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Arness Awarded Divorce and Custody of Three Children

Apr. 6, 1963 - James Arness, Marshal Dillon on CBS-TV’s “Gunsmoke,” won a default divorce yesterday by testifying that his wife, Virginia C. Arness (second from right), 41, would not talk to him, was cold and indifferent, and that her conduct had a bad effect upon his work. Paul Nichols, a former stand-in for Arness and now an assistant director for “Gunsmoke,” testified that Mrs. Arness’ conduct had become progressively worse. The 39-year-old actor was awarded custody of the couple’s three children. He and his wife married in 1948 and have been separated for 5 years.


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