In an era when TV actors typically chewed the scenery, Arness had a credible, commanding presence by hardly uttering a word. A typical scene found a dozen cowboys riding up to the town jail intent on busting out a prisoner pal.
Dillon faces them all down.
"The first move anybody makes," he says, with a slight shake of his head, "I cut you in two."
Arness' defiant but rueful delivery is so understated, he makes Clint Eastwood seem like a loudmouth.
No wonder "Gunsmoke" wore so well. And became the last word on a programming craze that some seasons found as many as 30 Westerns on the air. When "Gunsmoke" went off in 1975, it was the only Western left.
Arness left a message for his fans on his website, planned ahead of time to be posted at his death. The Huffington Post has more on Arness' life and career. Link -via Uncle John's Blog