Friday, June 03, 2011

Adios, Marshal Dillon

James Arness

Actor James Arness, best known as Marshal Matt Dillon, in the long-running TV series Gunsmoke, has died. He was 88.

If you are close to my age, grew up in the U.S., and had a TV, you probably saw the show, which opened with a fast-draw showdown on Main Street. The Marshal shot that bad guy every week for twenty years. We saw him, Doc, Miss Kitty, Chester, Festus, and a slew of bad hombres and guest stars, and the Marshal used to get shot a time or two each season, making him the most-wounded cowboy on the tube.

Anybody who was anybody did a guest spot sooner or later. Leonard Nimoy was on the show.

Before he was the marshal of Dodge, Arness–whose younger brother Peter Graves, was also an actor–was in a lot of movies. An old war injury made it hard for him to sit on a horse, but he sat on a lot of them. 

Sci Fi fans will remember him from Them! the mutant ant movie, and as the creature from 1951's The Thing from Another World.

Adios, Jim.


Dojo Rat said...

We still watch Gunsmoke a couple of times a week.
One thing that set the series apart is that while moral issues were played out as in most westerns, it didn't always have a happy ending.
Not every gunfight ends with a smiley face.
Great acting, lots of stars got their start in that series.

steve-vh said...

And what other westerns actor had a bit part in Them?

Steve Perry said...

Here's a partial list from the wiki:

Willie Aames, Jack Albertson, Mabel Albertson, Claude Akins, Chris Alcaide, Richard Anderson, Tige Andrews, R. G. Armstrong, Jenny Lee Arness,[33] Jean Arthur, John Astin
Edward Asner, Lew Ayres, John Drew Barrymore, Richard Basehart, Ed Begley, Ralph Bellamy, James Best, Dan Blocker, Randy Boone, Bruce Boxleitner, Eric Braeden
Peter Breck, Beau Bridges, Morgan Brittany, Charles Bronson, James Brown, Joyce Bulifant, Gary Busey,
Sebastian Cabot, Frank Cady, Harry Carey, Jr., John Carradine, Conlan Carter, Jack Cassidy, Mary Castle, Lee J. Cobb, Michael Cole, Don Collier, Chuck Connors
Mike Connors, Tim Considine, Pat Conway, Elisha Cook, Jr., Ben Cooper, Glenn Corbett, Dennis Cross, Brandon Cruz, Robert Culp, Royal Dano, Kim Darby, Bette Davis
Jim Davis (multiple appearances), Richard Deacon, Gloria DeHaven, John Dehner, Bruce Dern
William Devane, Angie Dickinson, James Doohan, Richard Dreyfuss, Buddy Ebsen, Barbara Eden, Jack Elam, Sam Elliott, Gene Evans (10 episodes), Shug Fisher, Paul Fix
Jay C. Flippen, Constance Ford, Harrison Ford, Jodie Foster, Ron Foster, Anne Francis, Dean Fredericks, Bert Freed, Victor French (18 episodes)
Beverly Garland, Leif Garrett, James Gavin, Lisa Gerritsen, Melissa Gilbert, Harold Gould, James Gregory, Tom Greenway
Kevin Hagen, Ron Hagerthy, Alan Hale, Jr., Mariette Hartley, Ron Hayes, Katherine Helmond, Earl Holliman, Ron Howard, Bo Hopkins, Dennis Hopper, Marsha Hunt
Josephine Hutchinson, Steve Ihnat, John Ireland, Richard Jaeckel, Salome Jens, Brad Johnson, Ben Johnson
I. Stanford Jolley, L. Q. Jones, Robert Karnes, Don Keefer, DeForest Kelley, Dan Kemp, Adam Kennedy, George Kennedy, Richard Kiley, Jack Klugman, Ted Knight, Diane Ladd, Martin Landau
Allan Lane, Louise Latham, Harry Lauter, Anna Lee, June Lockhart, Jack Lord, Dayton Lummis, Tyler MacDuff, Barton MacLane, George Macready, Rose Marie, Scott Marlowe, Ross Martin
Strother Martin, Darren McGavin, Peggy McCay, Howard McNear, Patrick McVey, Tyler McVey, Vera Miles, Denny Scott Miller, John Mitchum, Roger Mobley, Ricardo Montalbán, Erin Moran, Harry Morgan, Read Morgan (12 times)
Richard Mulligan, Diana Muldaur, Gene Nelson, Leslie Nielsen, Leonard Nimoy, Jeanette Nolan, Nick Nolte, Simon Oakland, Warren Oates, Susan Olsen
Gregg Palmer (20 times), John Payne, Brock Peters, John Pickard (12 times), Slim Pickens, Suzanne Pleshette, Judson Pratt, Andrew Prine, Denver Pyle, Dack Rambo, Gilman Rankin
Pernell Roberts, Wayne Rogers, Ruth Roman, Katharine Ross, Kurt Russell, Albert Salmi, John Saxon
William Shatner, Tom Simcox, Robert F. Simon, Tom Skerritt, Jeremy Slate, Quintin Sondergaard, Aaron Spelling, Loretta Swit, Harry Dean Stanton, Gloria Talbott, Russ Tamblyn, Vic Tayback
Dub Taylor, Robert Totten (also a director), Harry Townes (seven times), Daniel J. Travanti, Forrest Tucker, Cicely Tyson, Robert Urich, Joan Van Ark, Lee Van Cleef, Warren Vanders (12 times), Mitch Vogel, Joyce Van Patten, Robert Vaughn, Jan-Michael Vincent, Gary Vinson
Jon Voight, Lesley Ann Warren, Ruth Warrick, David Wayne, Adam West, Johnny Whitaker, James Whitmore, Robert J. Wilke, Chill Wills, William Windom, Morgan Woodward (19 times), Ian Wolfe, and Dana Wynter.

steve-vh said...

they were all in the movie "Them!"?

Steve Perry said...

Oops, sorry, my error, I msread your post, didn't catch the big T on "Them!" and though you were referring to Gunsmoke. Mea culpa.

Both James Whitmore and Fess Parker were in that one.

steve-vh said...

well done!!

Watched the beginning of Rodan over the weekend. There's a memory from childhood.