James Arness Has Passed Away at Age 88

Posted by at 12:31 pm on June 3, 2011

James Arness, the towering 6 foot 7 actor best known for portraying Marshal Matt Dillon, the Dodge City lawman, on the TV western series “Gunsmoke,” died today. He was 88.

Arness died of natural causes at his home in Brentwood, said family spokesperson Ginny Fazer.

“Gunsmoke” debuted on CBS on Sept. 10, 1955 to kick off the adult western crazy. The series ran until 1975, far outdistancing its many competitors and becoming one of the longest-running prime-time series in network TV history.

Arness returned as Dillon in a handful of “Gunsmoke” TV movies in the late ’80s and early ’90s.

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