How sad it was to hear, earlier today, that longtime American TV performer James Arness has died at age 88. The elder brother of Mission: Impossible star Peter Graves (who himself perished more than a year ago), the 6-foot-7 Arness was best recognized for his role as Marshal Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke. However, he also featured in the small-screen western series How the West Was Won and appeared in the less-successful McClain’s Law as an older, retired cop in modern Southern California, who decides to return to active duty.
In memory of the big man, I’ve embedded below part of an interview conducted with Arness for the Archive of American Television, as well as the most familiar introduction to Gunsmoke, a series I saw often as a child while visiting my grandparents’ home.
READ MORE: “Voices: James Arness, 1923-2011” (Los Angeles Times); “Appreciation: James Arness, 1923-2011,” by Robert Lloyd (Los Angeles Times); “The Late Great James Arness,” by Mercurie (A Shroud of Thoughts); “James Arness,” by Tony Figueroa (TV Confidential); “Gunsmoke Actor James Arness Dies” (CNN); “The Other Gunsmoke,” by Jim Meals (Western Fictioneers); “Noir: R.I.P., James ‘Marshall Matt Dillon’ Aurness,” by Lou Boxer (NoirCon); “James Arness -- 1923-2011,” by Brent McKee (I Am a Child of Television).