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'Daniel Boone' star Fess Parker dies

By Alan Duke, CNN
Fess Parker, shown in a 2004 photo, followed up a successful acting career with hotel and winery ventures.
Fess Parker, shown in a 2004 photo, followed up a successful acting career with hotel and winery ventures.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Fess Parker, 85, star of "Daniel Boone" TV series, died Thursday, his publicist said
  • Parker, a WWII vet, started his career in Disney films, notably as Davy Crockett
  • When series ended in 1970, Parker became a real estate developer
  • Parker is survived by his wife of 50 years, Marcella, two children and 11 grandkids
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Los Angeles, California (CNN) -- Fess Parker, best known for playing Daniel Boone in a 1960s television series, died Thursday at his home near Santa Barbara, California, his publicist said. He was 85.

Parker followed his acting career with successful hotel and winery ventures around Santa Barbara.

A statement issued by his family did not reveal the cause of death.

Parker is survived by his wife of 50 years, Marcella, their son and daughter, 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild who "spent a great deal of time with Fess in his final months and weeks," the statement said.

A native of Texas, Parker served in the U.S. Navy during World War II before graduating from the University of Texas-Austin in 1950.

He moved to Los Angeles in the early 1950s to pursue acting.

Walt Disney cast Parker in the lead role of "Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier," co-starring Buddy Ebsen. He followed that with several more Disney films, including "Davy Crockett and the River Boat Pirates," "The Great Locomotive Chase" and "Smoky."

His TV career took off in 1964 with the title role in NBC's "Daniel Boone," which aired for for six seasons.

When the series ended in 1970, Parker became a real estate developer in Santa Barbara.

"After successfully opening three high-end mobile home parks, the 360-room Fess Parker Doubletree Resort opened in 1985," the family statement said. "It is one of the most successful hotels on the Santa Barbara waterfront."

Parker and his family also opened Fess Parker Winery on the Foxen in Los Olivos, California.

CNN's Brittany Kaplan contributed to this report.

 
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