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James Arness (I) (1923–2011)

American leading man famed as the star of one of the longest-running shows in U.S. television history, Gunsmoke (1955). Born of Norwegian heritage (the family name, Aurness, had formerly been Aursness) in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Rolf and Ruth Duesler Aurness. His father was a traveling salesman of medical supplies and his mother later became a ... See full bio »

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Nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys. Another 5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Known For


Hide Hide Show Show Actor (47 credits)
 1988 Red River (TV Movie)
Thomas Dunson
 1976-1979 How the West Was Won (TV Mini-Series)
Zeb Macahan
- The Slavers (1979) ... Zeb Macahan
- China Girl (1979) ... Zeb Macahan
- Luke (1979) ... Zeb Macahan
- The Forgotten (1979) ... Zeb Macahan
 1976 The Macahans (TV Movie)
Zeb Macahan
 1956 Gun the Man Down
Rem Anderson
 1956 Front Row Center (TV Series)
Hemp Brown
- The Challenge (1956) ... Hemp Brown
 1956 Flame of the Islands
Kelly Rand
 1955 The Sea Chase
 1955 Many Rivers to Cross
Esau Hamilton
 1955 William Tell (TV Movie)
William Tell
 1954 Lux Video Theatre (TV Series)
Chuck Scott
- The Chase (1954) ... Chuck Scott
 1954 Her Twelve Men
Ralph Munsey
 1953 The Veils of Bagdad
Targut (as Jim Arness)
 1953 Island in the Sky
Mac McMullen
 1953 The Lone Hand
Gus Varden (as Jim Arness)
 1952 Hellgate
George Redfield
 1952 Big Jim McLain
Mal Baxter
 1952 The Girl in White
 1952 Carbine Williams
Leon Williams
 1951 The People Against O'Hara
John Fordman 'Johnny' O'Hara
 1951 Iron Man
Alex Mallick (as Jim Arness)
 1951 Cavalry Scout
 1951 Belle Le Grand
Belle Admirer Mine Guard at Fire (uncredited)
 1951 Double Crossbones
Bullock (uncredited)
 1951 Two Lost Worlds
Kirk Hamilton (as Jim Aurness)
 1950 Wyoming Mail
 1950 Sierra
Little Sam (as Jim Arness)
 1950 The Lone Ranger (TV Series)
Deputy Bud Titus
- Matter of Courage (1950) ... Deputy Bud Titus
 1950 Wagon Master
Floyd Clegg
 1950 Stars in My Crown
Rolfe Isbell (uncredited)
 1949 Battleground
Garby (as Jim Arness)
 1948 Man from Texas
Minor Role (uncredited)
 1947 Roses Are Red
Ray (as James Aurness)
 1947 The Farmer's Daughter
Peter Holstrom (as James Aurness)
Show Show Producer (3 credits)
Show Show Miscellaneous Crew (2 credits)
Show Show Self (15 credits)
Show Show Archive footage (9 credits)

Related Videos


Personal Details

Other Works:

1960s: Hosted a collection of bloopers and outtakes from "Gunsmoke" and other programs, which was produced for a CBS Network affiliates meeting. This gag reel has been released on several blooper videos, though often without Arness' original deadpan introductions and commentary. See more »

Publicity Listings:

1 Print Biography | 3 Articles | 1 Pictorial | See more »

Official Sites:

Alternate Names:

Jim Arness | James Aurness | Jim Aurness


6' 7" (2.01 m)

Did You Know?

Personal Quote:

"If they were man and wife, it would make a lot of difference. The people upstairs decided it was better to leave the show as it was, which I totally agreed with." - on why his Gunsmoke character, Marshal Dillon, never married Miss Kitty. See more »


An infantry soldier during World War II, Arness took part in the landings at Anzio, Italy. It was during this battle that he was shot in the foot and wound up losing part of it, an injury that made it difficult for him to walk for extended stretches. When shooting movies or TV shows, any scenes that required extensive walking would be shot early in the morning, before his feet and knees started ... See more »


Towering height See more »



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Recent Posts
Gunsmoke.... The right man??? milwhitt70
My Opinion rstt_stone
Never mind longest continuous ... Bevan - #4
Address for Mr. Arness? ConniefromCedarPark
My sympathies silentxerox
James' lack of a picture at IMDB jmikeh-1
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