Dan Blocker (December 10, 1928 - May 13, 1972) was an American actor. He is best remembered for his role as Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright in the TV western Bonanza.
Actor Dirk Blocker and producer David Blocker are his sons. He also had twin daughters, Debra Lee and Danna Lynn.
He was born in DeKalb, Texas, the son of Ora Shack and Mary (Davis) Blocker. He attended Texas Military Institute and later graduated from Sul Ross State Teacher's College with a degree in the dramatic arts. He reputedly worked as a bouncer in a beer joint while a student. By all accounts he is remembered from his school days for his size of 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) and weight of 300 pounds (136 kg), and as being good-natured despite his intimidating size.
Blocker was drafted and served in the Korean War; he later married Dolphia Parker, whom he had met while a student at Sul Ross State, and all of their four children's names began with a 'D'.
Blocker earned a Master's degree and worked at a variety of jobs to support his family including teaching in a high school, some acting and performance work in rodeos.
Dan Blocker died suddenly following routine gall bladder surgery in Los Angeles in 1972. The cast and crew of Bonanza were shaken by his death and it is speculated that the loss of one of the show's most popular characters hastened its end. Bonanza lasted another season, but the final season in which Blocker did not appear is the least-requested in reruns.