Bonanza star Dan Blocker’s children are keeping their dad’s legacy alive

Any fans of the Wild West hit TV show “Bonanza” will remember rancher (and bodyguard) Hoss Cartwright, played by Dan Blocker.

Hoss was the heart and soul of the show. The Texas-born father of four starred in the show for 13 seasons before his sudden death in 1972.

Wikipedia / NBC

Following 13 seasons on the show, just before the filming of season 14 was to begin, actor Dan Blocker, who played the easy-going Hoss Cartwright, passed away unexpectedly.

Blocker was just 43 years old when he passed from a pulmonary embolism following gall bladder surgery. In an unusual move, his death was even referenced in the show’s storyline but the famous show only lasted one more season without Hoss. It definitely wasn’t the same after he died.

Blocker was loved by the entire crew, and cast members pretty much knew that this was the end for Bonanza.

“After Dan’s death, I didn’t see how the show could continue,” Lorne Greene told TV Guide following Dan Blocker’s passing. “I said to my wife, ‘That’s it. It’s finished.’ I know Michael Landon felt the same way.”

Dan enlisted in the military in 1951 where he served during the Korean war. He received a purple heart for his injuries in combat.

Dan Blocker as Hoss from the television series “Bonanza” 1959-1973; Blocker was on the series from 1959-1972. Ca. 1960s.

Following his time in the military, Dan began his acting career in a “Three Stooges” short. His big break came in 1959 when he landed the “Bonanza” role.

But despite all the fame, Dan stood with both feet on the ground. But he didn’t like when people approached him and stopped him on the street, telling him how much they loved him and the series.

”I still can’t believe that people are that interested in me,” he said, “If they don’t have anything more to concern them than Hoss Cartwright, then what hope is there?”

Off-screen, Dan was a real family man and a Free Methodist. He married his university sweetheart Dolphia Parker, whom he met while studying at Sul Ross State University.

From left, the youngsters are: twins Debra Lee and Danna Lynn, 7; David Douglas, 5; and Dennis Dirk, 3.

The two had 4 children together; Hollywood actor Dirk Blocker, Hollywood producer David Blocker, and twin daughters Debra Lee (artist) and Danna Lynn.

Dan and Dolphia tried to raise their children like anyone else, but Dan’s popularity made it hard to live an everyday family life. Dan and his wife lived a pretty simple life, compared to other Hollywood stars. They resided in a four-bedroom, three-bath home in Northridge, California – 20 miles from Paramount Studios.

Getty Images

Dan tried to avoid loud nightclubs in his spare time and enjoyed working in his garden. Occasionally, he and his wife would take the children out and eat ice cream – but it was hard for Dan to move around in public.

”A man never appreciates his privacy until he’s lost it. And it bugs me, it really bugs me. I try to keep the family normal, unaffected by Father’s so-called celebrity. It’s a losing battle,” he said.

When Dan Blocker died, Dolphia was left to raise their children.

Dan Blocker son

Today, Dan’s spirit lives on in his children, particularly his son Dirk, who bears an uncanny resemblance to his father.

Dan Blocker and his Beautiful Family♡ Sons Dirk and David and twin  daughters Danna and Debra Lynne .. Wife… | Old movie stars, Celebrity  families, Hollywood couples

Fans can see Dirk on the hit comedy TV show “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” playing lazy, aging detective Detective Michael Hitchcock, alongside his equally unenergetic sidekick Detective Norm Scully, played by Joel McKinnon Miller.

While providing comic relief fans can’t get enough of how much he looks like his father and even sounds like him.


Dirk, 64, has also appeared in other well-known television shows like “Murder She Wrote”, “Texas Ranger” and “Beverly Hills 90210” and even appeared in “Bonanza: The Return” as a reporter named Fenster.

He said his love of acting came from hanging out with his famous dad. During his childhood, Dan would often take his son to the set of “Bonanza” for them to spend time together.

“I suppose I was bitten by the acting bug at an early age while going to work with my dad,” Dirk Blocker said in an interview with Jeff Pearlman.


“His schedule was such that this was one of the only ways to spend a lot of time with him. As a result, I’d watch as he and his cohorts would be chatting amiably about current events one minute, and then watch them transform themselves into someone else when called to the set—a kind of learning through osmosis. That, and that he enjoyed his work so much likely carried over for me.”

Since 1990, Dirk Blocker has been married to Danielle Aubuchon. The couple have two children together. His brother David chose a career behind the camera as a film producer and won an Emmy for producing “Don King: Only in America.”

While David looks more like his mother Dolphia Parker, it’s hard not to do a double take when looking at Dirk and Dan, what do you think?

Feel free to share this story with all the fans of this famous family and their work you know to find out if they agree.