Photo of Dan Blocker as Hoss Cartwright from the television program Bonanza.

Dan Blocker Net Worth at Death, Wife, Children, Cause of Death

Dan Blocker Net Worth at Death

Dan Blocker was estimated to have a net worth of $4.5 million dollars at the time of his death. He had accumulated his net worth with the versatility he had shown in each field he had worked in.

His main source of earnings was from his acting career.

Dan Blocker Wife

Blocker married Dolphia Parker, whom he had met while a student at Sul Ross State University.


Their children are Hollywood actor Dirk Blocker, Hollywood producer David Blocker, and twin daughters Debra Lee (artist) and Danna Lynn.

David Blocker won a 1998 Emmy for producing Don King: Only in America.

Dan Blocker Cause of Death

Blocker died on May 13, 1972, at the age of 43, of a pulmonary embolism following gallbladder surgery at Daniel Freeman Hospital in Los Angeles.

According to a news report, “Blocker went into the hospital for gall bladder surgery, developed a blood clot in his lung, and died.”

That autumn, the writers of Bonanza took the unusual step of referencing a major character’s death in the show’s storyline.

According to a 2011 report, “this would be the first time in television history that a show dealt with, or even mentioned, the death of one of its characters.”

Specifics of the death were not discussed in the series, but a character in a subsequent series, Bonanza: The Next Generation, stated that “Hoss drowned trying to save another’s life.”

Without Hoss, Bonanza lasted another season, and the 14th and final season ended on January 16, 1973. “By far the least popular and least requested season in the show’s rerun package,” according to the press release.

Blocker’s ashes were interred in a family plot in De Kalb, Texas’ Woodmen Cemetery. A plain stone with the name “B. Dan D. Blocker” engraved marks the common grave site; three family members are buried beside him – his father, mother, and sister.

Dan Blocker Bio

Bobby Dan Davis Blocker (December 10, 1928 – May 13, 1972) was an American television actor and Korean War veteran best known for his portrayal of Hoss Cartwright on the long-running NBC Western television series Bonanza.

Born: Bobby Dan Davis Blocker
Date of Birth: December 10, 1928
Place of Birth: De Kalb, Texas, U.S.

Date of Death: Died May 13, 1972 (aged 43)
Place of Death: Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting place: Woodmen Cemetery in DeKalb, Texas

Occupation: Actor
Years active: 1955–1972
Spouse(s): Dolphia Parker Blocker ​(m. 1952)​

Children: 4

Dan Blocker Parents, Education

Blocker was born in De Kalb, Texas, to Ora “Shack” Blocker and Mary Arizona Blocker (née Davis).

Blocker’s parents’ abandoned grocery store in downtown O’Donnell, Texas, in 2010.

He attended Texas Military Institute as a child. He enrolled at Hardin-Simmons University and Sul Ross State University in 1940, where he earned a degree in speech and drama.

He began his football career in 1946 at the Southern Baptist-affiliated Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas.

He transferred to Sul Ross State Teacher’s College in Alpine, Texas, in 1947, and graduated in 1950 as a star football player. He earned a master’s degree in dramatic arts after two years of military service.

While a student, he worked as a rodeo performer and a bouncer in a bar. He is remembered from his school days for his 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) height and 300 lb (140 kg) weight, as well as his good nature despite his intimidating size.

From 1953 to 1954, Blocker taught high school English and drama in Sonora, Texas; sixth-grade teacher and coach at Eddy Elementary School in Carlsbad, New Mexico; and then a teacher in California. Blocker and his wife Dolphia relocated to Los Angeles, where he found work as an actor.

Career-US Army

During the Korean War, Blocker was drafted into the United States Army.

He received basic training at Fort Polk, Louisiana, and served in Korea from December 1951 to August 1952 as an infantry sergeant in F Company, 2nd Battalion, 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division.

He was awarded the Purple Heart for combat wounds.

Blocker also received the National Defense 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, in addition to the Purple Heart.


Outer Space Jitters, a Three Stooges short from 1957, featured Blocker as the Goon, billed as “Don Blocker.” He appeared as the blacksmith twice on Gunsmoke: on August 25, 1956, in “Alarm at Pleasant Valley,” and on October 18, 1958, in “Thoroughbreds.”

He also played Will in the episode “A Time to Die” of the ABC/Warner Bros. Western series Colt.45 in 1957.

Blocker appeared in episodes of David Dortort’s NBC series The Restless Gun in 1957 as a blacksmith and a cattleman planning to use his hard-earned profit to return to his family’s land in Minnesota.

He appeared as a bartender in an episode of the syndicated Western-themed crime drama Sheriff of Cochise, starring John Bromfield, and in the film Gunsight Ridge that same year.

In 1957, he appeared as one of the outlaw minions in the Cheyenne episode “Land Beyond the Law” (Pete).

He was also in The Rifleman. He appeared as a prison guard in 1958 and later as Tiny Budinger in the NBC Western series Cimarron City, starring George Montgomery, John Smith, and Audrey Totter.

He also appeared in “The Seorita Makes a Choice,” a 1958 episode of Walt Disney’s Zorro series, as well as “Underground Ambush,” an episode of Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, as Mule Conklin.

Blocker appeared as Sergeant Broderick in “The Dora Gray Story” on NBC’s Wagon Train in 1958. That same year, he appeared in the NBC Western Jefferson Drum’s “Stagecoach Episode,” starring Jeff Richards.

He also appeared as Joe, a thief, in the season one episode “Gun Shy” of Have Gun Will Travel in March 1958.

Cloudy Sims, a bearded poker-playing rodeo performer, was played by Blocker in the 1958 episode “Rodeo” of David Janssen’s crime drama Richard Diamond, Private Detective.

In the plot, a rodeo performer named Ed Murdock (played by Lee Van Cleef) is assassinated before his final performance at the annual event in Madison Square Garden.

Blocker appeared in an episode of The Troubleshooters, a Keenan Wynn and Bob Mathias NBC series about unusual events surrounding an international construction company, in 1959, as Bonanza began its long network run.

Another role in 1959 was as Del Pierce in “Johnny Yuma,” the first episode of Nick Adams’ ABC Western series The Rebel.


Blocker’s big break came in 1959, when he was cast as Eric “Hoss” Cartwright on the NBC television show Bonanza, a role he played for 415 episodes until his death.

Blocker stated that he portrayed the gentle-natured Hoss character with the following Stephen Grellet quote in mind: “We shall pass this way on Earth but once, if there is any kindness we can show, or good act we can do, let us do it now, for we shall never pass this way again.”

Blocker co-starred in the comedy Come Blow Your Horn with Frank Sinatra in 1963. In 1968, he reteamed with Sinatra in the Tony Rome film sequel Lady in Cement, playing a menacing tough guy.

After Peter Sellers declined the role of Major T.J. “King” Kong, Stanley Kubrick attempted to cast Blocker in his film Dr. Strangelove, but Blocker’s agent rejected the script, according to the film’s co-writer, Terry Southern.

Slim Pickens was cast in the role, and he famously rode an atomic bomb down while waving his cowboy hat.

Blocker played John Killibrew, a blacksmith who persuaded a group of settlers to follow him to California and establish the town of Arkana.

Somebody for a Lonely Man also starred Susan Clark, John Dehner, Warren Oates, and Don Stroud.

Blocker starred in The Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County in 1970, alongside Nanette Fabray as a love prospect and a supporting cast that included Jim Backus, Jack Elam, Noah Beery Jr., and Mickey Rooney.

Blocker also appeared on The Flip Wilson Show, a comedy hour on NBC.

While directing episodes of Bonanza, director Robert Altman befriended Blocker.

Years later, he cast Blocker in The Long Goodbye as Roger Wade, but Blocker died before filming began.

Sterling Hayden was cast in the role, and the film was dedicated to Blocker.

Blocker also started and received partial ownership in a successful chain of Bonanza Steakhouse restaurants (Ponderosa Steakhouses began in 1965) in exchange for serving as their commercial spokesman and making personal appearances at franchises (in character as Hoss).

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