Jenny Lee Arness Cause of Death: What Happened to James Arness’ Daughter?

Nobody can avoid life’s tragedy at some point, even when it’s the legendary actor James Arness. If you are a movie lover, you might have heard about Jenny Lee Arness. James’ beloved daughter suddenly passed away at the age of 24 leaving everyone in complete shock.

As per reports, it was a suicide. However, what was the exact reason that forced Arness to take such a step? There are so many mysteries around this case. As the internet wasn’t a thing back in 1975, only a few things people know about Jenny’s death.

However, a large portion of movie lovers still look for Jenny Lee Arness’s cause of death. If you are as curious as them, we will help you unfold the exact reason behind this incident. Besides unleashing her death’s mystery, we will share the backstory of Jenny and what she had done in her ‘short’ career. So, let’s get started.

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Jenny Lee Arness: An Overview

As you can see, Jenny Lee Arness was the daughter of James Arness. She was a budding actress who appeared in Gunsmoke, a radio and TV series in 1955. Jenny could have an excellent career just like her father but her sudden death ended everything.

Since she died at a very early age, there’s no detailed information about her. She only appeared in one show. Maybe she was ready to do something bigger to write her own career path. Sadly, her dream stopped due to an unexpected situation. 

However, her death became a hot topic back then as nobody expected such a thing. There were so many things that were left unanswered. Or, her family wanted to maintain the privacy. Still, there were some resources that guessed her cause of death. 

Jenny Lee Arness’s Early Life & Career

Jenny Lee Arness was born on 23rd May 1950 in Los Angeles, California. Her father was popular entertainer James Arness while her mother was Virginia Chapman. She had two brothers and they used to live happily at Cape Cod Cabin. In short, this small family used to spend a happy life together.

Despite being the daughter of the famous actor, there are no educational details about her. Or, there are no official records on the internet. As we noted before, Jenny played a remarkable role in Gunsmoke. Besides this role, she attracted the limelight because of her exceptional beauty and charismatic nature.

Family Details of Jenny Lee Arness

James Arness and Virginia Chapman got married in 1948. Virginia had a son named Craig and Arness adopted him after marriage. Besides Craig, Virginia and James welcomed two babies, Jenny Lee in 1950 and Rolf in 1952.

Jenny’s little brother Rolf Aurness became quite famous after being the World Surfing Champion in 1970. On the other hand, her other brother Craig became a photographer for National Geographic.

However, Chapman and Arness got divorced in 1963, and James got legal custody of the children. After Jenny’s death in 1975, her mother Virginia also died in 1977 of an accidental drug overdose. Later, James Arness married Janet Surtees in 1978 after ending a six-year-long relationship with a German-American actress named Thordis Brandt.

Jenny Lee Arness’s Love Life

Jenny’s love life played a crucial role here. Yes, not all love stories have a happy ending. The same went with Jenny. In short, Arness had to struggle in her love life. In fact, there were some reports that claimed that her previous relationship was one of the key reasons for her death.

According to some reports, Jenny Lee Arness was in a relationship with actor Greg Allman. In fact, there were some rumors about her marriage. However, neither of them ever admitted something regarding this marriage rumor.

Another report stated that she didn’t have a commitment in her relationship. Moreover, she was left by Allman for another woman. Their break up shattered her completely and it didn’t go well at all. As per some reports, her break up with Greg Allman happened a few years before her death. So, some sources claimed that there was a link between her breakup and death.

What Happened to Jenny Lee Arness? 

Most people know that Jenny Lee Arness died at a very young age. However, most of them have no idea what exactly happened to her. As we noted before, she was quite happy with her parents and brothers. 

However, things started changing when she started getting older. You see, her parents divorced in 1963. And this also affected her. After some years, she got into a relationship with a well-known actor called Greg Allman. 

Well, her relationship wasn’t that good. She was heartbroken after the break-up. As per some resources, her breakup was the prime reason for her suicide. 

Jenny Lee Arness Cause of Death

Since Jenny Lee Arness’s was going through sadness because of her breakup, it was the prime reason for her suicide. As we mentioned before, she broke up with Allman in 1972, three years before her death.

Well, she’d never taken the breakup positively and it caused her pain throughout those years. As per some reports, she was suffering from schizophrenia which is a crucial mental health problem. According to reports, Arness consumed a high dose of heroin in Malibu, California which caused her death.

This rare psychological disorder features hallucinations and delusions. That means the patient needs proper care and treatment during that time. Most resources stated that it was the main reason for her suicide. However, there is no concrete evidence regarding this theory. 


Jenny Lee Arness was a beautiful soul. However, life had some other plan for her. As you can see, she was heartbroken and suffering from a severe mental disorder. At that moment she needed care but proper treatment. However, we have no idea how she dealt with everything before taking such a big step. If you want to know more about her, do some research on the internet.


Q: What was the cause of Jenny Lee Arness’s death?

Officially, there’s no evidence regarding Jenny Lee Arness’s death. However, as per some reports, she went through a tough time after breaking up with her boyfriend Greg Allman and she was also suffering from schizophrenia.

Q: Who was Jenny Lee Arness’s boyfriend?

Jenny Lee Arness was in a relationship with Greg Allman. In fact, there were some rumors regarding their marriage. However, they ended the relationship in 1972 causing Arness ultimate post breakup pain.

Q: Was Jenny Lee Arness’s an actor like her father?

Yes, Jenny Lee Arness was a budding actress and she played a significant role in Gunsmoke. However, her journey as an actor ended with her death at the age of 24.

Q: What was Jenny Lee Arness’s net worth?

There’s no source regarding Jenny Lee Arness’s net worth. She never had a chance to start her career. However, her father James Arness’s estimated net worth was around $8 million.

Q: Who were Jenny Lee Arness’s parents?

Jenny Lee Arness’s parents were James Arness and Virginia Chapman. She had two brothers, named Craig Arness and Rolf Arness. Her father was a well-known actor.

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