James Arness was born on May 26, 1923 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He started his career as a radio announcer in Minnesota in 1945.

James served in World War II at Anzio where he was wounded. He was awarded a Purple Heart during his time in the service.

After moving to Los Angeles, he played roles in many films. In 1946 he played opposite Loretta Young in "The Farmers Daughter". In 1951 he appeared in the science fiction movie "The Thing". From 1952-1955 he was contracted with John Wayne's Company "Bat Jack" during which he made four films with John Wayne. Other notable movies in which he appeared are "The Sea Chase", "Hondo", "Island in the Sky", "Big Jim McLain", "Them", and many more.

In 1955 John Wayne introduced James on the first episode of "Gunsmoke". From 1955 through 1975 he played Matt Dillon on "Gunsmoke" which was the longest running dramatic series ever produced. In addition to Television series he made five Gunsmoke movies for TV the last of which was produced in 1990 "Gunsmoke 2: The Last Apache"

From 1976 through 1979 he starred in ìHow the West Was Wonî which was rated as the fifth all time mini-series. James also played on the series "Big Jim McLain".

To his credit he is an Honorary US Marshall and was involved with the US Marshal for a several years in their charity work.

James was inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. There is a painting of him in the Museum along with memorabilia he contributed.

Over the years James has donated many items to charity. The most notable being the 1400 acre ranch in Simi Valley that he donated to the Brandis Institute in 1968. He donated his 60 ft. catamaran 'Sea Smoke', that specially built for him, to the Boy Scouts. James and his wife Janet are currently involved with United Cerebral Palsy.

James and Janet live in semi-retirement in the Brentwood area. James' brother, Peter Graves, is still active in the TV industry.

Jim Arness starred in many films, television movies, series and specials. The following is a listing of his many accomplishments.
The longest running dramatic series ever produced.


 The Farmer's Daughter  1947
 Man from Texas  1947
Roses are Red  1947
Battleground  1949
Wagonmaster  1950
 Sierra  1950
Two Lost Worlds  1950
Double Crossbones  1950
 Stars in my Crown  1950
 Wyoming Mail  1950
 Calvary Scout  1951
 Belle le Grand  1951
 Iron Man  1951
The Thing  1951
The People Against O-Hara  1951
 Carbine Williams  1952
 Hellgate  1952
The Girl in White  1952
Big Jim McLain  1952
Horizons West  1952
 Lone Hand  1953
 Ride the Man Down  1953
 Island in the Sky  1953
 Veils of Bagdad  1953
 Hondo  1954
 Her Twelve Men  1954
 Them  1954
 Flame of the Islands  1955
 Many Rivers to Cross  1955
 The Sea Chase  1955
 Arizona Mission  1956
 Gun the Man Down  1956
 The First Traveling Saleslady  1956

 The Lone Ranger  1950
 Lux Video Theatre "The Chase"  1954
 Front Row Center  1956
The Red Skelton Chevy Special  1959
The Chevrolet Golden Anniv. Show  1961
A Salute to Television's 25th Anniv.  1972
The Macahans  1976
 How The West Was Won  1976 - 1979
 The Alamo: 13 Days to Glory  1987
 Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge  1987
 Red River  1988
 Gunsmoke 2: The Last Apache  1990