He may have been known to the masses as Marshal Matt Dillon from "Gunsmoke", but to horror fans he'll always be "The Thing from Another World". Sadly, the world lost another legend today as James Arness has passed away at the ripe old age of 88.
According to the LA Times Arness died of natural causes at his home in Brentwood, California. Of Norwegian descent, Arness was born James Aurness in Minneapolis on May 26, 1923. His brother, future actor Peter Graves, was born three years later. Graves preceded Arness in death, having passed away in March, 2010.
Arness was nominated for Emmys three times during "Gunsmoke"'s early years. Like John Wayne on the big screen, Arness was an imposing presence on the small screen. "I absolutely believe any pantheon of enduring, well-crafted and memorable television characters would have to include James Arness," David Bushman, then the television curator at what is now the Paley Center for Media in New York, told The Times some years ago. "He became part of the national psyche."
As for his genre cred, along with playing "The Thing" in 1951's The Thing from Another World, which was the predecessor to John Carpenter's The Thing in 1982, Arness appeared in the classic horror/sci-fi film Them! in 1954.