Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010

Fess Parker

Chances are, if you grew up in the mid-1950s, you either owned an official Davy Crockett coonskin cap or had the lyrics of the television show's theme song committed to memory: "Born on a mountaintop in Tennessee/ Greenest state in the land of the free ... Davy, Davy Crockett/ King of the wild frontier." Under the iconic cap — just one of the show's many merchandising tie-ins — stood Fess Parker, who died on March 18 at 85. The 6-ft. 6-in. Texas-born actor fit the rugged American frontiersman mold so well in the five Crockett episodes of ABC's Disneyland that he went on to play Daniel Boone in the 1960s NBC series of the same name. (Boone, as the ballad went, "was a man, yes a big man!") Parker starred in such movies as Old Yeller and Westward Ho, the Wagons! But in the years following his TV fame, he set his sights on real estate development and started a family winery in California. Parker, who was married to his wife Marcella for 50 years, had two children, 11 grandkids and a great-grandchild.

Alexandra Silver

This text originally appeared in the April 5, 2010 issue of TIME Magazine.