What Was ‘Bonanza’ Actor Dan Blocker’s Net Worth at His Time of Death?

Bonanza remains a beloved TV Western more than 40 years after it went off the air. The show highlights the importance of family and even touches on social issues such as racism, sexism, and violence. Much of the series’ success was due to the talented cast, including Dan Blocker as the lovable Hoss Cartwright. Blocker had an impressive net worth when he died tragically young, shocking his fans and Bonanza co-stars

What was Dan Blocker’s net worth at his death?

Bonanza cast: Dan Blocker net worth at death
Dan Blocker as Hoss (left) and with actors Lorne Greene and Michael Landon in ‘Bonanza’ | Bettmann via Getty Images

At the time of his untimely passing, Dan Blocker had a net worth of around $5 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. The actor’s wealth is even more impressive, considering he rose from humble beginnings.

Blocker was born in Texas in 1928. He weighed an astounding 14 pounds at birth, setting a record in Bowie County. To this day, Blocker remains the largest baby born in that area. He eventually used his size to his advantage when portraying the gentle, good-natured Hoss Cartwright. However, before becoming a Hollywood celebrity, Blocker had earned a reputation as a star football player at Sul Ross State Teacher’s College in Alpine, Texas.

According to IMDb, he served two years in the military before becoming an English and drama teacher in 1953. After several years as a teacher, Blocker moved to California, where he began looking for acting roles. He landed various small parts in TV and film projects, including Cheyenne, The Restless Gun, and The Rebel. In 1959, Blocker was cast as Hoss Cartwright in Bonanza, a show that would not only define the television landscape at the time but also catapult Blocker to stardom.

Dan Blocker charmed as Hoss Cartwright in ‘Bonanza’

The middle child of three sons, Hoss Cartwright provided the perfect balance to the serious Adam (played by Pernell Roberts) and the hotheaded Little Joe (Michael Landon). Hoss could always be counted on to support his brothers and father and help anyone else who needed him. Blocker brought Hoss to life perfectly, and for many Bonanza fans, he was the show’s best character.

Blocker appeared in the series throughout the ’60s and into the early ’70s. But his acting career was cut short when Blocker suddenly died from a post-operative pulmonary embolism only weeks before Bonanza‘s season 13 premiere. His death sent the cast and crew into a tailspin and shocked the world.

The actor’s sudden demise prompted showrunners to make TV history by killing Hoss on the show. It marked the first onscreen death of a central character, a trend that continued in the ensuing years on other shows across genres.

The ‘Bonanza’ actor was a beloved part of the TV landscape


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Dan Blocker’s tragically early death at 43 was a blow to the entertainment world. Though his filmography was relatively short, his memorable portrayal of Hoss made Blocker a star. The actor appeared in several other projects while he filmed Bonanza, including the movies Come Blow Your Horn and Lady in Cement

In addition to acting, Blocker had a thriving endorsement career, appearing in numerous TV commercials and partnering with the restaurant chain Ponderosa Steakhouse. Dan Blocker remains a vital part of TV history, with many new generations discovering his charm and talent.