What rural kid didn’t grow up watching “Bonanza”? OK, we may have to give the younger generations a break, but today they learn about Dan Blocker, aka “Hoss” from the hit TV show “Bonanza.” in 1928, the future television star Dan Blocker was born in DeKalb, Texas. When he was six years old the family moved to O'Donnell, in Lynn County, where his father operated a general store. Dan attended Texas Military Institute in San Antonio and Hardin-Simmons University before entering Sul Ross State Teachers College in Alpine in 1947. After graduating with a B.A. degree in speech and drama, he refused offers of professional careers in both football and boxing.
He was drafted for combat duty in Korea, where he served as an infantry sergeant. In 1952 he returned to Sul Ross, where he earned an M.A. degree, and then taught school in Sonora, Texas, and Carlsbad, New Mexico, before moving to California in 1956 to work on a Ph.D. degree at the University of California at Los Angeles.
During this time he also worked as a substitute teacher and began his career as a professional actor in Los Angeles. He played the role of Hoss Cartwright for thirteen seasons, from 1959 until his death in 1972 from complications following an operation, on NBC's "Bonanza," one of the longest-running and most popular TV series in history.
A monument in Blocker's memory stands in a park in downtown O'Donnell, across the street from a museum which displays memorabilia from his career.