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. enrique sabal

    great series!!!!

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

    I'm so sad to read about the passing of Fess Parker. I had a huge crush on him when he played Davy Crockett. I had the coonskin cap, luch pail, etc. He lived a good and decent "non-Hollywood" life.

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


    March 18, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Leslie B., Indianapolis

    I was already singing "Davy...Davy Crockett..." silently before I read the first post. Not old enough to remember much of the stories, but I do have quite a bit of the song still in my head. Thanks, Mr. Parker.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mac McNeill

    To me he'll always be Davey Crocket. But he was also known for Daniel Boone and his wine as well. Those of us growing up in the 50's & 60's are losing their heroes. Too bad the kids today really don't have the stars to look up to that we had.

    Peace be with you Fess.

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

    Had a cap just like the one he wore ....RIP

    March 18, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. hawkeye

    Thanks to Fess he was a good man...glad to see he was loved and still is by so many.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bill

    He played them both Crockett and Boone but will always be remembered as "Davy Crockett, Davy Crockett King of the Wild Fronter".

    March 18, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Charlotte

    God speed Mr. Parker.

    He was both Davey Crockett and Daniel Boone. Enjoyed him as both.

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

    CNN probably outsources news production to India where the writers use Wikipedia for "fact checking" Lou Dobbs where are you?

    I loved Dave Crockett as a kid, and as an adult, I love his wines! Rest in peace Fess "Davey Crockett" Parker.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bill Rumbaugh of Huntingdon, PA

    My brother and I grew up with Mr. Parker's work, both in the Daniel Boone series and the Disney film of Davy Crockett. Confusing to a little kid who thought that Daniel and Davy had to be brothers. It just goes to show that a Man's Man can be quiet and gentle and still be a living example for the next generation. People like Mr. Parker are missed in the industry today. God bless him

    March 18, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bill

    He was my #1 childhood hero. My son loves him too, through re-runs. My son got a 'coon skin cap for Christmas and wears it everywhere. It is a sad day for America, but a joyous day in Heaven! God Bless his family.

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

    I remember him as Daniel Boone sometime in the 60's. Mingo was his friend.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Domenic

    I never miissed any show that Fess Parker played in. I still remember my coon skin hat that I wore when ever I watched Davy Crockett. Fess played the rollls of two real American heros. That was a good time to be growing up in the USA

    March 18, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. nancy hoffman

    When was the last time a celebrity passed away and we only had positive comments? I am sorry my grandchildren won't have that kind of role model on t.v. after school. Somehow, Walt Disney's Britney Spears, et al are not worthy substitutes.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
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