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. Bud

    I'll miss you, may you rest in peace

    March 18, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sharon Kavanaugh

    I never missed and episode and I had the hat. i loved Fess Parker, such a great actor. There will never be anothere danil Boone. He will be missed.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Andy

    A great show

    March 18, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Fred

    It WAS Davy Crockett. Are there only youngsters working at CNN? :>)

    March 18, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. OnWarii Fuller

    God needed another actor so he called Fess Parker home. Thank you,
    Mr. Parker, for all you've given us. You will be missed and your
    'elevation' makes me feel so old.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lynda

    My sister and I loved the show. God bless, you, Fess, and your family.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Curtis M

    Such a gentleman, too. Fess was one of kind. His smile could light up a room.
    Rest in Peace kind sir.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Robby Sherwin

    It was both Davey C rocket AND Daniel Boone

    March 18, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mike

    Watched every episode....A Great family man as well. God bless him and his family.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. EDB

    MY GOD WE ARE LOSING ALL THE BEST THAT WERE IN OUR LIVES GROWING UP. WHO HAVE FUTURE GENERATIONS HAVE TO LOOK UP TO. HOW PATHETIC MOVIES AND TELEVISION HAVE BECOME.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Merg

    Conny, he played both.

    Rest in Peace, Fess.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Thomas

    He did Davy Crockett too.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Karen

    Great job, CNN. Poor guy dies and you screw up his obit. HE WAS DAVY CROCKETT. Idiots.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Doc

    Some years ago I went to his winery on advice of friends. It wasn't until I got there and saw the coon-skin bottle cap covers that the light went on. I was standing at the check-out counter and said to the gal, "Oh! Daniel Boon! That Fess Parker! I don't want to be rude, but is he still alive?" The lady answered, "Yes he is... and he's standing behind you!" He was very gracious and signed a bottle of wine for me. Rest in Peace.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. phil vogel

    Where's my coonskin cap. Many fond memories of his show.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
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