Bobby Dan Davis Blocker was born on Dec. 10, 1928 in Texas, and it is reported that he weighed 14 lbs when he was born, which is the most any baby weighed in Bowie County at that time. He grew very quickly, and by the time he was 12, he was already six feet tall and weighed over two hundred pounds.
Dan Blocker graduated in 1950 with an English degree, and it was in college that he discovered his love for acting. After graduating, he appeared in a production of King Lear, but he served in the Korean War when the draft called for him. He rose up the ranks to sergeant during his time in the war. After demobilizing in 1952, he began his tenure at Sul Ross State Teacher's College and earned a master's degree in theatre. Through such a background in literature and acting, he began to appear on television, debuting in 1956 in "The Sheriff of Cochise" as a bartender.
He quickly appeared in numerous westerns, including "The Rifleman," Maverick" and "Gunsmoke." When "Bonanza" debuted in 1959, Dan Blocker took up his most famous roll as Hoss Cartwright. The character was originally supposed to be dull-witted and angry, but Dan Blocker's calm and intelligent demeanor transformed the role.