You might say Bruce Boxleitner owes his career to Marshal Dillon.
As a young actor in Hollywood, Boxleitner was taken under the wing of TV superstar James Arness, who had played the heroic marshal on "Gunsmoke."
"He changed my life," said Boxleitner. "He was my biggest influence."
But Boxleitner, 64, really didn't know the extent of Arness' influence until decades later. In fact, it wasn't until after Arness died in 2011 that Boxleitner learned the actor has been instrumental in having him cast as his nephew Luke Macahan in the 1976 ABC western movie "The Macahans."
"Jim Arness had the final say on who was going to...