He was a Stuntman,world champion rodeo cowboy, and Academy Award-winning actor. He arrived in Hollywood to deliver a consignment of horses for film. He did stunt double work for several years before breaking into acting for John Ford. He portrayed a former cowboy theatre owner in the 1950s coming-of-age drama, “The Last Picture Show”, which won him the 1971 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Ben was born in Foraker,.Oklahoma, on the Osage Indian Reservation of Irish and Cherokee ancestry. He is an honored Inductee in the Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame and was foot printed in cement to commemorate the event.
He is best known for portraying Marshal Matt Dillon for 20 years in the television series “Gunsmoke”. Arness has the distinction of having played the role of Dillon in five separate decades. 1955 to 1975. He was born James King Aurness in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1923; he dropped the “U” when he started acting.
Arness wanted to be a naval fighter pilot, but he felt his poor eyesight would bar him. He landed on Anzio Beachhed in 1944 as a rifleman with the 2nd Platoon, E Company.
After his discharge, Arness entered Beloit College in Wisconsin. He began his entertainment career as a radio announcer. He hitchhiked to Hollywood and soon began acting in films. His film debut was as Loretta Young’s brother in “The Farmer’s Daughter”.
|If interested in learning more about the Hall of Fame, please contact John Hagner (Founder) at 435 260-2160.
Hall of Fame website: www.stuntmen.org
John Hagner (Founder) is also the Artist of the Stars.
His Celebrity Portrait Drawings are available at telephone 435-259-7000,
50 W. 400 N, Moab, Utah 84532.
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