It's been a rough week for the entertainment industry, with several beloved icons passing away in just a few short days, such as Angus Scrimm, David Bowie, David Margulies and, just yesterday, Alan Rickman. Today, ABC News has confirmed the passing of another beloved entertainer, The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams star Dan Haggerty, who passed away early this morning at the age of 74. The actor's manager confirmed his client's passing, after a long battle with cancer.
Dan Haggerty was born Gene Jajonski on November 19, 1941, in Pound, Wisconsin, raised by a family who ran a wildlife animal attraction. During his childhood, he helped raise wild animals such as a black bear that performed tricks, before moving to Southern California to pursue acting. While pursuing his acting career, he was also a bodybuilder on Muscle Beach in Venice, California, which lead to his first film role in 1964's Muscle Beach Party. He also had small roles in films like Angels Die Hard and an uncredited turn in Easy Rider before landing the role of James "Grizzly" Adams in the 1974 film The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams.
Three years later, The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams was adapted to the small screen. Although it only ran for two seasons, the actor became well known for that character, a fugitive from the law who lived a life of solitude in the wilderness, with a massive grizzly bear as his companion. He reprised that role in the 1981 film Legends of the Wild, and again in a 1982 TV movie The Capture of Grizzly Adams.
He went on to work regularly throughout the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, with appearances on The Love Boat, and roles in films like Abducted, Repo Jake, Big Stan and Dead in 5 Heartbeats. He currently has three films in various stages of production, Rachel, 40 Nights and The Untold Story. Along with his work in front of the camera, the actor also served as an animal handler and trainer, and worked as a stuntman on the 1966 Tarzan TV series. He also appeared as himself on a 2013 episode of the History Channel series American Pickers.
Dan Haggerty also has the unique distinction as the only person to ever have his star removed from the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The star was actually meant to honor the late actor Don Haggerty, but the Walk of Fame committee misspelled the name. He eventually got his own star in 1994, which rests right in front of the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood. The actor is survived by his five children. Will you be watching The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams this weekend to honor the late Dan Haggerty?