Davy Crockett Star Fess Parker Dead at 85
"Da-vyyyyy! Daaaa-vy Crockett! King of the Wild Frontieeeerrr..." That will be stuck in your head the rest of the day now that the sad news of Fess Parker's death has hit the wires. The 85-year-old actor made his name in Disney's '50s-era franchise about the legendary American settler, discovered by Walt Disney himself while battling authority in the schlock classic Them! His resolve, intelligence and sensitivity became the hallmark (and somewhat of an albatross) in future Disney efforts including Old Yeller and Westward Ho!, until finally breaking free of the studio shackles and becoming a renaissance man on TV and in the business field as well.
Parker went on to land the title roles in the TV incarnations of Daniel Boone and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, later turning down the hit detective series McCloud in order to focus on his own sitcom, The Fess Parker Show. It tanked, and Parker retired -- kind of. Fess Parker Winery and Inn has flourished for nigh on three decades out in Los Olivos (where he also sold coon skin caps and various DVD's of his work), as have his mobile home parks and another resort hotel in Santa Barbara as well. He celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary in January; his managers say he died of natural causes. Rest in peace, sir.
And now, for maximum headspace occupancy, "The Ballad of Davy Crockett":