Gunsmoke, 1955-1975 / 5 TV movies 1987 - 1994
Richard Kiley, James Arness, Eva Marie Saint
Vicki Schreck, Bruce Boxleitner
The Macahans, 1976 / How the West Was Won 1977 - 1979
James Arness was an intensely private individual during his time in the spotlight, however in his later years he reached out in kind to the affection that came his way from his many, many fans through his autobiography, his participation in the TV Archives oral history project (found on YouTube) and through his website. Fans who turned to that site upon hearing of his passing, perhaps to leave a note of condolence, would instead find themselves condoled by Jim:
I decided to write a letter to you for Janet to post on our website in the event I was no longer here.
I had a wonderful life and was blessed with some many loving people and great friends. The best part of my life was my family, especially my wife Janet. Many of you met her at Dodge City so you understand what a special person she is.
I wanted to take this time to thank all of you for the many years of being a fan of Gunsmoke, The Thing, How the West Was Won and all the other fun projects I was lucky enough to have been allowed to be a part of. I had the privilege of working with so many great actors over the years.
I was honored to have served in the army for my country. I was at Anzio during WWII and it makes you realize how very precious life is.
Thank you again for all the many letters, cards, emails and gifts we received from you over the years. You are and always have been truly appreciated.