James Arness dies

My friend Fred sent this to me. Thank you for the heads-up. RIP!




James Arness, born James King Aurness, the actor best remembered as the rugged lawman Marshal Matt Dillon of the American frontier on "Gunsmoke" (1955 to 1975), died on Friday, 3 June 2011 at age 88.


His WW2 decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart; the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three bronze battle stars, the World War II Victory Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge.


Arness wanted to be a naval fighter pilot, but he felt his poor eyesight would bar him. His height of 6 feet 7 inches (2.01 m) ended his hopes, since 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) was the limit for aviators. Instead, he was called for the Army and reported to Fort Snelling, Minnesota in March 1943. According to James Arness – An Autobiography, he landed on Anzio Beachhead in Italy on 22 January 1944 as a rifleman with 2nd Platoon, E Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Regiment of the 3rd Infantry Division. Due to his height, he was the first ordered off his landing craft to determine the depth of the water; it came up to his waist. He was severely wounded in his right leg during Operation Shingle, at Anzio, Italy. On January 29, 1945, having undergone surgery several times, Arness was honorably discharged. His wounds continued to bother him, and in later years Arness suffered from acute leg pain.


After his discharge, James Arness entered Beloit College in Wisconsin. He began his performing career as a radio announcer in Minnesota in 1945. Arness first came to Hollywood by hitchhiking and soon began acting and appearing in films. He began with RKO, which immediately changed his name from "Aurness." His film debut was as Loretta Young's brother in The Farmer's Daughter (1947). Though identified with westerns, Arness also appeared in two science fiction films, The Thing from Another World (in which he portrayed the title character) and Them!. He was a close friend of John Wayne and co-starred with him in Big Jim McLain, Hondo, Island in the Sky, and The Sea Chase.(more info on Wikipedia)

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

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