March 18th, 2010
03:45 PM ET

'Crockett,' 'Boone' actor Fess Parker dead at 85

Fess Parker, best known for playing Daniel Boone in a 1960s television series, died Thursday at his home near Santa Barbara, California, his publicist said.

Parker followed his acting career with successful hotel and winery ventures around Santa Barbara.

A statement issued by his family did not reveal the cause of death.

Parker is survived by his wife of 50 years, Marcella, their son and daughter, 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild who "spent a great deal of time with Fess in his final months and weeks," the statement said.

A native of Texas, Parker served in the U.S. Navy during World War II before graduating from the University of Texas-Austin in 1950.
He moved to Los Angeles in the early 1950s to pursue acting.

Walt Disney cast Parker in the lead role of "Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier," co-starring Buddy Ebsen. He followed that with several more Disney films, including "Davy Crockett and the River Boat Pirates," "The Great Locomotive Chase" and "Smoky."

His TV career took off in 1964 with the title role in NBC's "Daniel Boone," which aired for for six seasons. When the series ended in 1970, Parker became a real estate developer in Santa Barbara.

"After successfully opening three high-end mobile home parks, the 360-room Fess Parker Doubletree Resort opened in 1985," the family statement said. "It is one of the most successful hotels on the Santa Barbara waterfront."

Parker and his family also opened Fess Parker Winery on the Foxen in Los Olivos, California.

–CNN's Brittany Kaplan contributed to this report.

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soundoff (163 Responses)
  1. Dan Markovich

    Fess, You will be and are already missed so much. My Prayers are with you and Your family. May God comfort you and Your Family
    Boone Buddy Dan
    Clinton, Ohio

    March 19, 2010 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  2. Barbara Taylor

    I remember growing up how excited I was to watch Davy Crockett ...he will be missed..

    March 19, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Darryll V. Wilcox

    Will Miss Ol Fess. He was not in the Dirty Dozen, that was Clint Walker!

    March 19, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. R K Savage

    Davey, Daniel, Daniel Davey, whats the difference. They both were great coon skin cap wearing heros and nobody could have played them better that FESS PARKER. One of the best of his generation. Thanks Fess for all the good memories.

    March 19, 2010 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Papio Tom

    I watched the Dan'l Boone TV series avidly as a kid. Fess was a boyhood hero. Just last year got the DVD sets to watch it again and again. They don't make shows like that anymore... and don't make boyhood heroes like that anymore, either.

    March 20, 2010 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  6. Roger Buck

    Regardless of how your remember remember him. He had a huge impact on the baby boomer generation. Fortunately technology let's us re-live those memories when we need to feel like kids again.

    March 21, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ChefJohn P.

    I'm a lot older than i was when Fess Parker appeared on the televison as Davy Crocket or Daniel Boone. In those times children didn't have to search for a hero or a role model as they may now, they wer there, supported by scores of adults, middle aged people and grandparents, as well. I as a child lived by the values taught to me and many other children by Daniel Boone and Davy Crocket. They were values that were part of the times and highly valued by mostly all of the people who new them. Television was another teacher in life with those kind of programs.

    We were so taken by those characters that every kid in the neighborhood took pride in hanging his coonskin cap on his bed post and leaning his long rifle next to his bed, only to awaken the next morning to a brand new adventure. Fess Parker may have knew that he was portraying very famous men, and he did an excellent job of portraying them, but the impact that he had on the young generation of that era lives today in people like me and many other chilcdren that grew up luckily enough to see, enjoy and embrace Fess Parker and the men who made the 50's and 60's such a great time to be a kid.

    God will welcome you into heaven Fess Parker because you took care of his children and taught them the values that are so watered down now a days. I try to teach my children the values of Daniel Boone and Davy Crocket, truth, fairness, loyalty, caring, compassion, and being a good neighbor and friend to those you meet.

    To those who still hold a grudge that the stories did not portray the historical elements of the truth, I say, let it go and just be glad that the values of these stories brought to life by Fess Parker still live on today.

    You will be greatly missed Fess Parker, and thank you for making my childhood so special.

    Chef John

    April 26, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joe Williams

    Davy Crocket was a hero to many of us and his death brings back memories and more awareness of my own march to death.

    August 17, 2010 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Primus Castro

    Dear Christiane, you have gone beyond borders, you have interviewed even extra-ordinary people, you have contributed immensely towards making the world a better place, surely you have paid your dues Christiane. Your sense of discipline and professionalism shall skyrocket you to the top and your blessings shall know no border. Welldone the hero of our time!!

    February 3, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jean Black

    It was a sad day to hear that Mr. Parker passed away. He was a kind man who encouraged my sons. Gave advice to my son when he joined the marines. He called and wrote letters. Our hearts go out to his family and we are praying for them.

    January 17, 2012 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  11. Dixie Carver

    I bought the whole series of his Daniel Boone shows. I love reliving that era. Now I have grandkids that watch them and love them. Don't know where I was that I didn't hear he died. He will be missed! He was one of a kind.

    February 29, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
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