Dan Blocker


May 23, 2022

Bobby Dan Davis Blocker (De Kalb, Texas, December 10, 1928-Los Angeles, California, May 13, 1972) was an American actor remembered mainly for his role as Hoss Cartwright in the western television series Bonanza.


He was the son of Ora Shack Blocker and Mary Davis Blocker. The family moved to O'Donnell shortly after his birth. The future actor attended the Texas Military Institute and later graduated from Sul Ross State Teacher's College in Alpine, Texas, where he earned a master's degree in dramatic arts. Blocker held a variety of jobs, including as a teacher, actor, and rodeo performer. It seems that he worked as a bar security guard while he was a student, thanks to his great build (1.91 m and 136 kg). Blocker was enlisted and served in the Korean War. He subsequently married Dolphia Parker, whom he had met as a student at Sul Ross State. They had four children: actor Dirk Blocker, producer David Blocker, and twins Debra Lee and Danna Lynn. A follower of the Free Methodist Church, and a supporter of politician Eugene McCarthy (he later promoted the 1968 Democratic Party of the United States presidential candidate, Hubert Humphrey), Blocker uprooted his family in the late 1960s, moving to Europe, because it was contrary to the course of the Vietnam War. Stanley Kubrick attempted to cast Blocker in his film Dr. Strangelove, after Peter Sellers backed out of playing Major T.J. "King" Kong. Blocker turned down the role, finding it too liberal. Said paper was finally interpreted by Slim Pickens. Robert Altman befriended Blocker while directing episodes of Bonanza. Years later, he cast Blocker as Roger Wade in The Long Goodbye. Unfortunately, Blocker passed away before filming began. The role went to Sterling Hayden, and the film was dedicated to Blocker. His death, in Los Angeles in 1972, was sudden, due to pulmonary thromboembolism secondary to routine gallbladder surgery. The cast and crew of Bonanza were shaken by his death, and it was speculated that the loss of the show's most loving character hastened the end of him. Bonanza lasted another season, but this is the least responsive of the entire series.

External Links

Wikimedia Commons hosts a media category for Dan Blocker. Dan Blocker at the Internet Movie Database. Biography by Bruce Eder, All Movie Guide Handbook of Texas biography online