Dan Blocker’s Son Tributes Late ‘Bonanza’ Star in Heartfelt Birthday Post

by Liz Holland

Dan Blocker’s son took to Twitter on Friday to pay tribute to his late father on what would have been his birthday. Dirk Blocker wrote, “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.”

Dan Blocker starred in the long-running NBC western television series, ‘Bonanza’. The show ran from 1959 to 1973, making it NBC’s longest-running western. The show lasted for 14 seasons and 431 episodes, making its way into the hearts of many as a fan favorite. Dan Blocker portrayed Hoss Cartwright in the series, who is described as ‘the gentle middle son’ on the show. Blocker unfortunately passed in 1972 at age 43 of a pulmonary embolism that developed after the actor received gallbladder surgery and developed a blood clot in his lung. 

Bonanza Remains a Beloved Western Series

The ‘Bonanza’ series continued with one more season following Blocker’s death, and it is said to be the least popular season of the series. ‘Bonanza’ made the decision to reference the death of one of its major characters in its final season, making the show the first television series to do so. A 2011 Mental Floss report said of the decision,  “this was to be the first time in television history that a show had dealt with, or even mentioned, the death of one of its characters.”  Richard Collins, one of the producers of Bonanza said of Blocker’s death,  “Just as we personally suffered a loss…the audience suffered one, too.”

Several of Dirk Blocker’s twitter followers offered their support and well wishes in response to the post honoring his late father. One fan writes, “What a wonderful share, Dirk. I have never seen a photo of your pops outside of his Hoss costume. It’s a sweet image & sentiment. Thank you.”

Another of Dirk’s followers writes, “I loved your dad as an actor. He was great. I remember seeing you on an episode of LHOTP and saying “that’s Hoss’ son!” I knew it as a kid. Great actors, great genes, great tribute to your dad.”

One follower had an especially close connection to the loss, writing “His mom/your grandma and my grandma were first cousins.  He had already passed before I knew they were related.  I’m proud to be a distant relative of someone I always thought was awesome.  Love hearing you talk about him. RIP.”

Dan Blocker’s ability to touch hearts with the Bonanza series continues to live on even decades after his passing.