The first wife of James Arness was Virginia Chapman. James Arness married Virginia Chapman in 1948, and the couple divorced in 1963. Chapman died of a drug overdose in 1977, in Malibu, California. The couple had three children together: Jenny Lee, Rolf, and Craig.
The couple's only daughter Jenny Lee Arness committed suicide at 25 years of age. The couple's son, Rolf Arness, went on to become a World Surfing Champion in 1970.
Chapman was a famous actress known for her roles in "Perry Mason," "Highway Patrol" and "Gunsmoke." James Arness played Matt Dillon in the television show "Gunsmoke" for 20 years.