Fess Elisha Parker Jr. was born in Fort Worth, Texas on August 16, 1924 and died March 18, 2010. He is best known for his portrayal of Daniel Boone on the television series of the same name from 1964 – 1970. He also portrayed Davy Crockett in the Walt Disney TV miniseries from 1955 – 1956.
He joined the Navy towards the end of WWII hoping to be pilot, but he was turned down because he was too tall at 6 feet 6 inches. He then tried for a position as a radioman gunner, but ran into the same issue; he was too big to fit comfortably in the rear cockpit. He ended up being transferred to the Marine Corps as a radio operator and shipped to the South Pacific shortly before the bombings of Japan.
James Arness was initially chosen to play Davy Crockett, but when Walt Disney saw the two of them in a science fiction film, Them!, he discovered Parker. When Parker met Disney at his office, he brought his guitar and sang a song for him and then left. Besides beating Arness for the part, he also beat out Buddy Ebsen.
In 1954, Parker was nominated for best new personality Emmy, but lost to George Gobel. Neither he nor Daniel Boone was ever nominated again. in 1991, he was named a Disney Legend; in 2003, he received the Texas Cultural Trust’s “Texas Medal of Arts Award”; in December 2004, Parker got his own tribute window on a façade in the Frontierland section of Disneyland.