Are you a fan of the late actor Dan Blocker? He is a talented entertainer known best for his role as Eric “Hoss” Cartwright on the Western series Bonanza.
Dan Blocker sadly died too young at the age of 43 in 1972. Nevertheless, his legacy lives on and he’s considered to be one of the most beloved American actors of all time.
So, who’s carrying on his legacy today? His sons David and Dirk are now all grown up and are working in the entertainment industry themselves.
In addition to their own contributions to American entertainment, they also continue to promote their father’s legacy.
But how did Dan Blocker become an actor and how did he become a star?
Let’s learn about Don Blocker’s life and legacy and what his sons are up to as well…
Dan Blocker was born Bobby Dan Davis Blocker on December 10, 1928, in De Kalb, Texas. After graduating from the Texas Military Institute, he attends Sul Ross State University for a degree in speech and drama. He later received a master’s degree in Dramatic Arts following two years of military service.
During his student years, he worked as a rodeo performer and was also a bouncer at a local bar. Here, he gained a reputation for entertaining patrons. He had a commanding presence due to his frame and his height. But he also showed how loving and friendly he was – in contrast to his intimidating size.
For much of the 1950s, he worked as an English and drama teacher in Sonora, Texas. He and his wife Dolphia eventually moved to Los Angeles so that he could pursue a career as an actor.
His first acting role was as a Gorilla in a short film titled Hook a Crook. Following this role, he began finding bit parts in popular TV shows. These shows include The Sheriff of Cochise, Telephone Time, Seargent Preston of the Yukon, Tales of Wells Fargo, Colt .45, Gunsmoke, Have Gun Will Travel, The Rifleman, and Wagon Train.
Early on, it was clear that Dan, being a native Texan, had a knack for Westerns. However, much of his early career consisted of only bit parts and he was eager to find a bigger role.
His big breaks on TV are in 1957 and 1958 when he is a regular on The Restless Gun. Where he plays a different character in a total of 5 episodes. Through this show, his presence was becoming more well-known. He drew the attention not just of TV producers but was also slowly becoming a face that audiences wanted to see!
His first recurring character was Tiny Budinger in the Western series Cimarron City in 1959. It seemed inevitable that it was through this genre that he’d become a major star.
The same year, Dan Blocker was cast as Eric ‘Hoss’ Cartwright in the new Western series Bonanza – and the rest is history!
Hoss was the middle brother and was arguably the best-loved character of the show. It was also a role that Dan Blocker loved playing and it was the one that made him a huge star. It’s not surprising that the show wasn’t the same after he passed away.
Sadly, Dan Blocker left us at the height of his career. He died at the age of 43 on May 13, 1972, due to a pulmonary embolism that occurred after gallbladder surgery.
But while it’s been 50 years since Dan Blocker left us his legacy lives on thanks to his sons…who are also prominent in show business themselves!
Before we tell you more about what Dan Blocker’s sons are up to today, why not “like” this video and subscribe to FactsVerse for more current news and interesting stories. Now, let’s get back to the video…
David Blocker was born on 4th of May, 1955 – just as his father Dan was beginning his career in show business.
He decided to follow his father’s footsteps in show business but decided to focus his talents behind the screen – though he made one appearance in the 2017 film Ray Meets Helen and had a role in an episode of Kung Fu: The Legend Continues in 1993.
He started his career as a producer in 1983 – when he served as an executive producer for the documentary Return Engagement. The documentary focuses on the debating tours between Timothy Leary and G. Gordon Liddy.
It is clear that he’s a flair for producing and wants to involve with bringing interesting and unique films to audiences. In 1984, he produces the romantic dramedy film Choose Me – which is written and directed by Alan Rudolph and starred Keith Carradine, Genevieve Bujold, Rae Dawn Chong, and John Laroquette.
He must have done something right because he’s been behind the production of some of the best American independent films ever since. He continued to produce feature films throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In the 1990s, he also produced perhaps two of the most famous TV movies in recent history.
These were Tyson – the biopic of boxer Mike Tyson. The film starred Michael Jai White as Mike Tyson and it was lauded by critics and audiences alike. Of course, one of the central characters in Mike Tyson’s life was the boxing promoter Don King.
Two years after Tyson was released, the TV movie Don King: Made In America reached our screens. This film was the incredible biopic of the boxing promoter and became one of David Blocker’s biggest successes.
And he hasn’t looked back since. He continues producing feature films, TV movies, and a few short films. His most recent credits are serving as the co-executive producer for the TV series The Shannara Chronicles, and as the executive producer for an episode of the 2020 show, The Wilds.
Dirk Blocker was born on the 31st of July, 1957, in Los Angeles. He follows in his father’s footsteps and is a successful actor in his own right!
His love for acting came from spending time with his father on the set of Bonanza. Dirk notices how much fun his father had but also how he is a professional and how he regards by his colleagues. By observing Dan Blocker in action, young Dirk Blocker knew that his fate was also to become an actor.
His first role was as “Benji” in 2 episodes of Marcus Welby MD – both released in 1974. He then followed this up with bit parts in popular TV shows including Little House on the Prairie, Lucas Tanner, The Family Holvak, Phyllis, and The Oregon Trail.
His big break came with a recurring role as “Lt. Jerome ‘Jerry’ Bragg” on the show Black Sheep Squadron. He continued to appear in bit parts in TV shows and had occasional film work throughout the 70s and 80s. His first major film role was in the now-classic horror film Poltergeist.
A year later he found another great recurring role as Dr. Norman Rostov in the TV show Ryan’s Four. He also appears in the film Prince of Darkness and Made in Heaven – the latter of which produces by his brother Dirk!
He keeps himself busy working mostly on TV shows including Beverly Hills 90210, Criminal Minds, ER, Pacific Palisades, and Deadwood. His most notable recent role is as Michael Hitchcock in the popular series Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
He’s also appeared in a few TV movies that continue with the “Bonanza” world. These include Bonanza: The Return, Back to Bonanza, and Bonanza: Under Attack. No doubt fans loved seeing Dirk Blocker in a show that was inspired by the show that made his father a huge star!
While mostly working in television, his other notable feature film roles include appearances in Born to Race, Cutting Class, Equinox, and Night of the Scarecrow.
So, how has Dan Blocker’s legacy been kept alive? While 2 of his children, David and Dirk have carved their own parts in show business – they’re grateful for their father for introducing them to the industry. They’ve made it on their own but they also acknowledge the incredible contribution that Dan Blocker made to American television.
Dirk Blocker is more public as an actor and is happy to discuss his father whenever he gives an interview. While Dirk is more public, he’s stated that he enjoys being a character and supporting actor as he was overwhelmed by the fame and lack of privacy his father had to deal with at the height of his career!
Dan Blocker’s portrayal of Hoss Cartwright is arguably one of the most popular characters in the history of American TV shows. While it’s been over half a century since Bonanza first reached American audiences, the show has become an integral part of what we now call “Americana!”
Dan Blocker is also one of the most recognizable faces in American TV. Even if you’ve never seen Bonanza or any of his other roles, you’ll recognize him as the “lovable giant” which he portrayed through many of his characters. But it wasn’t just in his roles that he was lovable, he also was remembered as a great friend and colleague in his real life.
His wife Dolphia stepped away from the limelight following Dan’s passing and his other 2 children aren’t involved in show business.
While Dan Blocker died way too young and was at the height of his career, we should remember him as a brilliant actor and an even better human being!
Now, let’s hear from you:
Are you a fan of Dan Blocker’s?
Here’s what we’d like to know from you:
Do you think that today’s audiences recognize his contribution to American television? Or do you think us fans need to also do our part in continuing his legacy?
We look forward to reading your comments!
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