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.

Post by:
Filed under: Showbiz
soundoff (163 Responses)
  1. stevieray

    fess parker had a great life. all successes, no tragedies. loved by everybody, and he died an old man of natural causes...and he was rich! that's the life i'd order up.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tom Beecher

    I will miss him as an icon of my childhood. I had the coon skin cap. I had the Daisy Red Ryder BB gun and nothing that moved on my Dad's ranch was safe...

    March 18, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Teaparty01

    " Always make sure y're right then go ahead "

    ....Davy Crockett

    March 18, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mark Anderson

    Another thing I remember about Fess Parker, he had a bit part in "Them", that early 50's sci fi film about giant ants.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. B Davis

    It was as Davey Crockett that he became the number one hero of kids all over the world. He had something that instilled trust and the so-called "American Way". He stood up for what was right. Evidently, the Davey Crockett was an accidental phenomenon – as Walt Disney had thought of making only a one-off TV movie. But, it took off – and every kid (probably mostly younger boys) everywhere were clamoring for a Coonskin hat – and more episodes.

    He will be missed. He was the right actor for the right part. And the Daniel Boone series had none of the influence or effect as did the Davey Crockett one. That is his legacy !

    March 18, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dave Thomas

    A great man and role model who will be missed! The Parker family are in my thoughts and prayers. May the Lord comfort you.

    March 18, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bob T

    Mr. Parker was a Pike and fellow fraternity brother at UT-Austin from 1948-1950 (Beta Mu chapter). All Pike brothers feel a special kinship with him and a sense of loss with his family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you – Phi Phi K A Fess

    March 18, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Alisha

    A wonderful actor and great man. He will be missed!

    March 18, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joey

    Dan, that was Clint Walker in the Dirty Dozen my man.
    Fess Parker was the epitome of how an actor should conduct himself as a professional but also as a true American!!

    March 18, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. howard

    He was Davy Crockett. Never ever thought of him as d.boone.

    March 18, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Peps

    I heard he hit someone with his car and paid-off the locall authorities in Santa Barbara and received no punishment even after the person died from complications thanks to, you know, being struck by a car.

    I'm pretty sure they never got a bottle of wine signed by him OR a coonskin hat.

    March 18, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Chuck

    The Davy Crockett series still plays here in Colorado on one of our local networks. I still enjoy watching them after all these years. He's one of the last actors that still had some good moral fiber and lived by it in real life. It's too bad more actors didn't follow his lead, he was one of the great ones.

    March 18, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. BeckyT

    I remember the shows from when I was a child. My son saw some a few years ago on tv and was disappointed when they took them off. I purchased all 6 seasons and we have enjoyed watching all of them over and over. Fess was a real good man and he will be missed. My prayers go out to his family.

    March 18, 2010 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mark

    Yes, Fess Parker was well known for the Davey Crockett movies by Disney, but he starred as Daniel Boone for 6 full seasons on TV. Many of us remember watching the series after school when we were kids. I have met Fess twice along with his wonderful wife, Marcella at their Country Inn in Los Olivos, CA, while on vacation. He was a true gentlemen and someone I know alot of people will miss, especially his family. Fess was more than a character on screen many years ago. He was a family man, an entrepreneur, a civic-minded person, and an all-around great American. Fess lived a full life and will be truly missed.

    March 18, 2010 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. cheryl

    In Australia I loved Fess as Daniel Boone. The wild west was America to me. Even as a child I appreciated his gentlemanly ways with his beautiful on screen wife becky & cute son Israel. He adored them. It was also great to see the articulate & equally gentlemanly Mingo break some stereotypes. Fess stood for justice like a 60s Atticus Finch. Still love the theme song "with an eye like an eagle & as tall as a mighty oak tree, rippinest roarenest, fightnest man the frontier ever knew'.Glad to read he had such a rich life.

    March 19, 2010 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11