James Arness - Personal

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Arness first came west because ``I just wanted to see California. I wasn't thinking of acting.''


Arness was so tall, one director had to stand him in a hole to get his head into the picture.


      Amanda Blake stands on a box for a picture with tall James Arness.

Arness claims ``The greatest spiritual cleansing I can imagine is
  • being baptized''.
  • to dive into a big surf''.
  • to stand on top of a snow capped peak''.
  • being ranked number one (as a television program)''.

    Answer: ... a big surf.

To within three years, when was James Arness born?

      May 25,1923

Did James Arness have any sons?

Yes. For details, click HERE.

The name given to James Arness by his parents was
  • James Aurness.
  • Hector Gleason.
  • Opal Tim Arness.
  • James Arness.

    Answer: ... Aurness

Peter Graves, star of the television series Mission Impossible and the movie Airplane is James Arness' brother.
True. Click here for a picture.

The name of Peter Graves was submitted by his agent for the television role of Matt Dillon.

True ... Graves says a reason he was rejected was his role as a Nazi spy in the 1953 Billy Wilder film, Stalag 17. William Holden won an Oscar for his role in the classic film.

Peter Graves has directed Gunsmoke.

      True ... an episode titled Harvest first aired on March 26, 1966

In 1976, James Arness made Mr. Blackwell's list of America's ten worst dressed men.


What is Arness doing in this picture? (Click on picture for the answer).

To within three inches, how tall is Arness?

Answer: 6' 6" to 6' 7"

Arness is one of the few Hollywood types who has been happily married to the same woman for over thirty years.

      False ... he became divorced from his first wife in 1963.

James Arness' brother starred in a short lived syndicated television western set in Australia.

      True ... Whiplash in 1961.

When Arness tired of his ranch and couldn't sell it, CBS took it off his hands.


Arness has a pronounced limp that has worsened over time. The cause of the limp is
  • a horse fell on his leg during the shooting of an 1959 episode of Gunsmoke.
  • a machine gun wound aquired at Anzio in World War II.
  • a genetic defect.

    Answer: ... machine gun wound. The limp was so pronounced during the filming of Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge, that a double was hired to walk for Arness in many scenes. Shooting was done from the back.

In the early '70's, Arness developed a phobia about being seen while he ate. His Gunsmoke contract stated explicitly that he was not to be filmed while eating.

Totally False

(T/F) James Arness' favorite food is shrimp pizza.


To within three million, what was James Arness' estimated net worth when Gunsmoke went off the air in 1975?

      Twenty million

What is James Arness' nationality?


The antics of Arness at media events are legendary.

    False ... Arness says ``Aloneness is absolutely essential to my life. I can't see how people don't need it occasionally. I feel a need for it regularly". Arness had a reputation as a recluse.

Arness has no children.

      False ... sadly, his daughter committed suicide (a drug overdose) in 1975. His first wife attempted suicide twice. Click here for more information.

(T/F) James Arness has never been in the state of Texas.


Photo of James Arness as a tourist at the Alamo.

(T/F) Arness became an insurance salesman

      True. He sold life insurance by mail. Check HERE to see his pitch

In December 1988, Arness helped celebrate the U.S. Marshals Service bicentennial.