Arguably one of the most famous television performers of the 1950s through the 1970s, James Arness played the law-abiding Marshal Matt Dillon on "Gunsmoke" (CBS, 1955-1975), the longest-running drama in television history. Prior to the show's launch, Arness was a World War II hero-turned-actor who struggled to find substantive roles, largely due to his towering height; the best of these was as the title monster in "The Thing from Another World" (1951). John Wayne took an interest in Arness and helped him to land the role on "Gunsmoke," which would dominate the majority of his career for 20 years. After its cancellation, the actor appeared in several subsequent Western-themed series, but returned to Dodge City as Dillon for a string of reunion TV movies in the early 1990s. The enduring popularity of "Gunsmoke" in reruns assured Arness that he would continue to ride the range in viewers' imaginations forever.