Hollywood lost a true icon with the passing of Dan Blocker, whose fame reverberated throughout the film industry between the 1950s and 1970s. Best known for his portrayal of Hoss Cartwright in the timeless NBC Western television series Bonanza, Blocker captivated audiences with his undeniable talent and unforgettable screen presence. There’s much to uncover about his remarkable career and personal life.
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Table of Contents
A Glimpse into Dan Blocker’s Profile
- Name: Bobby Dan Davis Blocker
- Date of Birth: 10th December 1928
- Date of Death: 13th May 1972
- Place of Birth: Bowie County, Texas, USA
- Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius
- Nationality: American
- Ethnicity: Caucasian
- Height: 6’3 (193cm)
- Weight: 136kgs (300 pounds)
- Hair Color: Brown
- Eye Color: Blue
- Wife: Dolphia Lee Parker
- Occupation: Teacher, Coach, War Veteran, Actor
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The Story Behind Dan Blocker’s Success
Dan Blocker’s journey to stardom was a testament to hard work and determination. Born as Bobby Dan Davis Blocker in De Kalb, Bowie County, Texas, Blocker’s parents, Ora “Shack” Blocker and Mary Arizona Blocker (née Davis), faced tough times during the Great Depression, losing their farm. They relocated to O’Donnell, where Ora opened a grocery store to support the family.
Blocker’s pursuit of education began at the Texas Military Institute. In 1946, he enrolled at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, where he not only played football but also showcased his acting skills in school plays. After graduating with a degree in English in 1950, Blocker headed to Boston, where he delved into the world of repertory work. Eventually, he joined the military and served as a Sergeant in the 45th Oklahoma Division.
Following his military service, Blocker attended Sul Ross State Teacher’s College in Alpine, Texas, in 1952. There, he earned a master’s degree in Dramatic Arts before embarking on a teaching career. Blocker taught English and drama at a high school in Sonora, Texas, and later moved to Carlsbad, New Mexico, where he continued teaching sixth grade. However, his passion for acting soon took center stage.
Blocker’s acting career gained traction with memorable appearances in movies such as Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, Maverick, Have Gun – Will Travel, Cimarron City, and The Restless Gun. However, it was his role in the iconic series Bonanza that solidified his place in television history. Despite a shaky start, the series became a fan favorite, garnering immense popularity and running for an impressive 14 seasons.
Dan Blocker: Height and Weight
Standing tall at 6’3 and weighing in at 136 kgs (300 pounds), Blocker had a commanding presence both on and off the screen.
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When asked about his weight, Blocker humorously quipped, “I once stepped on a talking scale, and it said, ‘One at a time, please!'”
Love and Family Life
Blocker’s love story began during his time at Sul Ross State Teacher’s College, where he met the woman who would become his wife. On 25th August 1952, he married Dolphia Lee Parker, and together, they shared a beautiful journey until Blocker’s untimely demise on 13th May 1972. The couple was blessed with four children:
- David Douglas Blocker — A successful Hollywood producer.
- Dirk Blocker — Following in his father’s footsteps, he is an accomplished actor known for his role as Hitchcock in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
- Debra Lee Blocker
- Danna Lynn Blocker
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A Family Legacy in the Spotlight
Talent runs through the Blocker family’s veins. Dan Blocker’s sons have carved out their own niches in Hollywood. David Blocker, the elder son, has found success as a producer, working on notable projects such as Hannah Montana: The Movie and The Shannara Chronicles.
Meanwhile, Dirk Blocker followed in his father’s footsteps, establishing himself as an actor. Starting his career just two years after his father’s passing in 1974, Dirk’s notable roles include appearances in Little House on the Prairie, Poltergeist, Prince of Darkness, and the beloved comedy series, Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Dirk continues to honor his father’s legacy, appreciating his contributions as a teacher, his service to his country, and his achievements in television.
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A Tragic Farewell
Dan Blocker’s life was cut short at the tender age of 43. In May 1972, Blocker underwent a gallbladder surgery, also known as a cholecystectomy, which tragically led to complications and his passing. His absence was deeply felt on the set of Bonanza, with the show only lasting one more season after his death, ultimately concluding its run at season 14. To pay tribute to Blocker, the series dedicated an episode honoring his memory and bidding farewell to his character.
Blocker was laid to rest in the Woodmen Cemetery, De Kalb, Texas, alongside his mother, father, and sister. Despite the brevity of his life, Blocker lived fully, leaving behind a cherished family, a successful career, and an enduring legacy.
The Wealth Behind the Legacy
Blocker’s remarkable talent and unwavering dedication earned him substantial success in the film industry. At the time of his passing, he left behind a net worth of $5 million, equivalent to $25 million in today’s currency. During his time on Bonanza, Blocker commanded an impressive salary of $11,000 per week.
In addition to his acting endeavors, Blocker ventured into the restaurant business, opening Ponderosa Steakhouse and Bonanza Steakhouse in Texas. These buffet-style steakhouse chains added to his financial achievements.
Now, having unraveled the captivating details of Dan Blocker’s life, it becomes evident that he was an extraordinary man, cherished by all who had the privilege of knowing him. His memory will forever hold a cherished place in our hearts.
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