Blocker was born Bobby Dan Blocker in De Kalb in Bowie County in northeastern Texas, son of Ora Shack Blocker (1895–1960) and his wife Mary David Blocker (1901–1998). Soon after Dan's birth, the family moved to O'Donnell, south of Lubbock in West Texas, where they operated a store.
He attended Texas Military Institute and in 1946 played football at Baptist-affiliated Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. He graduated from Sul Ross State Teacher's College in Alpine, where he earned a master's degree in the dramatic arts. (Although the "Hoss" character on Bonanza was conceived as lovable but slow-witted, Blocker was the only cast member with a graduate degree.)
Blocker was a high school English and drama teacher in Sonora, Texas, a sixth grade teacher and coach at Eddy Elementary School in Carlsbad, New Mexico and a finally a teacher in California. He had worked as a rodeo performer and as a bouncer in a beer bar while a student. He is remembered from his school days for his size of 6 feet 3 inches (18.3 hands) and weight of 300 pounds (136 kilograms; 21 stone 6 pounds), and for being good-natured despite his intimidating size.
Lee Strasberg cited Blocker as the man who paved the way for contemporary acting.
Read more about this topic: Dan Blocker
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