Meet Janet Surtees Who Was James Arness’ Wife Before His Death

Janet Surtees is the wife of James Arness, the legendary American actor. They were married for 33 years, from 1978 till 2011 when James died. Their marriage is regarded as one of the most successful marriages in Hollywood.

The couple was one of the most beloved Hollywood couples in the 1990s, constantly seen gracing the floors of several social gatherings in style. Sadly, their true love story came to an end when the famous actor bade the world goodbye in 2011. We have put together all the necessary information on the celebrity wife’s life, and what she has been up to since her husband’s death.

Janet Surtees’ Biography Summary

  • Full name: Janet Surtees
  • Gender: Female
  • Date of Birth: February 15, 1947
  • Janet Surtees’ Age: 77 years old
  • Ethnicity: Caucasian
  • Nationality: American
  • Zodiac sign: Pisces
  • Sexual orientation: Straight
  • Religion: Christian
  • Marital status: Widowed
  • Janet Surtees’ husband: James Arness (1978-2011)
  • Janet Surtees’ children: Craig Arness, Rolf Arness, Craig Arness, and Jenny Lee Arness
  • Famous for: Being the wife of James Arness

How Old is Janet Surtees Now?

Janet Surtees was born on February 28 1947, and is currently 77 years old. Although she is the wife of a public figure, she is a very reserved person and has purposefully kept private information like her hometown, birth family, and education away from the public.

However, from the little information available on her, we gathered that she was born in the United States to a father who was a pilot and a mother whose identity and profession have remained under the carpets. She also has an older brother who, like her father, chose to pursue a career as a pilot. From her pictures, it is evident that the celebrity wife is of Caucasian ancestry. She holds American citizenship and was also born under the Pisces zodiac sign.

With regard to her education, it is unclear which schools Janet attended, or what her highest educational qualification might be. However, she appears well-educated and probably finished her high school education at least.

Janet Surtees

How Did Janet Surtees and James Arness Meet?

James and Janet first met at Tujunga Avenue, glen Alden’s wife’s make-up store. At the time, Glen was James’s make-up artist and close friend. Although Janet had been working in the store for over 6 years, she and James only met later on when he had dinner with Alden and his wife. They had their first date at the Red Ridge Meadows in Mammoth Lake, where they enjoyed each other’s company to the fullest.

After their first date, James told Janet that he would be off to Alaska shortly and wouldn’t be able to get in touch until he gets back. However, Janet revealed that he called her after three months to officially ask her out on a date, the first of many dates that would come for the next four years until they tied the knot. In 1978, the couple took a walk to the altar and were pronounced husband and wife in a very quiet ceremony attended by only family and close friends.

Janet Became James Arness’ Wife in 1978 and Remained a Couple for 33 Years

Meet Janet Surtees Who Was James Arness' Wife Before His Death

The couple was married for 33 years, from 1978 till when James died in 2011. Their marriage is regarded as one of the most successful marriages in Hollywood. It was a marriage built on love and was completely devoid of scandals and controversies.

At the time they tied the knot, James’s career was already moving and he had already been featured in several movies and dramas. At that time, he had also already started his 20 years journey as Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke, the longest-running dramatic series ever produced at that time.

His appearance on Gunsmoke lasted from 1955 to 1975 and marked the beginning of his stardom in Hollywood. His creativity and accurate depiction of his character, Matt, were laudable and earned him a lot of recognition.

Janet Surtees’ Late Husband, James Arness, Made Her Famous

Janet Surtees’s husband was legendary American actor James Arness. James was a celebrity 1900s actor who ruled the screen for the longest time and captured the hearts of many people. Till today, Janet’s primary claim to fame is as a result of her marriage to James.

Although he was featured in dozens of movies, James Arness is mostly recognized for his twenty years appearance on Gunsmoke, a 1900ss dramatic series that was considered the longest-running drama series of all time. His appearance in the movie was a major breakout for him and helped him develop his acting career with more speed and less stress.

Did Janet Surtees Have any Child with James Arness?

James and Janet did not have any children together. However, James already had 3 children from his previous marriage to Virginia Chapman. At the time of their marriage, Chapman already had a son, Craig, whom James adopted after they got married. In the course of their marriage, they had two more children,

Their second son, Rolf Aurness was born on February 18, 1952, and is currently 72 years old. He started a successful career in surfing and was even named a surfing champion in 1970. The couple’s third child, Jenny Lee Aurness, was born on May 23, 1950. She was their only daughter together and later grew up to pursue a career in acting. Sadly, she died in 1975 when she was just 25 years old, and her death was reported to have been suicide by overdose.

In 1960, James and Virginia decided to call it quits and ended their marriage through divorce, and James was granted full custody of the kids. When he met and married Janet, they decided to collaboratively adopt the kids legally, and they all became one big, happy family.

How Did James Arness Die?

James Arness died of natural causes on June 3, 2011, when he was 88 years old. He died in his home in Los Angeles and was buried in the Sanctuary of Abiding Hope in Glendale, California.

Although James’s death was a big loss to his fans, it was inarguably an even greater loss to Janet who had been his wife for over three decades. Since he died, Janet seems to have withdrawn into her shells and has ceased to make as many social appearances as she used to make with her husband.

Where is James Arness’ Wife Now?

Janet Surtees currently lives in Los Angeles. In the same house she and her husband had lived in until his demise in 2011. Although there have been wild speculations that the celebrity wife is no more, an article published by on March 6, 2021, countered this claim. The celebrity widow is still very much alive, however, she seems to have chosen a quiet and secluded lifestyle over the social and buoyant one she was used to when her husband was still alive.

Chidiebube has been writing and editing articles on movies, entertainment and other juicy things for several years. When he is not writing, he spends time outdoors, lost in the beauty of nature or simply travelling around the world. Thank goodness he can do the later with any internet-enabled device


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