James Arness, a bigger-than-life actor who kept the peace as Marshal Matt Dillon on 'Gunsmoke' for its 20-year run, died Friday of natural causes at his home in Brentwood, Calif., his family told the Los Angeles Times. He was 88.

'Gunsmoke' debuted on CBS in 1955 and ran until 1975, in the process making Arness one of the more enduring stars on television and the Matt Dillon character one of its most beloved and trusted.

The 6 foot 7 Arness towered over the cast, including Dillon's deputy, Chester, played by Dennis Weaver. Other supporting stars included Amanda Blake as Kitty and Milburn Stone as Doc Adams.