James Arness' castmates appreciated his dependability during his time on ''Gunsmoke''

"In 18 years of working with him, he's never changed."

The mark of a good actor isn't their talent, it's the way that their castmates speak of them when they're not around. The cast of Gunsmoke was able to get pretty chummy with each other during the show's twenty-season run, to the point where they felt like a family.

Leading this cast of Western stars was James Arness, a man who was— apparently— as tall as he was kind. According to an article from the Associated Press, Arness was given the broadcasting "Man of the Year" award in 1973. While Arness was known for a series of roles that elevated his fame, he was primarily recognized as Marshall Matt Dillon. As his coworkers explained, what separated James Arness from a regular, run-of-the-mill man was, surprisingly enough, his ability to remain the same, despite the circumstances.

Amanda Blake, known as Miss Kitty said of her friend, "In 18 years of working with him, he's never changed." She continued, "Jim is the mystery man. Like most men, he's an overgrown 12-year-old. He's delightful, charming, one of the funniest men I've ever known." She admitted, "I really don't know much about him because he's a private person. But he's fun to work with."

Milburn Stone, who played Doc, had a similar understanding of Arness. He commented, "I don't think Jim's changed a bit." One thing Stone loved was Arness's humble nature, a trait that seemed to have been evident from the beginning of the series right up until the end. Stone stated, "He's the most unhypocritical man I know. He's consistent. He is what he is, lives the way he does and that's it."

Ken Curtis, better known as Festus, confessed, "I've been on the show ten years and Jim hasn't changed one iota. I've seen many shows go down the drain because the star becomes impossible to deal with and disliked by everyone. He's terrific to work with. When the time comes to buckle down to work he's ready."

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Runeshaper 3 months ago
This was such a nice story. Gunsmoke was a great show with a great group of people. Thanks for sharing, MeTV!
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