Dan Haggerty, a husky, bushy-bearded actor best known for playing the outdoorsman and nature lover Grizzly Adams on both the big screen and television, passed away on Friday. He was 74.
According to his manager Terry Bomar, Haggerty, who had previously served time in prison and had later suffered serious injuries in a motorbike accident, passed away at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank.
In an effort to gather money for his battle against “this bear known as cancer,” his daughter Megan had turned to a crowdfunding platform. In order to reach her $100,000 objective, she had raised roughly $10,500.
In The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams, Haggerty played James Capen “Grizzly” Adams, who fled to the mountains after being falsely convicted of murder, formed a kinship with the wildlife, and adopted an orphan cub (1974).
A real-life trapper who lived in California in the 1880s served as the inspiration for the character.
The independent film, which cost less than $200,000 to produce, brought in an astounding $45 million domestically and inspired a two-season NBC series that debuted in 1977. Later, he performed the role of Adams in a 1982 telefilm as well as a 1981 feature.
When a producer saw Haggerty in the daily draughts of a movie he was working on in Canada, he gave him his breakthrough part.
Haggerty recalled the producer saying, “‘Now that man would be wonderful for Grizzly Adams, not the guy we have. “Do you know that guy?” he asks my wife, who was a secretary at the time. Yes, his name is Dan Haggerty, she replies. Isn’t your name Haggerty, he asks. She confirms that he is her husband. Call him and tell him to come down here because I want to speak with him, then.
The well-known actor competed as a member of the NBC team in the Battle of the Network Stars competitions, which were broadcast on ABC, and displayed his enormous strength (and was a must-have participant in the tug-of-war).
However, Haggerty received a 90-day jail term and a three-year probationary period in 1985 for selling cocaine to two undercover police officers. He said he had been duped.
After he underwent 18 surgeries to recover from a motorcycle accident that nearly killed him, Haggerty made a comeback to play another mountain man in Grizzly Mountain (1997), which starred his daughters Megan and Dylan, as well as in the sequel released in 2000.
He appeared in the Rob Schneider-directed and Rob Schneider-starred film Big Stan in 2007.
Born Gene Jajonski in Pound, Wisconsin, Haggerty played a character by the name of Biff in the Frankie Avalon-Annette Funicello movie Muscle Beach Party from 1964. He then starred with Elvis Presley in Girl Happy (1965) and Easy Rider from 1965. (1969).
Haggerty also left behind his other children, Dylan, Cody, Tracey, and Don, in addition to Megan.
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