Dan Blocker wasn't concerned with his weight while on Bonanza

He built his career on being big. Blocker wasn't concerned with his weight.

The Everett Collection

Amid a world filled with calorie counters, Bonanza's Dan Blocker stood out like a monument. At 275 pounds, Blocker wasn't thinking about a gluten-free diet, or any diet for that matter. Why would he? He built his career on being big. 

Blocker's physical stature, standing at 6 feet 4 inches, greatly influenced the portrayal of his character Hoss Cartwright. His imposing size helped contribute to Hoss's image as a gentle giant and as the most kind-hearted member of the Cartwright family. 

However, according to a 1962 interview with The Napa Valley Register, Blocker said he had gained a few pounds since his success in the series and while touring. In a world full of money, fame and free dinners, it could be hard to stay small.

"Trouble with those tours is everybody wants to feed you," Blocker said. "They give you a big breakfast and a big lunch and then a big dinner, thinking they're doing you a favor. You feel like a heel not to eat."

In the interview, Blocker admitted he could probably lose about 50 pounds if he gave up the beer and booze, but what kind of Western star would he be without a whiskey in a saloon?

"Can hardly remember when I didn't weigh at least 200 pounds," Blocker said. "Never worried me, though my folks thought about it. Once, when I was about 10 and weighed 200, they put me in the car and took me to a pediatrician in Lubbock, Texas. He examined me and said, 'There's nothing wrong with this boy; he's just going to be a big son of a gun.'" 

The success of Bonanza was due to a few things, but one of the biggest reasons was Blocker. No matter his size, he held a lot of weight in Western series. 

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4 Comments

MikefromJersey 7 days ago
Wow, I thought there would be a lot of comments here as Dan Blocker had one of
highest "Q" ratings in history, right up there with legendary stars.
According to Parade magazine many years ago.
MaryMitch 1 month ago
During his final seasons on Bonanza, he was very large; they would often have him driving a wagon because he was too big to sit a horse for any period of time. He reportedly lost quite a bit of weight prior to his gall bladder surgery.
Coldnorth MaryMitch 30 days ago
I always felt bad for the poor horses he rode on.
In the episode where Hop Sing solves a crime using "chops" - fingerprints - Dan forgot
in one scene to wear his wig. Nobody noticed. Bonanza also features 2 episodes
with the same episode title.
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