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. Jimmy

    We have so few actors of character and value anymore.

    Thanks Fess, GodSpeed

    March 18, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Monty

    Rest Well Fess.

    My brother and I never missed an episode.

    March 18, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Conny Van Dyke

    I thought it was Davy Crockett.

    March 18, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Thomas


    March 18, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Faith

    I loved that show in the 60's and though he was so handsome. What a tremendous loss of one of the greats from that era. Thoughts and prayers to the family left behind. May he rest in peace, and may peace be with his family.

    March 18, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Charles Sanson

    To a generation of Americans Fess Parker was and still is Davy Crockett.

    March 18, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Barb was Davy Crockett, NOT DANIEL BOONE.

    March 18, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ken

    Although Fess directed and played Daniel Boone in the late 60's, it is Davey Crockett we will all know him for.

    March 18, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sennen

    All my childhood heroes are dying. First Jim from Fury (Peter Graves), and now Fess Parker. How sad.

    March 18, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. datasmith

    I thought he was more well-known for his role as Davy Crockett on Disney than for Daniel Boone?

    March 18, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Arlen Miller

    Thanks for the memories, Fess! Say hi to Buddy and Walt for me.

    March 18, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Robert Haas

    Most famous for Daniel Boone? Never! .That was his second career!!

    Born on a mountaintop in Tennessee,
    Greenest state in the Land of the free,
    R raised in the woods , so he new every tree,
    Killed himself a "bar", when he was only three!
    Davy, Davy Crockett, King of the wild frontier!.

    Thousands of poor raccoons lost their lives so that little boys.. and girls.. could have a square-shooting hero to admire and look up to.

    Rest well, Mr.Parker! You were a hero to me. Robert Haas

    March 18, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Greg Saum

    With all do respect to CNN, I think you chose to remember Fess Parker for the wrong role. While Fess Parker may have starred as Daniel Boone, he will most undeniably be BEST remembered for his portrayal of Davy Crockett. A lot of children from the 50s, 60s, and 70s remember seeing the Disney classics starring Mr. Parker as the King of the Wild Frontier, and even traveled to Disneyland hoping to catch a glimpse of Davy Crockett, only to have to settle for listening to the all-too-memorable theme song.

    March 18, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lou

    ......king of the wild frontier!!

    March 18, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Birk

    It was Davy Crockett.

    March 18, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
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