James Arness’ son, Craig Aurness Biography: Children, Net Worth, Height, Age, Death, Wife, Siblings

Posted By Johnson Ajiboye March 6, 2024

Craig Aurness was an American photographer who traveled the world and captured stunning images of nature and culture for National Geographic and other publications.

He was also the son of the legendary actor James Arness, who starred as Marshal Matt Dillon in the long-running western series Gunsmoke.


  • Full name: Craig Aurness
  • Date of birth: November 20, 1946
  • Age as of 2024: Deceased
  • Gender: Male
  • Place of birth: Santa Monica, California, USA
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Photographer
  • Height: N/A
  • Parents: James Arness (father, actor) and Virginia Chapman (mother, actress)
  • Siblings: Rolf Aurness (brother, surfer) and Jenny Lee Aurness (sister, actress)
  • Spouse: Glenda Aurness
  • Children: James Aurness and Jennifer Aurness
  • Relationship status: Married
  • Net worth: $2 million

Early Life and Education

Craig Aurness was born in Santa Monica, California, on November 20, 1946. James Arness and his first wife, Virginia Chapman, both of whom were actors, adopted him.

He grew up in a showbiz family, with his father becoming famous for his role as Marshal Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke, one of the most popular and longest-running T.V. shows in history.

His brother Rolf became a world surfing champion, while his sister Jenny Lee pursued an acting career. Craig, however, developed a different passion: photography.

He studied art and photography at the University of California, Los Angeles. He also served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.

Personal Life

Craig Aurness married Glenda Aurness, and they had two children: James and Jennifer. He was a devoted family man who loved spending time with his wife and kids.

He also maintained a close relationship with his father, who was his mentor and inspiration. He often accompanied him on his travels and hunting trips. He was also a fan of sports, especially baseball and golf.


Craig Aurness followed his passion for photography and became a successful and respected photographer.

He worked for National Geographic and other publications, covering various topics such as wildlife, landscapes, cultures, and events.

He traveled to more than 40 countries, including China, India, Egypt, Kenya, Australia, and Brazil.

He captured some of the world’s most amazing and beautiful images, earning him praise and recognition from his peers and the public. Some of his notable works include:

  • The Great Wall of China: A photo essay showcasing the ancient structure’s history and majesty.
  • The Nile: A Journey of Life: A series of photos that depicted the diverse and vibrant life along the longest river in the world.
  • The Amazon: A Living Laboratory: A report that explored the rich and endangered biodiversity of the largest rainforest on Earth.
  • The Serengeti: A Year in the Life of a Lion Pride: A stunning and intimate portrait of the king of the beasts and their struggle for survival.


Craig Aurness received several awards and honors for his photography, such as:

  • The National Press Photographers Association Award for Best Magazine Photography in 1979, 1980, and 1981.
  • The Overseas Press Club Award for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad in 1982 and 1984.
  • The World Press Photo Award for Nature Stories in 1985.
  • The Lowell Thomas Award for Travel Journalism in 1986 and 1988.
  • The National Geographic Society’s Centennial Award in 1988.


Craig Aurness died on December 14, 2004, in Panorama City, California, at 58. He suffered from lung and anemia complications, which were possibly related to his exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

He was cremated, and his ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean. He was survived by his wife, children, father, and brother.

Social Media

  • Instagram handle: N/A
  • Twitter handle: N/A

Net Worth

Craig Aurness’s net worth is estimated at $2 million; he was also likely well-paid for his work as a photographer for National Geographic and other publications.

He also inherited some of his father’s wealth, with a net worth of $8 million at his death.

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