James Arness, like everyone else, had a blog and website, and this was the news posted just a little while ago:
JAMES ARNESS was born in Minneapolis, MN on May 26, 1923 passed away on June 3, 2011 at the age of 88 from natural causes. He served his country in the army during WWII at Anzio He was wounded in his right leg and received the Purple Heart. He is best known for his role of Marshal Matt Dillon in the TV series Gunsmoke. Gunsmoke ran from 1955-1975 and is still on the air today being discovered by many old and new fans alike. Over the 20 years of Gunsmoke he worked with 100’s of actors, some of them just starting out like Harrison Ford, Burt Reynolds, Charles Bronson, and Betty Davis. His acting debut was in a movie called The Farmer’s Daughter opposite Loretta Young. He worked for the John Wayne’s film production company Batjac and made movies with John Wayne including Islands in the Sky, Hondo, The Sea Chase and Big Jim McLain. The Thing which aired in 1951 is a sci-fi classic and Jim’s 6’7” height made the creature more believable. He acted in many movies before he started Gunsmoke. Later he went on to do the mini series How the West Was Won and McLain’s Law. Jim will be deeply missed by his family and friends. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donation be made to United Cerebral Palsy in Jim’s name. Jim is survived by his wife Janet, 2 sons and six Grandkids. The services will be private for family only.