Friday, June 3, 2011
A Tribute To James Arness
Before landing the role of Marshal Matt Dillon on TV's "Gunsmoke"(1955-75),James Arness portrayed a menacing alien humanoid-vegetable in "The Thing"(1951), then, as a government agent, faced off against oversized ants in "Them"(1954). Disney reps originally looked at "Them" with an eye to casting co-star Arness as Davy Crockett, but were so impressed with Fess Parker's performance as a man (Alan Crotty) confined to a cell to keep him mum about having seen colossal flying ants that they offered him the choice role instead!
When John Wayne was offered the role of Matt Dillon when “Gunsmoke” was making the transition from radio to TV, he declined it, recommending Arness instead.
His actual surname is Aurness, and he is the brother of actor Peter Graves.At 6'7", he is the tallest actor to date to have had a starring TV role, beating out Clint Walker (" Cheyenne ") at 6'6". However, Ted Cassidy (in a supporting role as Lurch the butler on "The Addams Family") topped him at 6'9". And, Richard Kiel ("Jaws" in the 007 films) beat them all at 7'2".
May the Power of the Cosmos be with You,James, wherever you may be! You will not be forgotten by your legion of fans!