida he met and married his 
leading lady, Virginia Chapman. The couple would have three 
children, Rolf, Jenny and Craig, and remained married until 
1960, when they divorced. Simultaneously, his film career was 
slowly gaining momentum, his height winning him parts in 
science fiction classics The Thing from Another World and Them!

     It was his role in another play that caught the attention of 
Charles K. Feldman, who introduced Arness to his client John 
Wayne. Wayne, impressed with the young man, signed him to a 
three year contact that would determine the direction of the 
rest of Arness's career. When, in 1955, Wayne suggested him 
for the lead in a new television show, Arness was hesitant to 
accept the role, concerned that an appearance on TV might hinder 
his film career. He reluctantly took the role, however, and would 
play Marshal Matt Dillon, who honorably maintained law and order 
in Dodge City on "Gunsmoke" for the next twenty years until the 
show's cancellation in 1975. The show held the record for the 
longest-running American television series until 2010, when it 
was surpassed by The Simpsons. After the cancellation of 
"Gunsmoke", Arness returned to TV in another western "How the 
West Was Won", as a detective in "McClain's Law", and appeared 
in TV movies "The Alamo" and "Red River". He reprised the role 
of Marshall Dillon in four TV movies between 1990 and 1994, 
before officially retiring from acting in 2001.

     He is survived by his wife Janet Surtrees, who he married in 
1978, and his sons Rolf Aurness and Craig Aurness. He was 
preceded in death by his parents, his daughter Jenny Lee Arness 
in 1975, and his brother Peter Graves in 2010.

(Heather Campbell / IMDb News)

James Arness - Western Filmography:

26. Gunsmoke: One Man's Justice (1994) (TV)  
25. Gunsmoke: The Long Ride (1993) (TV)  
24. Gunsmoke: To the Last Man (1992) (TV)  
23. Gunsmoke: The Last Apache (1990) (TV) 
22. Red River (1988) (TV)  
21. Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge (1987) (TV) 
20. Alamo: Thirteen Days to Glory, The (1987) (TV) 
19. "How the West Was Won" 
     - Slavers, The (1979) TV episode  
     - China Girl (1979) TV episode  
     - Luke (1979) TV episode  
     - Forgotten , The (1979) TV episode  
     - Scavengers , The (1979) TV episode 
     (19 more)
18. "How the West Was Won" (1977) TV mini-series  
17. Macahans , The (1976) (TV)
16. "Gunsmoke" 
  - Sharecroppers , The (1975) TV episode  
     - Manolo (1975) TV episode  
     - Busters , The (1975) TV episode  
     - I Have Promises to Keep (1975) TV episode  
     - Hard Labor (1975) TV episode  
     (630 more)
15. Alias Jesse James (1959)  
14. Gun the Man Down (1956)  
13. First Traveling Saleslady, The (1956)  
12. Many Rivers to Cross (1955) [PREVEDEN]
11. Hondo (1953) [PREVEDEN]
10. Lone Hand, The (1953)  
9. Horizons West (1952) [PREVEDEN]
8. Hellgate (1952) 
7. Cavalry Scout (1951)  
6. Belle Le Grand (1951)  
5. Wyoming Mail (1950)  
4. Sierra (1950)   

3. Stars in My Crown (1950) 
2. "Lone Ranger, The "  
     - Matter of Courage (1950) TV episode  
1. Wagon Master (1950) [PREVEDEN]
(Pavle Zorić 2011-06-04)

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