‘Bonanza’: One Actor in the Series Finale Was Actually a Pro Boxer Turned Prospector

by Madison Miller
bonanza-one-actor-series-finale-was-actually-pro-boxer-turned-prospector

“Bonanza” had no shortage of interesting guest stars that appeared throughout the 14 seasons of the show. From Western icons to actors from “Gilligan’s Island” and “Star Trek,” the Old West saw a lot of Hollywood action.

One guest star on the show was Grizzly Green, born as Griswold Kellogg Green. He played the character Harve in the show’s series finale, called “The Hunter.” His main purpose in the episode was that he woke up Little Joe. The character had a long white beard and an all-brown outfit.

Grizzly Green on ‘Bonanza’

Besides playing an old man on “Bonanza,” Green was also in other productions during his acting career. That includes “Four Fast Guns,” “26 Men,” and “Buckeye and Blue.”

However, Grizzly Green had many more interests besides acting in Western-themed movies and TV shows. In fact, he first started out working on Wall Street. According to MeTV, Green did this until the Wall Street crash of 1929, better known as Black Tuesday.

After that, he took up a career in professional boxing. In the ring, he went 3-12 between 1937 and 1940. He had to stop boxing after his asthma started to act up, therefore ending his career. Afterward, Green decided to move to Arizona instead. There he became a prospector as well as a small mine operator.

Green was clearly a man of many trades, but his final career choice seems to be pretty authentic for “Bonanza.”

More on the Western’s Series Finale

After 14 seasons, “Bonanza” eventually came to an end in 1973. Many people consider a show as good as its finale. The ability to properly tie up loose ends and create a sense of finality is important to viewers at home. But the western didn’t get to wrap up things as well as the cast would have liked.

“Bonanza” had once been strong in Nielsen ratings. The show had a strong 14th season premiere but then slowly started to decline as the season progressed. It was canceled so suddenly that the cast and crew of the show were not able to write a proper finale.

This means the final episode lacks the qualities most series finales tend to have. In fact, the final episode that aired wasn’t even the last one the crew filmed.

In the episode, Tom Skerritt’s character, Bill Tanner, kills women and children in town. He begins to hear voices in his head. The voice of a military judge, Corporal Tanner, speaks to him subconsciously. He says, “Do you have anything further to say before we pronounce a sentence? … You thought it was correct to kill women and children?”

Don Collier voiced this inner dialogue. He is a Western star himself most known for starring in the early 1960s show, “Outlaws” as Marshal Will Foreman. He also appeared in several other episodes of “Bonanza.” He has made over 200 credited appearances in TV and movies during his life. He has appeared alongside famous actors like John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, James Arness, Dean Martin, and even Elvis Presley. He also appeared in “Tombstone” and “The High Chaparral.”

While not as epic as a planned series finale could have been, “The Hunter” still had quite the infamous storyline.

Outsider.com