James Arness, the television icon and the star of the Western series Gunsmoke, one of the medium’s longest-running shows, has died. He was 88. The weekly drama wrapped its run in 1975, and then Arness reprised the role in five made-for-TV movies from 1987 to 1994. A World War II veteran from Minnesota who received the Purple Heart, Arness began his acting career in the 1947 film The Farmer’s Daughter opposite Loretta Young and appeared in such John Wayne movies as Hondo and Big Jim McLain. He also was the creature in the 1955 sci-fi horror film The Thing From Another WorldGunsmoke began its TV run in 1955 and featured Arness as Marshal Matt Dillion, who watched over the town of Dodge City and kept it clear of bad guys. Arness later made several TV appearances, including in the late 1970s TV miniseries How The West Was Won. According to his website, Arness is survived by his wife, Janet; two sons; and six grandchildren.

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