James Arness never grew tired of playing Marshal Matt Dillon

It was a role Arness excelled at and loved.

CBS Television Distribution

As Marshal of Dodge City for the entirety of Gunsmoke's run, it wouldn't be surprising if James Arness confessed that he might need some time away from the character, and the series as a whole.

However, as much as viewers enjoyed watching Arness bring law and order to the Old West, so did Arness get joy from playing the character, even after so many years.

"I still enjoy playing Dillon," Arness said in an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The actor also explained that he had a familiarity with the character that made Dillon easy to portray most times, for the most part. "It depends on the scene how much I have to concentrate on his personality and character. Sometimes I fall right into his characteristics. Then again a really stimulating script will force me to work hard to show different aspects of Matt."

This might be why, when asked whether he'd ever look for a change in employment and play another role, Arness refused. "I haven't the urge. Last year, I sat down and analyzed what I wanted to do. I could have tried pictures. But they're pretty shaky right now. And motorcycle riding doesn't exactly appeal to me," he joked, perhaps referring to his Wanted: Dead or Alive colleague Steve McQueen.

Arness remained steadfast in his decision not only to continue acting in Gunsmoke but in television as a medium. "Television is still the place to be, at least for me," Arness said. "I mean, I couldn't fit into many of the kinds of pictures they're making these days. Besides, you take the risk of not succeeding in film. And then there's all the traveling around."

Ultimately, Arness seemed to be aware of just how lucky he was to play the role of Dillon in the first place, and he never seemed to forget it. "Each way I looked, Gunsmoke appeared to be the best spot," he said. "The money's fine, the people are great and I have time on my own."

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Runeshaper 1 month ago
Sounds like Arness found the right fit for him (-:
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