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. DSWojo

    It was Davy Crockett-King of the Wild Frontier

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

    What a sad day. Fess and Roy Rogers were my childhood heroes. My 4 siblings and I never missed an episode either.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Keith

    I've spent a fair amount of time in Santa Barbara and have stayed several times at the Fess Parker hotel there... The hotel staff loved him and there was always some excitement when Fess would show up for a visit. His wineries make really good wine as well... From my vantage point his was a life well lived all around... he will be missed.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. abcde

    It was Davy Crockett. I had an LP of the songs from the show as a kid back in the early 70's.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sharon Kavanaugh

    Fess Parker, whose star-making portrayal of frontiersman Davy Crockett on television in the mid-1950s made him a hero to millions of young baby boomers and spurred a nationwide run on coonskin caps, died Thursday. He was 85.

    Parker, who played another pioneer American hero on television's "Daniel Boone" in the 1960s before retiring.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bobbie

    We never missed an episode. His reruns were great to watch compared to the junk they have on television these days and Jimmy above is so correct when he says very few actors of character and value anymore.

    Thank you, Fess Parker.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. STEVE

    I WATCHED ALL THE SHOWS AND STILL HAVE THE MY "COON SKIN CAP"
    FROM WHEN I WAS A KID.
    REST WELL

    March 18, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Steve

    As a kid enjoyed his Daniel Boone/Davy Crocket roles. Glad to have seen an actor who became sucessful without relying soley on acting as many do. Shows he had real talent.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joe Blotsky

    He played Davy Crockett in one skit on the Red Skelton show called "He Died with His Boots on Cause He Had Cold Feet to Start or He Died with His Boots Off, That's Why He Stubbed His Toe". Daniel Boone was a man! Was a BIIIIIIIIG man!

    March 18, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Patrick Reilly

    Well done good and faituful servent. A degree in history, a Masters degree in drama, a career acting on both the stage, cinima and television. A second career as a first class resort developer and then Fess Parker's Winery & Vineyard producing award winning wines. God Bless you Mr. Parker... Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Phil

    I had a cconskin cap when i was a kid ,drove my parents crazy until they got me one. it sounds like he enjoyed a well deserved prosperous long life. RIP.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Richard

    Fess Parker was my childhood hero. I will miss him.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dan

    He played Davey Crocket in the movie but played Daniel Boone in the TV series. Remember him in the Dirty Dozen?

    March 18, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Perry

    God Bless Fess

    March 18, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Kim

    My wife and I chatted with Fess when we were married at his hotel in Los Olivos, CA. In these parts (Santa Barbara) everyone knows him as the kind and gracious man that he was. He'll be missed by many.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
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