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Fess Elisha Parker Jr. (born F.E. Parker;[1] August 16, 1924 – March 18, 2010)[2] was an American film and television actor best known for his portrayals of Davy Crockett
Davy Crockett
in the Walt Disney
Walt Disney
1955–1956 TV miniseries and as Daniel Boone
Daniel Boone
in a television series from 1964 to 1970.[3][4] He was also known for being a winemaker and resort owner-operator.

Contents

1 Early years 2 Career

2.1 Davy Crockett

3 After Walt Disney

3.1 Daniel Boone 3.2 Awards

4 Fess Parker
Fess Parker
Winery 5 Politics 6 Personal life 7 Death 8 Filmography

8.1 Television

9 See also 10 References 11 External links

Early years[edit] Parker was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and raised on a farm in Tom Green County near San Angelo.[5] His father, a tax assessor, had the same first name which had been given to him in honor of the educator and politician Simeon D. Fess.[1] The middle name "Elisha" was chosen by the future actor himself, when he was a teenager (around 1937), because it sounded rhythmic and matched his middle initial.[1] He enlisted in the U.S. Navy
U.S. Navy
in the latter part of World War II,[6][7] hoping to become a pilot. He was turned down because he was too tall at 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 m).[8] He then tried to become a radioman gunner, but he was found too big to fit comfortably into the rear cockpit. He was finally transferred to the Marine Corps as a radio operator and shipped out for the South Pacific shortly before the atom bomb ended the war.[8] Discharged in 1946, he enrolled at Hardin–Simmons University
Hardin–Simmons University
on the GI Bill. After an automobile collision, he was stabbed in the neck by the other driver during an argument.[8] He was an active member of the H-SU Players Club and transferred to the University of Texas
University of Texas
in 1947 as a history major and continued to be active in drama. Parker graduated from UT in 1950 with a degree in history. He had been initiated into the Pi Kappa Alpha
Pi Kappa Alpha
fraternity. Having one year remaining on his GI Bill, he studied drama at the University of Southern California, where he studied for a master's degree in theater history.[2][9] Career[edit] Parker began his show-business career in summer 1951 when he had a $32-a-week job as an extra in the play Mister Roberts,[9] although he is credited with the voice of Leslie, the chauffeur, in the 1950 film Harvey. Within months, he was on location with a minor part in Untamed Frontier with Joseph Cotten
Joseph Cotten
and Shelley Winters. Parker became a contract player with Warner Bros., appearing in small roles in several films such as Springfield Rifle (1952), Island in the Sky, The Bounty Hunter and Battle Cry. In 1954, he appeared as Grat Dalton in the Jim Davis syndicated Western anthology series Stories of the Century in the episode The Dalton Brothers. Davy Crockett[edit] Main article: Davy Crockett
Davy Crockett
(TV miniseries)

Fess Parker
Fess Parker
as Davy Crockett
Davy Crockett
addresses the city of Philadelphia
Philadelphia
in the Walt Disney
Walt Disney
television miniseries

With Sandra Warner
Sandra Warner
in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

According to Parker himself, when the Walt Disney
Walt Disney
Company was seeking an actor to play Davy Crockett, James Arness, later cast as Marshal Matt Dillon on CBS's Gunsmoke, was first considered for the title role. Parker had recently graduated to being a contract weekly actor, but listened to his agent and appeared in a Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
science fiction film about giant ants called Them!, which required only one day's work. He had a small scene as a pilot put into an insane asylum after claiming his plane had been downed by giant flying insects. Arness appeared in a larger role in the same film.[10] During the screening of this film, Walt Disney
Walt Disney
looked past Arness and discovered Parker. Disney was impressed by Parker's portrayal of a man who was unswerving in his belief in what he saw despite the forces of authority against him. Parker was asked to drop by the Disney Studio. When he did, he brought his guitar, met Disney, sang a song, and then said goodbye. Several weeks later, Parker was informed that he had been selected over Arness and several others for the role, including Buddy Ebsen, who eventually played Crockett's sidekick, George Russell.[10] Disney's three-episode version of Crockett depicted his exploits as a frontiersman, congressman, and tragic hero of the Alamo. The episodes have been called the first television miniseries, though the term had not yet been coined. Davy Crockett
Davy Crockett
(1954–55) was a tremendous hit and led to a merchandising frenzy for coonskin caps and all things Crockett.[10] Parker became a contract star for Disney and appeared in The Great Locomotive Chase, Westward Ho, the Wagons!, Old Yeller, and The Light in the Forest. He complained that they were all basically the same role. Disney refused to loan Parker for roles outside that persona, such as Jeffrey Hunter's role opposite John Wayne
John Wayne
in The Searchers and Marilyn Monroe's leading man in Bus Stop.[11] Parker was dissatisfied with Disney's proposal to only use him in a small role in Tonka. He was put on suspension for refusing the role, and subsequently left Disney.[12] After Walt Disney[edit] Parker made guest appearances on many television programs, and composed and sang. He performed the occasional role of Tom Conrad, editor of the Diablo Courier in the syndicated western series, Annie Oakley (1954–1957), starring Gail Davis, Brad Johnson, and Jimmy Hawkins.[13] Parker was contracted to Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures
from 1958 to 1962. He appeared in a small assortment of Paramount movies, including a cameo as an unnamed frontiersman in Bob Hope's Western comedy Alias Jesse James and supporting roles in The Hangman (1959) with Robert Taylor, The Jayhawkers!
The Jayhawkers!
(1959) with Jeff Chandler, and Hell Is for Heroes (1962) with Steve McQueen. In 1962, he starred in the title role of the TV series Mr Smith Goes to Washington, portraying the same idealistic character that James Stewart had played in the 1939 film. Parker took to the stage in 1963, in a traveling production of Oklahoma! as Curly. The movie roles he sought were elusive.[10] In 1966, Parker starred in the movie Smoky, directed by George Sherman where he played the role of Clint Barkley, who finds a black stallion named Smoky a wild stallion who eventually becomes a wonderful cutting horse and the best friend an old cowboy could ever want. Daniel Boone[edit] Main article: Daniel Boone
Daniel Boone
(1964 TV series)

Fess Parker
Fess Parker
as Daniel Boone
Daniel Boone
with Brock Peters

Parker's Daniel Boone
Daniel Boone
television series portraying another historic figure of America's frontier days began filming in 1964. Over its six years (1964 to 1970) as one of the highest-rated shows of its time, Parker was not only the star of the series, but also the co-producer and director of five of its most popular episodes.[14] Parker became interested in opening a Davy Crockett-themed amusement park. In the late 1960s, he optioned land in northern Kentucky at the confluence of Interstates 71 and 75, with the intention of building Frontier World. However, when the Taft Broadcasting Company
Taft Broadcasting Company
of Cincinnati, Ohio, began building Kings Island
Kings Island
Amusement Park in nearby Mason, Ohio, less than a 2-hour drive from Parker's site, financing for Parker's venture dried up. Turning down the title role of McCloud, Parker retired from acting at the age of 49 after a sitcom pilot called The Fess Parker
Fess Parker
Show was broadcast on March 28, 1974, but was not subsequently picked up by the network. Awards[edit] Fess Parker
Fess Parker
was nominated for best new personality Emmy in 1954, but lost to George Gobel. He was never nominated again, nor was his show Daniel Boone.[15] In 1991, he was named a Disney Legend. In 2003, Parker received the Texas Cultural Trust's "Texas Medal of Arts Award", established only the year before.[16][17] For his work with Disney, Parker was honored in December 2004 with his own tribute window on a façade in the Frontierland
Frontierland
section of Disneyland.[18] Fess Parker
Fess Parker
Winery[edit]

The Fess Parker
Fess Parker
Winery in Los Olivos, California

Fess Parker
Fess Parker
in 1985

After his acting career, Parker devoted much of his time to operating his Fess Parker
Fess Parker
Family Winery and Vineyards in Los Olivos, California.[19] The winery is owned and operated by Parker's family, and has produced several different types of award-winning wines. Parker's son, Eli, is President and Director of Winemaking and Vineyard
Vineyard
Operations, while daughter, Ashley, is Vice President of Marketing and Sales.[19] The Parker operation includes over 1,500 acres (610 ha) of vineyards, and a tasting room and visitor center along the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail. In addition to wine, the winery is known for selling coonskin caps and bottle toppers inspired by Parker's Crockett and Boone characters, and for its appearance under another name in the movie Sideways. In reminiscence of his acting days, Parker's wine labels have a logo of a golden coonskin cap.[20] The Fess Parker
Fess Parker
Winery is one of the wineries along the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail.[citation needed] Politics[edit] In 1985, Parker briefly flirted with running for the US Senate as a Republican for the seat of incumbent Democrat Alan Cranston.[21] He considered himself a conservative in the mold of Ronald Reagan.[22] Personal life[edit] Parker married Marcella Belle Rinehart on January 18, 1960. They had two children, Fess Elisha Parker III and Ashley Allen Rinehart, along with 11 grandchildren and a great-grandson.[14] Death[edit] Parker died of natural causes on March 18, 2010, at his home in Santa Ynez, California, near the Fess Parker
Fess Parker
Winery.[2][23]

The handprints of Fess Parker
Fess Parker
in front of Hollywood Hills Amphitheater at Walt Disney
Walt Disney
World's Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney's Hollywood Studios
theme park

Filmography[edit]

Parker as Daniel Boone

George Sanders
George Sanders
with Parker as Boone (1966)

Year Title Role Notes

1950 Harvey Leslie (voice, uncredited)

1952 No Room for the Groom Cousin Ben uncredited

Untamed Frontier Clem McCloud

Springfield Rifle Jim Randolph uncredited

1953 Man on a Tightrope Checkpoint Soldier uncredited

Take Me to Town Long John uncredited

The Kid from Left Field McDougal

Island in the Sky Fitch's Co-Pilot uncredited

Thunder Over the Plains Kirby

1954 Dragonfly Squadron Texas Lieutenant uncredited

Them! Alan Crotty

The Bounty Hunter Wild Cowboy at Finale uncredited

1955 Battle Cry Pvt. Speedy

Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier Davy Crockett

1956 The Great Locomotive Chase James J. Andrews

Davy Crockett
Davy Crockett
and the River Pirates Davy Crockett

Westward Ho, The Wagons! John 'Doc' Grayson

1957 Old Yeller Jim Coates

1958 The Light in the Forest Del Hardy

1959 The Hangman Sheriff Buck Weston

Alias Jesse James Davy Crockett uncredited

The Jayhawkers! Cam Bleeker

1962 Hell Is for Heroes Sgt. Pike

1966 Daniel Boone: Frontier Trail Rider Daniel Boone

Smoky Clint Barkley

1972 Climb an Angry Mountain Sheriff Elisha Cooper [24] -

Television[edit]

Dragnet: The Big Winchester "Annie Oakley: (May 8th, 1954), Annie and the Texas Sandman" Death Valley Days: (1954) Season 2,Ep 15, Kickapoo Run Davy Crockett
Davy Crockett
(miniseries 1954–1955) City Detective (1 episode, 1955) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
(1962–1963) Alfred Hitchcock Hour
Alfred Hitchcock Hour
"Nothing Ever Happens in Linvale," as Sheriff Ben Wister (1963) Daniel Boone
Daniel Boone
(lead cast member from 1964–1970, with Ed Ames, Patricia Blair, Darby Hinton, and Veronica Cartwright) Climb an Angry Mountain (1972) The Fess Parker
Fess Parker
Show (1974) (unsold pilot) Oz and James's Big Wine Adventure
Oz and James's Big Wine Adventure
(2007) (as himself, discussing wine making)

See also[edit]

Biography portal Film portal Television portal

List of celebrities who own wineries and vineyards

References[edit]

^ a b c Weaver, Tom. Sci-Fi Swarm and Horror Horde: Interviews with 62 Filmmakers, p. 148 (McFarland 2012). ^ a b c (March 18, 2010) Daniel Boone
Daniel Boone
Actor
Actor
Fess Parker
Fess Parker
Dies at 85" CBS
CBS
News Accessed March 18, 2010 ^ Obituary London Guardian, March 19, 2010. ^ Obituary London Independent, March 25, 2010. ^ "Disney Legends Award: Fess Parker-1991" Disney.com ^ " Davy Crockett
Davy Crockett
actor Fess Parker
Fess Parker
dies, aged 85". BBC. 19 March 2010.  ^ Duke, Alan (March 18, 2010). "'Daniel Boone' star Fess Parker
Fess Parker
dies". CNN.  ^ a b c Seale, Avrel (July–August 2003). "Playing the Hero". The Alcalde. University of Texas. 91 (6): 34–37. Retrieved 19 March 2010.  ^ a b McLellan, Dennis (March 18, 2010). "Fess Parker, who played Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone
Daniel Boone
on TV, dies at 85". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 18, 2010.  ^ a b c d Richard Severo (March 19, 2010) "Fess Parker, Who as Davy Crockett Set Off Coonskin Cap Craze, Dies at 85", New York Times Accessed March 19, 2010 ^ Fess Parker
Fess Parker
Interview Playset Magazine #34 ^ http://www.michaelbarrier.com/Interviews/Parker/interview_fess_parker.htm ^ "Annie Oakley". tvacres.com. Archived from the original on February 4, 2013. Retrieved January 11, 2010.  ^ a b Official Website Biography Page Accessed March 18, 2010 ^ Tom O'Neil (March 18, 2010) " Fess Parker
Fess Parker
had that cool coonskin cap – who needs an Emmy?" , Los Angeles Times, Accessed March 19, 2010 ^ Associated Press (7 February 2003). "Talented Texans to be Honored". The Houston Chronicle. p. 2. Retrieved 2008-01-22.  ^ (March 18, 2003) "2003 Texas Medal of Arts Award Winners to Be Celebrated Tuesday, March 25" PRNewswire, Accessed March 19, 2010 ^ Heather Hust Rivera (December 18th, 2009) "Did You Miss It? Davy Crockett’s Window in Frontierland" Disney Accessed May 25, 2010 ^ a b Official Fess Parker
Fess Parker
Website fessparker.com ^ Eric Lindberg (March 18, 2010)"Fess Parker, famed actor and hotelier, dies at 85" , The Daily Sound, Accessed March 19, 2010 ^ Los Angeles Times, Fess Parker
Fess Parker
Has Eye on Senate ^ "People Magazine", He Died as Davy Crockett
Davy Crockett
at the Alamo, but Actor Fess Parker
Fess Parker
Lives Oh as a California Hotel Baron ^ Orange County Register, Fess Parker
Fess Parker
dies – played Davy Crockett ^ Climb An Angry Mountain 1972, YouTube

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fess Parker.

Fess Parker
Fess Parker
interview video at the Archive of American Television Official bio and winery information Fess Parker
Fess Parker
Facebook Fanpage Fess Parker
Fess Parker
on IMDb

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 59284981 LCCN: n95070665 ISNI: 0000 0001 1765 5888 GND: 141523352 SUDOC: 145764834 BNF: cb14041120p (data) MusicBrainz: 36093bcd-4f38-4260-8c89-7fd322266dd3 BNE: XX1674855 SN

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