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. Richard L

    Who wrote this story? Time for a new writer.

    Fess Parker was most famous for playing Davy Crockett in the legendary Walt Disney series.

    March 18, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. William B. Kramer

    Huge Fess Parker fan here, he will be greatly missed. No one did Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett better than Fess. We need more Fess Parkers in the world today. Condolences to his family.

    March 18, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kat

    Peace out, man. I loved your show and I loved your wines.

    March 18, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Neil Royster

    Karen Parker; We went to High School together in Santa Barbara, Im sure you probably dont remember me from way back then, But Im sorry for your loss. From what I remember of him, he was a great man. Peace and Gods loving hand be to you and all your family during this time of trial.

    March 18, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Simpkins

      My condolences as well. I remember as a 10 year old waking up at 5:00AM on school days to watch the reruns of those shows. And I don't wake up early for anything.

      This message is also intended for Neil, my long time friend from the US Army. I can't seem to find you or contact you and then you showed up on this message board. Please reply to this if you get this. I would love to get in contact with you again. I would give my number or email, but I don't want any spam hits. We'll figure out a way.

      In Christ always, my brother.

      September 4, 2010 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ed

    I didn't even know he was still alive. I enjoyed his performances.

    March 18, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kris

    Another era comes to a close.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. George

    His show is a fond memory from my childhood. May he live on on You Tube!

    March 18, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. joe yechout

    HE DID PLAY DAVY CROCKETT FIRST FOR WALT DISNEY, BUT AFTER DID THE DAN'L BOONE FOR SOME OTHER PRODUCER.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tyler

    Rest Peacefully In God's Arms

    March 18, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mary

    Watched it all the time after school. Loved him.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MM

    You had and displayed such incredible CHARACTER – that is lacking now. THANK YOU! Rest in peace.

    MM

    March 18, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jeremy

    That Davy Crockett movie was one of my favorites growing up.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. farmor

    It was Davy Crockett 'king of the wild frontier'

    March 18, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. marvin

    thanks fess you was great person

    March 18, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. EJL

    He was Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett on two seperate shows. Both favorites as a kid.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
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