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I am going to give you some hints about a man that the great majority of you will know. But, I am almost certain that when I reveal the answer to the hints, you will say to yourself, “I’ll be damned. I would have never guess that those hints referred to him. Ready? OK, get your thinking cap on. 

  • This man was born in DeKalb, Texas on December 10, 1928.
  • He played football at Hardin Simmons University in 1946.
  • This guy graduated from Sul Ross State Teachers College in Alpine with a Masters Degree in the Dramatic Arts.
  • He was a sixth grade teacher and coach at Eddy Elementary School in Carlsbad, New Mexico.
  • He was an English and Drama teacher at Sonora.
  • This fellow was also a bouncer at a bar and a rodeo performer before he became famous.
  • He co-starred in a TV show that ran for 14 seasons and 431 episodes.
  • The dude was 6’3″ and 300 pounds.
  • He appeared in a 1957 Three Stooges short as an outer space monster.

If, by the clues above you correctly guessed this actor’s ID, then you deserve to be treated to a steak lunch. I knew a couple of the clues myself, but I had no idea about the others. The actor’s name? Dan Blocker, a.k.a., Eric “Hoss” Cartwright from Bonanza. Are you as surprised as I was when I read all those bullet points? Even as a kid, Hoss was always my favorite character on Bonanza. I think it was the fact that I could sense a little boy inside that mammoth frame of his. A Gentle Giant as it were. He was a kid at heart, but he was all man when he had to kick some bad guy’s ass. He was Hoss.

On May 13, 1972, Dan Blocker underwent gall bladder surgery, a seemingly routine procedure. He never went home. Dan Blocker was dead at age 43. Bonanza lasted one more season after Blocker’s death, which was, incidentally, dealt with in the story line of the show. Needless to say, the Ponderosa was never the same without Hoss there.

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