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. Dennis

    One of the heroes of my youth. He will be missed.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. John

    CNN should really get a writer that is "age appropriate" to commemorate the death of a 50's star. You cannot Google that. Fess Parker was Davy Crockett to most of us.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dave

    C'mon, CNN! Daniel Boone?! That's like saying Francis Coppola is best known for his wines.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joe Blotsky

    IIRC, Fess starred in 7 episodes of "DisneyLand" as "Davy Crockett. There were over 150 episodes of "Daniel Boone", however.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. NotJoeThePlumber

    DaVEEEEEEEY! Davey Crockett! King of the Wild Frontier.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. John Lippre

    RIP He was my hero growing up. Show had values and showed you how to be a man unlike todays permissive TV.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mark

    Born on a mountaintop in Tennessee. Not really. He attended the University of Texas. Fess Parker as Davy Crockett was EVERYTHING to me when I was a kid. EVERYTHING. Godspeed Fess Parker

    March 18, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. BEN

    Fess will always be the only Davey Crocket. Thanks and God Bless

    March 18, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Fred Simkin

    Actually he played both Crockett and Boone but in reality the headline fails because it was the role in Walt Disney's Davy Crockett that made him a national celeb and created the first true television driven craze.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Doc Dave

    Fess Parker and I grew up in the same west Texas town... although he was about 15 years older than me. Great guy though. Most celebritiies today don't even hold a candle to him as a person & role model. Just a true stand-up kind of guy. Rest in peace, Fess/Davey.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. monica

    When I think of Fess Parker I automatically think of Old Yeller.

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

    Fess Parker played Davy Crockett on the 1950's Walt Disney TV series and then played Daniel Boone in a TV series in the 1970's.

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

    @ Conny

    It was both. After the Davy Crockett material was exhausted (Disney told of his death in the first show, then had to turn out a few more stories in the wake of its unexpected success), it was on to Daniel Boone which had a longer run as an actual show. He'll always be Davy to me though.

    Forget the modern action hero, Fess Parker played the only character in history with the stones to try and grin down a bear!

    Another great one moves on...

    March 18, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. juney

    As a teen I was in love with Davy Crockett. That was a great series and he was great in it. Seems like he had an active, happy life after his theatrical fame. RIP

    March 18, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dean Klein

    When I was just six years old, my dad took me to see the Disney movie, The Alamo, at a theatre in Atlanta. Fess Parket played Davy Crockett, of course. After the movie was over, somehow he has arranged for me to meet Fess who was waiting for me in his hotel room. There were a lot of people with him, too. He had on the same buckskin clothing and coonskin hat he wore in the movie I had just seen. He picked me up and sat me on his lap, I was shy as hell in his company. Don't even remember if I said anything, overwhelmed as I was at the time, sitting on his lap. I have a picture of that moment that I think I will now frame. He was every bit a gentleman. They don't make Fess Parkers anymore. There really are no role models for children these days. Thanks, Fess, for everything.

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