"James Arness, the towering actor best known for portraying Marshal Matt Dillon, the strong and commanding symbol of frontier justice on the landmark TV western series Gunsmoke," died today, the Los Angeles Times reports.
It got that sad news from "family spokesman Ginny Fazer." The Associated Press says it too has confirmed the news with CBS-TV spokesman Chris Ender.
Arness was 88.
Gunsmoke was on the air from 1955-1975. Until Law & Order tied Gunsmoke's record last year, the western had been the longest-running drama in American TV history.
His brother, actor Peter Graves of Mission Impossible fame, died in March 2010.
Update at 2:20 p.m. ET. A Little Theme Music.
For those of a certain age (or who've seen the reruns), this may bring back some memories: