Dan Blocker’s Son Pays Tribute To Late Father On His Birthday
Dirk Blocker / Instagram
In 1959, the show Bonanza premiered and changed television forever. Lasting 14 seasons, Bonanza is NBC’s longest-running western, and is the second-longest running western on US television, behind Gunsmoke, which ran for 20 years.
Bonanza was centered around Ben Cartwright, who is a three-time widower, and his three sons. Adam Cartwright, played by Pernell Roberts, Eric “Hoss” Cartwright, played by Dan Blocker, and Joseph Cartwright, played by Michael Landon. They all lived on a Lake Tahoe, Nevada-area ranch called the Ponderosa.
The show was a little different than other westerns, focusing more on Ben and his sons, who could not be more different from each other, and how much they cared for each other.
One of the most beloved characters on Bonanza was Hoss, who was a warm and lovable giant. Played by actor Dan Blocker – who stood at six-foot-four, and weighed 320 pounds – he was just as loved as his character. The crew said he was the “least actor-ish as well as the most likeable” cast member on set, according to the book Bonanza: A Viewer’s Guide to the TV Legend.
Blocker unexpectedly passed away in 1972 at the age of 43 from a pulmonary embolism following surgery to remove his gall bladder. Bonanza chose to kill off his character following his death, marking the first time ever that a television show killed off a major young male character.
He left behind a wife, Dolphia, and four children, one of which followed his footsteps and became an actor himself.
His name is Dennis Dirk Blocker, but goes by Dirk – and he looks JUST like his dad. Dirk most recently starred as the hilarious Detective Hitchcock on the NBC comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but he has had a long career in show business. His credits range from Baa Baa Black Sheep, to Poltergeist, to Walker, Texas Ranger, and even made an appearance in the TV movie Bonanza: The Return, just to name a few.
Dirk also acted alongside his father’s Bonanza co-star Michael Landon in a Little House on the Prairie movie.
In honor of what would have been Dan Blocker’s 93rd birthday, Dirk took to Twitter to pay tribute to his father and shared a rare photo of him.
“Thinking of you today, pop. Hardly a day goes by when I’m not influenced by you despite our relatively short time together. If you have a loving relationship with a parent, or parents, reach out to them for no other reason than to let them know how you feel,” he wrote.
Dirk was just 14 years old when his father passed away. He also added that you should reach out to anyone who “filled in” that parental role. See the sweet tribute below.