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. Roy M Savary

    A much missed actor from the 60's, and I don't recall having to read about Fess seeking counseling for abusive behavior, drug addiction, alcoholism or his settlements over his 26 divorces. A huge difference between then and now. Ah, the good old days...

    March 18, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. David

    He played Davy Crockett on Disney's Wonderful World of Disney. Buddy Ebson co-starred with him. He then went on to play Daniel Boone in the series. Ed Ames costarred on that. The clip from the Tonight Show where Ed Ames demonstrates his tomahawk throwing skills is funny. He also had a small roll in the movie "Them" We was the guy in the hospital who kept saying "them them"

    March 18, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sharon

    I think that Fess played in both TV series.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Doug

    He did play Davy Crockett in the Disney series. "Daveee, Davy Crockett...King of the Wild Frontier."
    He might have also played Daniel Boone once on a different show.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Barry

    We all wore coon skin hats and loved to play in the woods, thanks to YOU!

    March 18, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bo Svenson

    Fess Parker, a man with dignity.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Katherine

    you are right – it WAS Davy Crockett – "Dav-ee, Dav-ee Croc-kett, King of the Wild Fron-tier". I never missed an episode either!!

    March 18, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mrswonderful

    My husband was one who worshipped the ground Parker walked on. May his family know what a role model he was to so many.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Clay

    So long, Fess. Really enjoyed Davy Crockett when I was a kid and still remember all the words to the theme song; "...the King of the Wild Frontier..."

    March 18, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. g h

    Davy Crockett was his most famous role, not daniel boone. Think of the coonskin cap, guys. Plus I'm a 27 yr old california liberal and I grew up watching reruns of the old disney films. great stuff

    March 18, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Marlene

    when I think of Fess Parker, I think of Daniel Boone, not Davy Crockett

    March 18, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bill Gerrard

    I saw Fess Parker at the Hollywood Bowl a couple of years ago. After the show, I watched him open the car door for his wife (he wouldn't let the driver do it). That my friends is a perfect gentleman. Rest in Peace.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. michele

    I knew him only as Daniel Boone. He was so good. I never knew him as Davey Crockett.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Julie

    Fess Parker played Daniel Boone and Davey Crockett. He also has a winery in California. I thought this man was so gorgeous when I was growing up. He will be greatly missed.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Miki

    He played both Davie Crockett and Daniel Boone – not to mention the role of the dad in Old Yeller. He's probably best known though, for his role as Daniel Boone, which ran for seven years.

    My mom had the pleasure of meeting him once when she was young, and thought he was a wonderful gentleman. Sadly, there are few men like him around anymore.

    He will be missed.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11