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James Arness Once Gave Away His $2 Million Ranch to a Bunch of Kids Who Were Not His


James Arness Once Gave Away His $2 Million Ranch to a Bunch of Kids Who Were Not His

Beloved actor James Arness donated his ranch worth $2 million to neighborhood kids in his lifetime. Find out about the remarkable donation and more about his life. 

James Arness was one of America’s beloved actors in his lifetime. He was most famous for playing Marshal Matt Dillon in the CBS TV series “Gunsmoke.” 

Arness was born on May 26, 1923. His birthplace was Minneapolis, Minnesota. His younger brother was actor Peter Graves, best known for playing Jim Phelps in the CBS television series “Mission Impossible.”

Portrait of late American actor James Arness. | Photo: Getty Images

In the Second World War at Anzio, he served in the military and got injured during the battle. However, the brave soldier received a purple heart for his service after the war. 

After his military service discharge, Arness began his entertainment career as a radio presenter in Minnesota. However, he remained determined to work in movies. 

Thus, he moved to Los Angeles, where he sought roles and appeared in films soon after. Some of the movies he appeared in include “The Farmer’s Daughter,” where he starred alongside Loretta Young, and the sci-fi film “The Thing.”

Promotional portrait of American actor James Arness, circa 1950s. | Photo: Getty Images

Arness was contracted with John Wayne’s company named “Bat Jack” from 1952 to 1955, and he made four films with renowned actors and filmmakers. 

Other notable movies Arness starred in include “The Sea Chase,” “Hondo,” “Island in the Sky,” “Big Jim McLain,” “Them,” and so much more. 

However, Arness’s fame from those movies was incomparable to what he got from his role as Matt Dillon in “Gunsmoke.” He first starred in the TV series in 1955, and Wayne introduced him in the first episode. 

Actor James Arness of TV’s ‘Gunsmoke’ poses for a photo 1969. | Photo: Getty Images

Arness played Dillon from 1955 to 1975 and appeared in five “Gunsmoke” television movies. The last of those films, “Gunsmoke 2: The Last Apache,” was produced in 1990, meaning the actor had spanned five decades portraying Dillon. 

Arness’s character in “Gunsmoke” was so profound that a tribute rifle was made in his…

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