James Arness is one of the few deceased actors to have a lot of search engine traffic despite their deaths. He was known for his acting skills on the drama series; Gunsmoke and had been on screens for over 6 decades. Earning a ton of credit for his on-screen appearances, he also published an autobiography. He has been married twice and also served a few years in the US Army. Read on to learn more about this former actor.
James Arness’ Bio
Born James King Aurness on May 26,1923 in Minneapolis, USA, the late actor dropped the later “u” in his last name after becoming an actor. His father, Rolf Cirkler Aurness, worked as a businessman, while his mother, Ruth Duesler, made ends meet as a journalist. He is the first of his parents’ two children and has a younger brother named Peter Graves. What looks like a united family all fell apart after his parents divorced in the 1940s, leaving James in a broken state.
Regarding his education, James Arness attended John Burroughs Elementary School before going to Washburn High School. He later transferred to West High, where he graduated in 1942. After graduation, the actor took a side job. He worked as a loader and courier in a jewelry store.
Before becoming an actor, James Arness had always dreamed of being a naval fighter pilot, however he built limitations in his heart to prevent his dreams from being fulfilled. Despite this, he later joined the US Army and served from 1943 to 1945 before retiring after being seriously injured at the Battle of Anzio.
After leaving the army, James Arness took a job as a radio announcer; While there, he decided to join the acting world and also changed his last name. He made his film debut in the film The Farmer’s Daughter in 1947 and also landed another role in the crime thriller; Roses are red . His remarkable on-set performances saw his roles steadily increase, and by the time he was forty-six on the screen he had appeared in over 38 films.
In television series, James Arness had a long-running role on the series Gunsmoke , wowing audiences in each of the episodes before it closed in 1975. Before that he worked between schedules and acted in a few other television series including The Lone Ranger (1950), Lux Video Theater (1954), The Red Skelton Chevy Special (1959) and the rest of them.
As an author, James Arness published his autobiography entitled James Arness: An Autobiography Published in September 2001 with a foreword by Burt Reynolds. When it comes to accolades James has not been left out, he has received quite a few accolades and has also been acclaimed for his role in the drama series Gunsmoke.
Wealth (income and earnings)
James Arness could be called one of the very few actors who have stayed true to the screens. He has spent over six decades as an actor and has garnered many credits to his name. Sources also say that he added other stores to his repertoire during his lifetime. James left a net worth of $8 million.
Family – brother, wife and children
As mentioned, James’ younger brother is Peter Graves. Peter took up the Graves surname after taking up acting. He was popular for his roles on the CBS television series; Impossible mission and plane! Sadly, he passed away in 2010 from a heart attack just four days before his 84th birthday.
Regarding James Arness’s personal life, well, theactor has been married twice. His first marriage was to Virginia Chapman; an actress. The two divorced in 1960 after having two children. Rolf and Jennie. They also shared an adopted son, whom Virginia Chapman had from another marriage.
After divorcing Chapman, he married an actress, Janet Surtees in 1978. They have no children of their own but were together until James died. Sadly, the actor’s daughter, Jenny Lee Aurness, died in 1975, just before her 25th birthday, and his son, Craig, died in 2004.
While he was alive, James Arness was noted for his smile despite the difficulties of life he encountered during the war. His 6ft 7in height was one of the criteria he used when going through the Army training processes. According to sources, he weighed over 106 kg when he was alive and also had a perfect physique.
Despite the fact that James Arness died in 2011, his works are still etched in the hearts of many people. Sadly, he passed away naturally on June 3, 2011 and was buried in Glendale at the exact Forest Lawn Memorial Park.