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Goodbye Marshal Dillon

June 6, 2011 - Jodelle Greiner
I was reading the Sentinel Saturday when I stopped short on the obit page. James Arness died Friday and I felt like a part of my childhood went with him.

I grew up watching “Gunsmoke” and he played Marshal Matt Dillon for all 20 years of the show’s run, from 1955-75.

A native of Minneapolis, Arness was 88 when he died in Los Angeles. He was a veteran of World War II, and because he was 6-7, he was ordered first off the landing craft to determine the depth of the water on Anzio Beachhead in January 1944, according to Wikipedia. He was survived by his wife, Janet Surtees, and son, Rolf.

So many of the actors we watched each week on that show are gone now: Amanda Blake “Miss Kitty”, Milburn Stone “Doc Adams”, Ken Curtis “Festus Haggen”, Dennis Weaver “Chester Goode” and Glenn Strange “Sam Noonan” the bartender.

Still living are Buck Taylor who played “Newly” from 1967 to 1975, Burt Reynolds who played “Quint” from 1962-65, and Roger Ewing who played the deputy marshal “Thad Greenwood” from 1965-67.

They don’t make shows or characters like that anymore. Goodbye Marshal Dillon.


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