‘Bonanza’: Dan Blocker’s Son Got His Start Guest-starring on ‘Little House on the Prairie’

by Clayton Edwards

There’s something to be said about passing your profession and passion on to your children. There are a number of examples of sons following in their father’s footsteps all the way to stardom. Dan Blocker, best known as Hoss Cartwright on the hit western series Bonanza passed his love of acting on to his son. However, he sadly didn’t get to see his son break into the acting world. The elder Blocker passed away in 1972, two years before his son, Dirk, broke into the business. However, it was his father’s influence that led him to acting.

The son of the Bonanza star got his start by guest-starring as Abel Makay in an episode of Little House on the Prairie. Long before that, he caught the acting bug by spending time with his father on set.

Dirk Blocker Was Bitten by the Acting Bug on the Bonanza Set

Dirk Blocker fell in love with acting on the set of Bonanza. It wasn’t the show itself that piqued his interest, though. It was his father’s passion for acting. At the same time, it was one of the only ways he could spend time with his incredibly busy father. Dirk talked about his acting career in an interview with best-selling author and expert interviewer Jeff Pearlman in an interview in 2013.

Blocker recalled being on the set of Bonanza with his dad. In the interview, he said watching his father and his fellow cast members chatting about current events one moment then transforming into completely different people at the drop of a hat fascinated him. That, and how much his father loved his work really made him want to be an actor.

Little House Was Bittersweet for Blocker

He also talked about his guest appearance on Little House on the Prairie. He said that he had worked briefly with director Leo Penn who recommended Blocker to Michael Landon for the role of Abel Makay. Dirk said that working on Little House was bittersweet. On one hand, he loved working with Landon and the rest of the team. However, many folks there also worked on Bonanza. So, they were a reminder of his father. At the time, Dan Blocker had only been dead for a couple of years.

However, the popularity of Little House on the Prairie helped to get Dirk Blocker more roles. Just about everyone was tuning in to watch the lives of the Ingalls family. His role on the hit show wasn’t his first. However, it was the first one that truly opened the doors of the acting world to him.

Since his guest appearance on Little House on the Prairie, the son of the late Bonanza star has had a successful career. Over the past three decades, Dirk Blocker has appeared on several hit TV shows as well as a handful of great movies. Currently, Dirk Blocker plays Hitchcock on the hit comedy series Brooklyn Nine-Nine.