James Arness Verified By Editor


CBS television series Gunsmoke, James Arness died on June 3, 2011, Brentwood, Los Angeles, California, United States.

Relationship Facts of James Arness

James Arness is married to Janet Surtees.
James Arness married on December 16, 1978.
💑 Anniversary in 151 days 💑
He is father of Three(Craig Aurness, Rolf Aurness, Jenny Lee Aurness).
James Arness is not having an affair with anyone presently.
His sexual orientation is straight.

James Arness's Relationship Status!

Arness married Virginia Chapman in 1948. They also adopted her son Craig (1946-December 14, 2004).

And they also had a son, Rolf who was born on February 18, 1952.

Likely, they were also blessed with a daughter, Jenny Lee Arness who was born on May 23, 1950. But she died of a drug overdose in 1975.

But the couple gets divorced in 1963, and Arness was granted legal custody of the children. His former wife Virginia also died of a drug overdose in 1977. 

Then on December 16, 1978, Arness married Janet Surtees. She survived him.

He also has six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

James Arness: Biography in Details

Who was James Arness?

James Arness was a popular American actor who was best known for playing the role of Marshal Matt Dillon for 20 years in the TV series Gunsmoke.

He appeared in different several films and on television. James was one of the most experienced actors in Hollywood.

On June 3, 2011, he died of natural causes. He was found dead at Brentwood’s home in Los Angeles, California.

Then he is interred at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

What caused James Arness’s death?

He died of natural causes at his home in Brentwood Brentwood, Los Angeles on June 3, 2011, at the age of 88.

James Arness: Birth, Parents, Ethnicity

He was born James King Aurness in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His birth date is on May 26, 1923. He died at the age of 88.

His father’s name is Rolf Virkler Aurness he was from Norway. And his mother’s name is Ruth Duesler she was from Germany and was a journalist by profession.

The family name was entitled to the title Aursnes because his father migrated from Norway in 1887.

His nationality is American. Moreover, his ethnicity is Mixed(German and Norwegian).

James Arness
Caption: James Arness (Source: Pinterest)

He grew up with his sibling, his younger brother, Peter Graves who is also an actor. Peter was famous for his portrayal of Jim Phelps in the CBS TV series Mission: Impossible. 


James had completed his education at Minneapolis Washburn high school. He had also received an Alma masters from Beloit College.

James Arness: Professional Life, Career

Arness had a dream to be a pilot as a naval fighter. But because of his poor vision and problem with eyesight was the major obstacle that blocked him from it.

Arness yet served as a rifleman during the Infantry Division in the 3rd range within the United States.

He landed on Anzio Beachhead on January 22, 1944, which was mentioned in the Autobiography that stated about James Arness.

Arness was sent to General Hospital at Clinton Iowa during time by the U.S. Army because of his short height where he was the 1st one who offered to have a landing craft the determination of the complexity of the water.

His role in the popular TV series Gunsmoke skyrocketed his fame. It aired for 20 seasons and made him and other actors in it world-famous.

Talking about his movies, he appeared in different movies, of them including The Farmer’s Daughter, Iron Man, Hondo, The Sea Chase, The First Traveling Saleslady, and many more.

His autobiography titled James Arness: An Autobiography was released in September 2001.

Awards, Nominations

Arness was a respected soldier of World War II. He received the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

Moreover, in the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, he won three bronze battle stars.

Furthermore, he won the World War II Victory Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

Talking about his achievements in his acting career, he won the Bronze Wrangler Award thrice. Moreover, he also won the Golden Boot Award.

Furthermore, he was also nominated for the Primetime Emmy Awards thrice.

James Arness: Net Worth, Salary

As of 2023, James Arness’s net worth was $10 million. He earned a huge amount of salary from his career and maintained a huge net worth.

James Arness: Rumors, Controversy/Scandal

Different rumors were there about the long-term relationship between James Arness and actress Thordis Brandt.

But they didn’t accept their relationship in public. Other than that, there is no controversy surrounding him.

Body Measurements: Height, Weight

Arness’s bio stated he had 6 feet 7 inches tall. But Arness usually stated that his height was 6 feet 6 inches in the regular newspaper and TV interviews.

His chest- waist, and hips measurements were 48-36-36 respectively.

Moreover, He was the tallest leading man in Hollywood at the time. He had blue-colored eyes and blonde-colored hair.

Social Media

James Arness doesn’t seem to be active on different social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Also get to know more about Fatima BhuttoSheridan Smith, and Lara Pulver.


What did Matt Dillon die of?

  • He passed away due to natural causes.

What happened to James Arness's first wife?

  • His wife passed away due to a drug overdose.

James Arness's Anniversary Dates


James Arness's Birthday Dates


Photos of James Arness

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