Many actors were auditioned for the lead role of Marshal Matt Dillon, including Raymond Burr (rejected as too heavy) and Richard Boone (considered too ugly). Other film actors declined to audition because they considered television work to be "professional suicide," and it was Wayne himself who recommended the little-known actor James Arness (whose most prominent role to date had been as the title creature in The Thing) for the part. Even then, Arness demurred and had to be talked into testing for the role by an irritated Wayne.

More Info: