Dan Blocker Chose To Play Hoss Because Of His Size And ”Relatable” Appearance
Dan Blocker is best known for his role as Eric “Hoss” Cartwright on the long-running western TV series, Bonanza. Blocker, who was 6’4″ and weighed over 300 pounds, was an imposing presence on the screen, but he also brought a warmth and relatability to his character that made him a fan favorite. In fact, it was Blocker’s size and appearance that drew him to the role of Hoss in the first place.
In an interview with the Archive of American Television, Blocker explained that he initially auditioned for the role of Adam Cartwright, the eldest son of the Cartwright family. However, after meeting with the show’s creator, David Dortort, he was offered the role of Hoss instead.
Blocker said that he was initially hesitant to accept the role because he was worried about being typecast as a “heavy.” However, Dortort convinced him that Hoss was a unique character who was both physically imposing and emotionally sensitive. Blocker was drawn to the character’s relatability and the way that he struggled to reconcile his size and strength with his gentle nature.
“I was 6’4″ and weighed over 300 pounds, so I was a pretty big guy,” Blocker said. “And when they said they wanted somebody to play Hoss, who was supposed to be the biggest and strongest of the Cartwrights, I thought, ‘Well, I could do that.’ But what really interested me was the character’s vulnerability. He was big and tough, but he was also sensitive and kind-hearted. That’s what made him relatable.”
Blocker’s portrayal of Hoss was one of the highlights of Bonanza, which aired for 14 seasons from 1959 to 1973. Hoss was known for his big heart and his willingness to help anyone in need, whether they were friend or foe. He was also a bit of a bumbler at times, which only made him more endearing to viewers.