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During his lifetime, Dan Blocker was known as an American television actor and Korean War veteran. As an actor, he was well recognized for his portrayal of the character Hoss Cartwright in the NBC Western television series Bonanza, one of the longest-running western series in the history of TV in the US.
Dan Blocker delivered a brilliant portrayal of the Hoss Cartwright character in 13 out of the 14 total seasons of the series and his stint on the series was brought to an end due to his tragic death in 1972. Indeed, Blocker was the life of Bonanza as the show only lasted for just one more season after his death.
Bio of Dan Blocker
Dan Blocker was born Bobby Dan Davis Blocker on December 10, 1928, in De Kalb, Texas, USA. His family later relocated to the West Texas city of O’Donnell where he was raised. His father was Ora “Shack” Blocker and his mother was Mary Arizona Blocker (née Davis). Together, they ran a grocery store in downtown O’Donnell.
Dan Blocker studied at the Texas Military Institute. He was a talented football player and so he played college football at Hardin–Simmons University, a private Baptist university in Abilene, Texas. After a year, he switched to Sul Ross State Teacher’s College in Alpine, Texas where he continued to excel as a football star. He actually had a chance at making a professional football career, however, he was more passionate about acting.
Dan Blocker graduated from college with a degree speech and drama in 1950. He went on to serve in the US Army during the Korean war between December 1951 and August 1952. He received a purple heart among several other military awards.
Blocker promptly returned to college in 1953 where he obtained a master’s degree in the dramatic arts. He remained in Texas and later gained employment as a school teacher. He later relocated first to New Mexico and then to California and he continued in the teaching profession.
He went on to feature in a myriad of western drama series of the late 50s including Gunsmoke, ABC’s Colt .45,The Restless Gun, Sheriff of Cochise, The Rifleman, Cimarron City, Zorro, Jefferson Drum and Wagon Train.
In 1958, he guest-starred on an episode of the detective drama series Richard Diamond, Private Detective. He also guest-starred in the NBC adventure series The Troubleshooters (1959) as well as ABC’s western series The Rebel (1959).
Dan Blocker’s acting career breakthrough also came in 1959 when he landed the role of Eric “Hoss” Cartwright in NBC’s western series Bonanaza. Blocker embodied the character perfectly and it turned out to be the most notable role of his rather short acting career. He appeared in all but one of the 14 total seasons of the series which came to an end a few months after the actor passed on.
On the big screen, Dan Blocker starred in the comedy film Come Blow Your Horn (1963) alongside Frank Sinatra. He played the lead role of John Killibrew, a blacksmith in the NBC telefilm Something for a Lonely Man (1968). He also appeared in the western comedy Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County (1970).
Dan Blocker’s Wife
The talented actor was married to Dolphia Lee Parker. The duo met during their undergraduate days at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. They tied the knot on August 25, 1952. They remained a married couple until May 1972 when Blocker passed on.
Blocker had 4 children during his lifetime. He welcomed his first children, twin daughters Debra Lee and Danna Lynn in 1953. His first son David Blocker was born in 1955 followed by his second son and last child Dennis Dirk Blocker who was born in 1957.
Both of Dan Blocker’s sons have towed a career path similar to their late father’s. His first son David Blocker is an Emmy-award winning Hollywood producer with numerous movies to his credit.
Dan Blocker’s second son Dirk Blocker is a Hollywood actor. He marked his acting debut as a teenager in 1974 on an episode of the 70s medical drama Marcus Welby, M.D. Dirk Blocker is well-known for his long stint as pilot Jerry Bragg on the NBC military series Baa Baa Black Sheep (1976–1978). He is also well-known for his role as Michael Hitchcock on the Fox sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013–Present).
Cause of Death
At age 43, Dan Blocker’s life came to a tragic end on May 13, 1972, in Los Angeles California. He died from a pulmonary embolism (a post-operative blood clot to the lungs) following a cholecystectomy, the surgical removal of the gallbladder.
Dan Blocker’s remains were buried in a family plot at the Woodmen Cemetery in his home city of De Kalb, Texas wherein also lies his parents’ remains as well as that of his sister.
The celebrity’s acting career was relatively short due to his untimely death at age 43. However, the talented actor had quite a number of acting credits to his name by the time he passed on. He also accumulated quite an enviable amount of wealth for himself. At the time of his death, Blocker was said to have been worth $1 million, which amounts to about $25 million in today’s rates.
Height and Weight
Dan Blocker could indeed have been described as a gentle giant. He weighed 14 lbs at birth which was the highest birth weight in Bowie County at that time. At age 12, he was already 6 feet tall and weighed 200 lbs. As an adult; he weighed 145 kg or 320 lbs, towering at 6 feet 4 inches or 193 cm.
Notwithstanding his intimidating stature, Blocker was loved by his peers due to his likable persona. He was indeed a big man with a much bigger heart. Thanks to his Hulk-like physique, he was employed as a rodeo performer and also as a club bouncer during his undergraduate days.