Dan Haggerty, best known as gentle giant Grizzly Adams in the hit 1974 movie The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams and the TV show of the same name, has died. He was 74.
Haggerty died surrounded by his family on Friday morning in California. Doctors discovered a spinal tumour after the actor had surgery for back pain last year and he
had been undergoing a course of chemotherapy. Terry Bomar, who was friends with the star for nearly 20 years and had been his manager most of that time, said Haggerty thought his condition was improving, but doctors later found a spot on his lung.
“I talked to him and told him we’re praying for him,” Bomar said. “I told him ‘I love you, man.’ The last thing I heard him say was “I love you.'”
A low-budget movie, The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams became one of the biggest hits of 1974. It was turned into a TV series three years later and lasted two seasons.
With his impressive stature, long beard and rugged good looks, Haggerty was perfect for the part of 19th-century wrongly accused US frontiersman Adams who saves and then raises a grizzly bear cub. The two become constant companions as Adams travels the West, caring for other wild animals. The star received the award for Favourite Male Performer in a New TV Program award on the 1978 People’s Choice.
Haggerty, who was widowed in 2008, is survived by five children, two grandchildren, two sisters and three brothers.