Did Dan Blocker's size limit him as an actor?

Spoiler alert: Not really!

TV, just like the movies, is a visual medium that uses images and symbols as shorthand to communicate ideas. When we see a cliff, we know it's dangerous. When we see pie hitting someone in the face, we know it's funny. 

But what are we meant to feel when we see a Big ol' Hoss, an absolute unit? 

Furthermore, imagine being that burly son of a gun. It might feel as though your prospects are limited, especially if you're an actor. After all, nobody's casting you as Tiny Tim if you stand at 6'4". So what was it like for Dan Blocker of Bonanza fame? Did all that height and meat put a cap on the number of roles he could play?

Blocker himself spoke to the Daily Mirror in 1964 about whether his size restricted his acting roles.

"Well, figure it this way," said Blocker, "I'm ain't gonna play Romeo."

"But in one way I think my physical size helped. When I walked out of an agent's office, I knew they couldn't forgit [sic] me! That's how I got Hoss Cartwright. They wanted someone real large — and large, friend, is what I am."

So there you have it, folks. The next time your audition doesn't yield the desired results, try your best to be 6'4", instead. And know that if you can't, then don't let it hold you back. You might not be Big Hoss, but you're still Big You, and maybe someday NBC will be looking for a Big You-type for a long-running television Western.

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4 Comments

zorob150 1 month ago
I do not know. But in 1972 blocker was cast for a large supporting role in the Robert Altman film "The Long Goodbye."his agent had turned down the slim Pickens part in Dr strangelove because he thought the movie was too pinko in his agent's words and was offered a major role in the film version of Mash. If he had survived I would have hated seeing him showing up in shows like murder she wrote and The Love boat not that he would have needed the money but just something to do. I do not think you could have played the romantic leading man but character roles he would have been very good in and I think he would have you know working in a lot of different roles. And this is just my opinion. He was a very underrated actor.
MrsPhilHarris 7 months ago
There were lots of ex-boxers or toughs in the old movies that played nothing but thugs or big galoots.
Andybandit 7 months ago
DB fitted playing strong men in shows.
Runeshaper 7 months ago
"You might not be Big Hoss, but you're still Big You..." That is really deep and a good reminder to those who need it. Thanks to Dan Blocker and to MeTV! (-:
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