Dan Haggerty

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Dan Haggerty
Haggerty in 1978
Daniel Francis Haggerty

November 19, 1942
DiedJanuary 15, 2016(2016-01-15) (aged 73)
Burbank, California, U.S.
Years active1959–2016
Diane Rooker
(m. 1959; div. 1984)
Samantha Haggerty
(m. 1984; died 2008)

Daniel Francis Haggerty (November 19, 1942[1] – January 15, 2016) was an American actor who was best known for playing the title role in the film and television series The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams.

Early life[edit]

Haggerty's was born in Pound, Wisconsin.[2][3] His parents separated when he was three. He ran away from military school several times. He lived with his father in Burbank, California.[1]

Acting career[edit]

Haggerty was cast in a small non-speaking role as a bodybuilder in the 1964 film Muscle Beach Party and also as a bodybuilder in Girl Happy. He also worked as a stuntman on the 1966 television series Tarzan, and as set builder on various other projects. More stunt work followed, as well as supporting roles in numerous low-budget biker and wildlife films of the era, such as Angels Die Hard, The Adventures of Frontier Fremont, and Terror Out of the Sky. In addition to his bit part as a hippie in Easy Rider', he also assisted in building the motorcycles featured in the film.[4]

Haggerty in The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams

His experience with animals also brought him work as an animal trainer and handler in films produced by Walt Disney Studios. Haggerty directed white tigers, wolverines, eagles, and wild boar in the 1974 feature film When the North Wind Blows for Sunn Classic Pictures, which also produced The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams, a wildly popular film released the same year, in which he portrayed the title character Grizzly Adams.[5] From the latter film evolved the NBC television series of the same name which ran from 1977 to 1978, and Haggerty became known to movie-goers for his portrayal of nature-loving James Capen "Grizzly" Adams.

Haggerty starred in the television film Condominium (1980), which also starred Barbara Eden, Ralph Bellamy and Stuart Whitman. Haggerty played a hydrology expert trying to warn residents that their Florida condos were about to be demolished in an approaching hurricane. In 1981, he appeared in an episode of Charlie's Angels, called "Waikiki Angels," as Bo Thompson. He guest-starred as Sawdust Radell on The Love Boat in 1983 ("World's Greatest Kisser").[6][7] That year, he also appeared briefly in David Carradine's 1983 film Americana and provided a fighting dog for the production. In the film, he not only played the role of the dog's trainer, but also assisted in set design and the restoration of a broken down carousel, which figured prominently in the film.[8]

Haggerty made a cameo appearance as an attorney in Terror Night (1987) with John Ireland and Cameron Mitchell, starred in Night Wars (1988) as a Vietnam veteran who is a psychologist dealing with nightmares of his fellow veterans, and appeared in horror films such as Elves and the Linda Blair film The Chilling in 1989. He starred in the 1989 film Spirit of the Eagle.

Haggerty played lead roles in the films Repo Jake (1990) and Elves (1990). In 1995's Grizzly Mountain, he starred as a modern-day version of Grizzly Adams and worked with bears, foxes, and hawks in the film.[9] He reprised his role in Escape to Grizzly Mountain (2000). Haggerty was featured as a character in Al Franken's 1999 political satire novel, Why Not Me?.

Haggerty continued to work as both an actor and infomercial spokesman. One of his endorsements was for the Pap-Ion Magnetic Inductor (PAP-IMI), a device alleged to have health benefits. He had only been hired as a spokesperson and was found not to be part of the fraud that later embroiled the manufacturer.[10]

In Big Stan (2007), he played Tubby, and appeared as a lumberjack foreman in Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan (2013). Haggerty also did several voice-overs and can also be seen in music videos by Hank Williams Jr. and Rogues of the Empire. Haggerty appeared on the U.S. television show American Pickers in its episode "California Kustom", which aired on History on February 25, 2013.[11][12]

Personal life[edit]

Haggerty married Diane Rooker in 1959 at a Las Vegas wedding chapel in the Silver Slipper Hotel when they were 17. The couple had two daughters, Tracey and Tammy. They divorced in 1984, after which Haggerty married Samantha Hilton. Haggerty and Hilton had two sons, Dylan and Cody, and one daughter, Megan. They were married until Hilton's death following a motorcycle accident on August 10, 2008.[13]

Haggerty lived on a small ranch in Malibu Canyon with an assortment of wild animals that he had tamed at birth or rescued from injury. At a restaurant in 1977, a patron with a flaming cocktail set Haggerty's beard on fire. As he attempted to extinguish the flames, Haggerty received third-degree burns on his arms.[1] Production on The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams television series was halted while Haggerty recovered.[14] In 1991, Haggerty was hospitalized after a motorcycle accident left him in a coma.[15]

In 1985, Haggerty received a jail sentence of 90 days and three years' probation after being convicted of selling cocaine to an undercover police officer.[16]


In August 2015, Haggerty was diagnosed with spinal cancer after a tumor was discovered while he underwent back surgery.[17][18] He died of spinal cancer on January 15, 2016, in Burbank, California.[19][20]

Selected filmography[edit]



  1. ^ a b c Grimes, William (January 15, 2016). "Dan Haggerty, Who Played Grizzly Adams, Dies at 73". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Day, Patrick Kevin (January 16, 2016). "Dan Haggerty". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2016-01-30. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  3. ^ Leovy, Jill (January 15, 2016). "Actor Dan Haggerty, TV's 'Grizzly Adams,' dies at 73". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  4. ^ "Hollywood Star Walk: Dan Haggerty". Los Angeles Times. June 9, 2010.
  5. ^ (via Google Books)Barris, George; Fetherston, David (December 16, 2008). Barris Cars of the Stars. MotorBooks International. pp. 78–. ISBN 978-0-7603-3222-1. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
  6. ^ "Sawdust Radell, The Love Boat". TV Maze. Retrieved 2023-03-20.
  7. ^ "158. Weltmeister im Küssen (The World's Greatest Kisser / The Reluctant Father / Don't Take My Wife, Please)". Fernsehserien. Retrieved 2023-03-20.
  8. ^ Carradine, David (1995). Endless Highway. Journey Editions. p. 373. ISBN 978-1-8852-0320-5.
  9. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence (1997-10-31). "Grizzly Mountain (1997) Film Review; Time Out to Stop the Bad Guys From Paving a Mountain Paradise". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-01-15.
  10. ^ "Miracle Machines: The 21st-Century Snake Oil". The Seattle Times. December 26, 2008. Archived from the original on 2012-08-16.
  11. ^ "Dan Haggerty, Filmografie". fernsehserien.de (in German). Retrieved 2023-03-20.
  12. ^ "92. Morbider Charme (California Kustom), Staffel 5, Folge 14". fernsehserien.de (in German). Retrieved 2023-03-20.
  13. ^ Girl, L.A. (January 15, 2016). "Samantha Haggerty Grizzly Adams' Dan Haggerty's wife". Daily Entertainment News. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  14. ^ Beebe, Lloyd (2005). Wilderness Trails And a Dream: The Story Behind the Olympic Game Farm (Third ed.). Forks, Washington: Olympic Graphic Arts, Inc. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-6151-2878-8.
  15. ^ "Dan Haggerty". latimes.com. Retrieved 2023-08-06.
  16. ^ "Dan Haggerty, actor in 'Grizzly Adams' film and TV roles, dies at 74". The Washington Post. January 15, 2016. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  17. ^ "'Grizzly Adams' Star Dan Haggerty Dies At 74". Access Hollywood. January 15, 2016. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  18. ^ "'Grizzly Adams' Actor Dan Haggerty Dead At 74 After Cancer Fight". KCAL News. January 15, 2016. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  19. ^ Lustig, Jonah; Wilkins, Vanessa (January 15, 2016). "Actor Dan Haggerty Has Died At 74". ABC News. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  20. ^ Leopold, Todd (January 15, 2016). "Dan Haggerty, 'Grizzly Adams' star, dies at 74". CNN. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  21. ^ Abducted (1986) at IMDb

External links[edit]