According to The Hollywood Reporter, Dennis Weaver, who starred as Sheriff Matt Dillon's deputy Chester on Gunsmoke and as a New Mexico lawman transplanted to the Big Apple in McCloud and also was a SAG president, has died. He was 81.
Weaver died Friday of complications from cancer at his home in Ridgway, Colo., his publicist Julian Myers said. Weaver was a struggling actor in Hollywood in 1955, earning $60 a week delivering flowers, when he was offered $300 a week for a role in a new CBS television series, Gunsmoke. By the end of his nine years on the show, he was earning $9,000 a week. As part of the longest-running series on TV, Weaver became widely popular for his enunciation of Mis-ter Dill-on. To compensate being cast against the 6-foot-7 star James Arness, then the tallest man to appear on TV, Weaver cultivated a limp. He won an Emmy for his portrayal in the 1958-59 season.