RIP James Arness

Actor James Arness, who protected the citizens of Dodge City as Marshal Matt Dillon for 20 years (1955-1975) on the TV series "Gunsmoke" has died of natural causes. He was 88.
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

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Thanks for the link to his website message. I loved GUNSMOKE like everybody else did. (Makes me wonder why another western isn't being tried on the networks today) THEM! was a favorite film from the sci-fi 50s. Rest In Peace Mr. Arness and thanks for all the wonderful memories.
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