Bonanza – and Dan Blocker –

Dan Blocker was a major star at the time of his death, as he was still a leading cast member of the Western TV series Bonanza.

One month after the Season 13 finale finished in 1972, Dan — who had been with the series since day one — died at the age of 43 from a post-operative pulmonary embolism following gall bladder surgery. 

In an unprecedented move for television, producers chose to kill off his character, Hoss in the series

Producers made the difficult decision to kill off Hoss after determining that no one else could possibly step into the role. Hoss’ off-screen death marked the first time in TV history that a major young male character had been killed off in a show instead of just written off. 

His cause of death wasn’t revealed until the 1988 made-for-television movie, Bonanza: The Next Generation, which didn’t star any of the original cast members. In the film, it was explained that Hoss had drowned trying to save a woman’s life. 

In Season 14, the writers attempted to fill the hole left by Dan’s death with a new character named Griff King, a parolee looking to reform his life on the Ponderosa Ranch, and the return of cowboy Candy Canaday

However the loss of Hoss caused Bonanza’s ratings to plummet.

All-together, Dan Blocker appeared in 415 episodes of Bonanza, between 1959 and 1972.

In addition to being a family man and a big Hollywood star, Dan Blocker was also a military veteran. He was drafted into the United States Army during the Korean War and served as an infantry sergeant from December 1951 to Aug. He was awarded a Purple Heart, after suffering wounds in combat, and also reportedly received the National Defensethe series Service Medal, Korean Service Medal with two bronze campaign stars, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, United Nations Service Medal, Korean War Service Medal, and Combat Infantryman Badge.

Always one to have a kind word or good advice, Dan Blocker once commented on his celebrity status by candidly addressing how off-putting it could be at times. “Fame frightens me; it truly does, perhaps because I wasn’t expecting it,” he was quoted as saying, “I feel like I have a tiger by the tail. I’m in this business for the money. I need money, like anyone else, because I want to give to my wife and kids a good home and a good life. It’s what any man wants to do for his family. …I’m just an ordinary guy.”

Dan was very much a family man – in fact at least two of his sons are in the film industry to this day

As we all know, Dan played the role of Hoss Cartwright for thirteen seasons, from 1959 until his death in 1972 from complications following an operation, on NBC’s “Bonanza,” one of the longest-running and most popular TV series in history – and one which was shown all over the world

Dan Blocker ABOVE reading

ABOVE – The Stars of ‘Bonanza’ Pernell Roberts, Michael Landon, Dan Blocker and Lorne Greene

I remember Lorne Greene releasing a ‘talking single’ record call ‘Ringo’ which seemed to do quite well in England – I listened to it again via the internet a few days ago – it is good

‘Ringo’ ABOVE

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