Famous Texans: Dan Blocker

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Dan Blocker, aka Hoss Cartwright, on the hit TV show Bonanza was a family favorite in the American home in sixties and seventies. Every week fans tuned in to see the adventures of the Cartwright family on their ranch, The Ponderosa.

Dan Blocker was born in DeKalb, Texas on December 10, in 1928. Dan was a big man and started life out as a big baby weighing in at 14 pounds at birth. He grew up in O’Donnell, Texas where his father was in the grocery business. His favorite past time as a kid was fighting and he used to street fight on Saturday nights with the locals.

He enrolled at the Texas Military Institute in San Antonio when he was only thirteen and he weighed 200 pounds. Then he went on to Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene and got into playing football. After that he went on to Sul-Ross Sate College on a football scholarship, and did some boxing and only lost one fight in 63 bouts.

Dan Blocker started acting when the drama group (in college) needed someone strong enough to drag the bodies out of the basement in “Arsenic and Old Lace”. It was at that time he decided he wanted to be an actor and eventually he received a PhD. in American Folk Drama.

He met his wife, Dolphia when there both in college and they had 4 children. They ended up living in California where his television career took hold. He started with a part in Gun Law which led led to Cheyenne, then Wagon Train, Have Gun Will Travel and Maverick and finally a lead role in Bonanza.
In Bonanza he played Hoss Cartwright, the kind of character that invited people with problems. He was a soft hearted guy with a big hat and a big heart. Bonanza brought fame and wealth to Dan Blocker but he always considered himself just an ordinary guy next door. On and off the screen he was friends with his co stars, Lorne Greene, Michael Landon and Pernell Roberts.

In 1972 he underwent gall bladder surgery and shortly after that suffered from shortness of breath and died at the age of 43. He is buried in his birth town of DeKalb, Texas and there is a memorial and museum dedicated to him in O’Donnell Texas where he spent his childhood.

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Texas Events

Prairies and Lakes March Events

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Prairie and Lakes Events Arlington March 31…Maverick Speaker Series: Jane Goodall…College Park Center at UT Arlington Belton Through March 12… Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race…www.bellcountymuseum.org March 12…Bell County Museum Great Garage Sale…www.bellcountymuseum.org March 12-18…Spring Break at the Bell County Museum…www.bellcountymuseum.org March 19…Discover Day with Charley Chisholm…www.bellcountymuseum.org March 19-20… Sami Show Marketplace…Bell County Expo Center […]

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