Held the record for the longest continuous role portrayed by a single actor (20 years) on prime-time television (for Marshal Matt Dillon on the CBS western "Gunsmoke" (1955)), until Kelsey Grammer (Dr. Frasier Crane on "Cheers" (1982) and "Frasier" (1993)) tied the record in 2004 (at 20 years).
Why is it that the two actors who've played the same character on TV the longest are both Republicans?
James Arness "...had the pleasure of knowing Ronald Reagan before he became Governor of California." Before becoming governor of California, Ronald Reagan was President of the Screen Actors Guild.
Side note: I once listened to Kelsey Grammer bad mouth unions while I was placing a mic on him, and my reply was, "Well, we can't all be rich Republicans."