Stories

James Arness’ Widow Opens Up About Seeing A ‘Gunsmoke’ Ad On Their First Date

ADVERTISEMENT

James Arness’ second wife once opened up about their first date and how Gunsmoke characters made an appearance during the date. Prior to his success in Gunsmoke, James married his first wife Virginia Chapman in 1948. They were together for 15 years until their divorce in 1963 after reportedly having problems putting his marriage before his career. Unfortunately, Virginia died of a drug overdose in 1977.

James married for a second and final time in 1978. He wed Janet Surtees, who later took his last name of Arness. Janet once shared that they first met at dinner when a friend introduced them. They got along so well, James asked her if she wanted to go to Mammoth Lakes with him.

ADVERTISEMENT

James Arness’ widow talks about her first date with her late husband James Arness

ADVERTISEMENT

She recalled, “First, we stopped in a grocery store. We go into this grocery store, and Jim loved to shop. He loved food. We got cheese, crackers, bread, wine, and all kinds of goodies. Then, standing in the market was this advertisement of Jim, life-sized, holding cigarettes. It was like, ‘Oh God, I’m with him’ (Laughs).”

RELATED: Whatever Happened To James Arness, Matt Dillon From ‘Gunsmoke’?

GUNSMOKE, James Arness, 1955-1975 / Everett Collection

Janet added that they stopped at a remote location near waterfalls to have some lunch. She continued, “Afterward, what had really impressed me about Jim was he stood up when we were finished and people who had camped there before had left trash on the ground and Jim went and he picked up all the trash and put it in his saddlebag. He cleaned up the whole place and I thought, ‘Now, that’s a cool guy.’”

GUNSMOKE, from left: James Arness, Amanda Blake, 1955-1975 / Everett Collection

Sadly, James passed away in 2011 with Janet by his side. Luckily his legacy lives on in these stories and the re-airings of Gunsmoke and his other films and television shows.

RELATED: ‘Gunsmoke’ Actor James Arness Gifted $2 Million Ranch To Neighborhood Kids

Show comments
Share
Published by

Recent Posts

Dolly Parton Calls Songwriting “Better Than A Psychiatrist”

Dolly Parton is a powerhouse of talent not just through her singing voice but her…

2 hours ago

Cher Was The First To Use Auto-Tune On ‘Believe’ After Brawl With Her Producer

Cher almost always has an interesting spin on things, from her love life to her…

13 hours ago

Pamela Anderson’s Latest Makeup-Free Look Sparks Negative Reactions

Pamela Anderson has continued to relish her makeup-free era in the last few months. Although…

18 hours ago

Here’s Why Molly Ringwald And Judd Nelson Were Absent From ‘BRATS’ Documentary

Andrew McCarthy did a Hulu documentary about the Brat Pack, which consists of today’s star…

19 hours ago

51-Year-Old Heidi Klum Shares Behind-The-Scenes Clip From Sultry Lingerie Shoot

Heidi Klum posed up a storm for an Italian lingerie brand, Intimissimi, ahead of their…

20 hours ago

Orianne Cevey Shares Heartwarming Father’s Day Tribute To Famous Ex-Husband, Phil Collins

It seems Phil Collins' ex-wife, Orianne Cevey, is trying to rebuild her relationship with the…

21 hours ago