James Arness has died: Why he was the greatest Western TV law-man
ames Arness, a great Sequoia tree in the forest of TV Western heroes, has died; he was 88. Arness is immortal in TV history as Marshal Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke, the longest-running network drama in television history with the most episodes. (Gunsmoke‘s 635 episodes versus Law & Order’s 456; the two tied with 20 seasons.) This feat would have been impossible without the presence of Arness, a six-foot-seven, quiet man who gave an air of serene authority to Matt Dillon.