Fess Elisha Parker Jr.

Film and TV actor Fess Parker was born in Fort Worth, Texas on August 16, 1924. He enlisted in the US Navy during WWII, hoping to become a pilot but was turned down because he was too tall at 6'6". He then tried to become a radioman gunner, but was also too large for this job - he could not fit comfortably into the rear cockpit! He finally transferred to the Marine Corps, where he searved as aradio operator in the South Pacific. After being discharged from the Marines, Parker enrolled at Hardin-Simmons University on the GI Bill and transferred to the University of Texas in 1947. He graduated with a degree in history in 1950 and then studied theater history at the University of Southern California where he was a member of Gamma Eta Chapter. Parker began his acting career in 1950 in the film, Harvey. His first big role, and one of his best performances, was as Davy Crockett in the Walt Disney 1955-56 TV miniseries of the same name. Parker was contracted to Paramount Pictures from 1958-62 and had supporting roles in an assortment of movies. In 1964, Parker began filming his other best-known role, that of Daniel Boone, in a television series of the same name from 1964-1970. He married Marcella Belle Rinehart on January 18, 1960, and they had two children: Fess Elisha Parker III and Ashley Allen Rinehart. After his acting career, Parker devoted much of his time to his winery, the Fess Parker Family Winery and Vineyards in Los Olivos, California. Fess Parker died at his home in Santa Ynez, California on March 18, 2010.