James Arness - The Actor

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Arness' first television job was as Hector the Giant Clown on KBOB-TV in Los Angeles.


Arness was the only regular cast member on Gunsmoke to have been born in the same state that Gunsmoke was centered

False ... he was born in Minneapolis, Minn.

Was Gunsmoke James Arness' first western?


After Gunsmoke was on the air for a few years, Arness was given the executive title of

  • property master.
  • grip operator.
  • executive producer.
  • associate director.
  • talent consultant

    Answer: ... Associate Director

Prior to Gunsmoke, James Arness played the title character in the original version of a classic monster movie. The movie, initially filmed in black and white, has been colorized. What was this movie's name?

The Thing

James Arness as The Thing. Click here for a picture of the colorized video jacket.

Arness also played the title role in the remake of this monster movie.

False... although the movie was remade.

Arness was in a 1954 monster movie whose title was a pronoun. What was the movie?


Arness (right) next to Fess (Davey Crockett) Parker in Them!

James Arness' first role in a television anthology series was in an episode entitled The Chase on

  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
  • The Twilight Zone.
  • The Loretta Young Show.
  • Lux Video Theater.
  • One Step Beyond.

    Answer: ... Lux Video Theater

Prior to Gunsmoke, Arness had established himself as a major Hollywood personality.


Arguably the best director of the movie western was John Ford. Did Arness ever work in a western under Ford's direction.

Yes ...Wagonmaster in 1950.

Did Arness ever act in a motion picture that won an acadamy award?

Yes ... Arness was in The Farmer's Daughter in 1947 which won a best actress oscar for Loretta Young.

John Wayne recommended Arness for the lead role in Gunsmoke.


James Arness once worked for John Wayne's production company.


At the time he signed to star in Gunsmoke, James Arness' agent was (a) Bill Fring. (b) William Conrad. (c) Conrad Williams. (d) Al Biggs. (e) Kurt Frings.

Answer: e ... Frings

Arness' agent when he signed to do Gunsmoke also has represented Liz Taylor.


The night before he was scheduled to show for wardrobe fittings for the Gunsmoke series, CBS was told that Arness had changed his mind and wouldn't be working in the series.

True... but William Dozier, who was then west coast director of programming for CBS, called Arness and eventually persuaded him to accept the television role of Matt Dillon.

Arness starred in the 1956 film The Traveling Saleslady with
  • Clint Eastwood.
  • Ginger Rogers.
  • Carol Channing.
  • All of the above.

    Answer: ... All of the above

Did James Arness ever appear in a motion picture with John Wayne?

Yes... Three of them. Wayne played the title role. Click HERE for more information.

Did James Arness ever appear in a motion picture with Jimmy Stewart?

Yes..in the 1981 movie Carbine Williams. Stewart played the title role. (Click HERE to see a scene from the movie).

Arness appeared in an episode of The Lone Ranger in 1950.


After Gunsmoke, Arness starred in the television western (a) How the West Was Won. (b) The Virginian. (c) Alias Smith and Jones. (d) The Campbells. (e) Six Shooter.

Answer: a ... How the West Was Won. Click here for some photos from this series.

This series was later extended into a series entitled The Macahans. In this series, Arness played the character of
  • Matt Macahan, ex U.S. Marshall.
  • Buzz Macahan, aged Sheriff of Elkader Kansas.
  • Zeb Macahan, ex- Calvary scout.
  • Frank Macahan, farmer and rancher.

    Answer: ... Zeb the scout

Schedules of later Gunsmokes were arranged so that Arness only had to work an average of three days a week.

True - but Arness appeared in every Gunsmoke episode.

To within three, in what year did Arness pick up his first part in a film?

Answer: 1943

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.

In 1987, Arness starred as Jim Bowie in a television movie remake of what famous John Wayne film?

The Alamo: Thirteen Days to Glory.


The television remake of the John Wayne film received good reviews and finished the week in the top twenty of most watched television programs.

False ... USA Today called the movie ``hokey". The movie tied for number 32 out of a field of 66 in the Nielson ratings for the week of Jan. 26, 1987.

In 1988, Arness repeated the role of Tom Dunson originally played by John Wayne in a TV remake of what classic 1948 western movie?

Red River. The 1948 movie is rated 4 stars by TV Guide. The Arness remake is rated with 2 stars.

In what Acadamy Award nominated John Wayne movie did James Arness appear?

    Hondo. Click HERE for a picture.