Here’s the Strib obit, filled with Minneapolis-centric detail. Jim’s big break came when his mentor, John Wayne, recommended that Arness be cast as Matt Dillion in “Gunsmoke,” which later became TV’s most-watched series from 1957-1961. Prior to that, Arness had appeared in some 20 films; mostly bit parts. (If there was any other role he was best-known for, it was being cast as the rubber-suited monster in the 1951 drive-in classic “The Thing From Another World.”) “When [Gunsmoke] premiered in 1955, mother Ruth Aurness told the Star Tribune that she was distressed about the kind of character her son had signed up to play. ‘But I suppose I have to think about his career,’ she said.”

(“But, gosh, darn it, Mom,” the 6-foot 7-inch Arness might have responded. “I’m a big boy now.”)