By Ruth Ellen Gruber
James Arness, the towering actor who carved out the TV role of Marshal Matt Dillon on the iconic western Gunsmoke, died today, June 3, at the age of 88. He was a true icon of the Imaginary Wild West (even though I prefer radio Gunsmoke's William Conrad in the Matt Dillon role.)
I don't have time to write an assessment at the moment -- so here is a link to a long obit by Ken Tucker in Entertainment Weekly.
Here's what John Wayne said about him: