Login | Forgot Password? | Join the Community
James Arness ACTOR
PHOTOS



JAMES ARNESS BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY:
 
James Arness was born on may 26th, 1923 in Minneapolis, Minnesota with the middle name King, born to Rolf and Ruth Duesler Aurness.  His younger brother, Peter Graves, also grew up to pursue a career as an actor.  While attending West High School in Minneapolis, he became involved in acting in a number of school productions, although he never intended to pursue a career in entertainment.
 
After earning his high school diploma he enrolled at Beloit College, but after only one semester he was drafted into the United States Army in 1943.  However, after suffering a leg injury, he was discharged from his service and later with convincing from his brother, he decided to take a radio course at the University of Minnesota.
 
This lead to a teacher at the college taking notice of his vocal talents and helped him secure a job as an announcer for a local radio station.  Soon he decided to move out west to Hollywood and see if there was any chance he could break into the film industry.
 
He found a number of small extra roles in film and also enrolled at the Bliss-Hayden Theatre School since up until that point he had no real formal training as an actor.  During one performance in a school production, a industry agent, Leon Lance saw him perform on stage and helped Arness get his first real film role in, "The Farmer's Daughter" (1947).
 
After the film was released, he began to gain the attention of the public and continued to do some stage acting in such productions as, "Candida".  He was not yet being cast in major roles but the industry was slowly beginning to take notice of him and he made appearances in such classic science fiction thriller films as, "The Thing from Another World" (1951) and "Them!" (1954).
 
When he was working on another stage production another agent took notice of him by the name of, Charles K. Feldman who represented John Wayne.  This was the real take off point for his career as now he was beginning to get cast in more substantial roles.
 
It was his most famous role on the television series, "Gunsmoke" (1955-1975) that took his popularity to a whole new level of stardom.  He portrayed, Marshall Dillon and the show aired for twenty seasons making it the longest running drama series ever in United States history.
 
When this series was cancelled in 1975 he had no trouble being cast on another highly popular television min-series called, "How the West was Won".  Other roles he added to his resume throughout his period as an actor were on such films with friend John Wayne as, "Big Jim McLain" (1952), "Hondo" (1953), "Island in the Sky" (1953), "The Sea Chase" (1955) and the television series, "McClain's Law" (1981).  He also reprised his character from, "Gunsmoke" in a series of movies, "Gusmoke: The Last Apache" (1990), "Gunsmoke" To the Last Man" (1992), "Gunsmoke: The Long Ride" (1993) and "Gunsmoke: One Man's Justice" (1994).
 
James Arness then chose to retire from the industry and on June 3rd, 2011 he passed away in Los Angeles, California.  He married twice throughout his lifetime, first to Virginia Chapman from 1948 through 1963 and together they had three children.  His second marriage was to Janet Surtrees in 1978 and they remained together until he passed away.  One of his children, daughter, Jenny Lee Arness also pursued a career as an actress, but sadly on May 12th, 1975 she took her life.  His other children were, Rolf Aurness and an adopted son, Craig from Virginia Chapman's first marriage who also passed away in 2004.
 
His remains are interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

 
Filmography

1994   Gunsmoke: One Man's Justice

1993   Gunsmoke: The Long Ride

1992   Gunsmoke: To the Last Man 

1990   Gunsmoke: The Last Apache 

1988   Red River 

1987   Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge

1987   The Alamo: Thirteen Days to Glory 

1981-1982  McClain's Law

1978-1979  How the West Was Won 

1977   How the West Was Won

1976   The Macahans 

1955-1975  Gunsmoke

1959   Alias Jesse James 

1956   Gun the Man Down 

1956   The First Traveling Saleslady

1956   Front Row Center 

1956   Flame of the Islands 

1955   The Sea Chase 

1955   Many Rivers to Cross 

1955   William Tell

1954   Lux Video Theatre

1954   Her Twelve Men

1954   Them!

1953   Hondo 

1953   The Veils of Bagdad

1953   Island in the Sky

1953   The Lone Hand

1952   Horizons West 

1952   Hellgate 

1952   Big Jim McLain

1952   The Girl in White

1952   Carbine Williams

1951   The People Against O'Hara 

1951   Iron Man 

1951   Cavalry Scout 

1951   The Thing from Another World

1951   Belle Le Grand

1951   Double Crossbones 

1951   Two Lost Worlds 

1950   Wyoming Mail

1950   Sierra

1950   Stars in My Crown

1950   The Lone Ranger

1950   Wagon Master 

1949   Battleground 

1948   Man from Texas 

1947   Roses Are Red 

1947   The Farmer's Daughter





Matinee Classics - Big Jim McLain starring John Wayne, Nancy Olson, James Arness and Alan Napier
Matinee Classics - Hondo
Matinee Classics - Island in the Sky starring John Wayne, Lloyd Nolan, James Arness, Andy Devine, Harry Carey Jr., Walter Abel, Paul Fix, Louis Jean Heydt, Fess Parker, Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer, Darryl Hickman, Mike Connors and William Wellman
Matinee Classics - The Sea Chase starring John Wayne, Lana Turner, David Farrar, Lyle Bettger, Tab Hunter, James Arness, Richard Davalos, John Qualen, Paul Fix, Lowell Gilmore, Luis Van Rooten, Alan Hale Jr., Wilton Graff, Peter Whitney and Claude Akins
Matinee Classics - Gunsmoke starring James Arness, Dennis Weaver, Amanda Blake and Milburn Stone
Matinee Classics - Gunsmoke starring James Arness, Dennis Weaver, Amanda Blake and Milburn Stone
Matinee Classics - Many Rivers to Cross starring Robert Taylor, Eleanor Parker, Victor McLaglen, Jeff Richards, Russ Tamblyn, James Arness, Alan Hale Jr., John Hudson, Rhys Williams, Josephine Hutchinson, Sig Ruman, Rosemary DeCamp, Russell Johnson and Abel Fernandez
Matinee Classics - Roses Are Red starring Don Castle, Peggy Knudsen, Patricia Knight, Joe Sawyer, Edward Keane, Jeff Chandler, Charles McGraw, Charles Lane, Paul Guilfoyle, Douglas Fowley and James Arness
Matinee Classics - The First Traveling Saleslady starring Ginger Rogers, Barry Nelson, Carol Channing, David Brian, James Arness, Clint Eastwood, Robert F. Simon, Frank Wilcox, Dan White and Harry Cheshire
Matinee Classics - The First Traveling Saleslady starring Ginger Rogers, Barry Nelson, Carol Channing, David Brian, James Arness, Clint Eastwood, Robert F. Simon, Frank Wilcox, Dan White and Harry Cheshire


HOME  |  MOVIES  |  TV SHOWS  |  RADIO  |  ACTORS  |  DIRECTORS  |  COMMUNITY  |  SEARCH
ABOUT US  |  FAQS  |  PRIVACY POLICY  |  TERMS & CONDITIONS  |  COPYRIGHT POLICY
Copyright © 2014 Matinee Classics LLC - All Rights Reserved. Developed by: VividConcept.com