'Grizzly Adams'' Dan Haggerty dies at 74
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In a month rife with celebrity deaths, "Grizzly Adams'" Dan Haggerty has succumbed to cancer at the age of 74. Haggerty played the iconic mountain man in both a 1976 film and for two seasons on a hit TV series.
The brawny actor with long hair and flowing beard played Grizzly Adams, a man wrongly accused of murder who takes to the wilderness.
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The brawny actor with long hair and flowing beard played Adams, a man wrongly accused of murder who takes to the wilderness. Nursing an orphaned bear cub, the man and beast become inseparable and have a series of adventures in the untamed mountainsides.
"The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams," made for under a million dollars in 1974 quickly racked up more than $50 million worldwide. The TV series on NBC was launched three years later where it enjoyed a run for two years.
As is the case in Hollywood, Haggerty landed the role after another actor failed to work out. A producer saw Haggerty in an earlier role and asked his secretary, who just so happened to be Haggerty's wife -- if he was available.
"I came down from Canada, met this guy and he said, I made this movie called 'Grizzly Adams' but I'm not crazy about it. How would you like to be Grizzly Adams?" Haggerty recalled. The rest they say is history. Haggerty reprised the role in a 1982 TV movie.
Art imitated life. Haggerty was a lover of wild animals and an accomplished outdoorsman.
Based in Malibu, California, Haggerty was a stuntman and performer before the series began. HE had a leopard, a cougar, and a tiger on the ranch he shared with his wife and daughters.
Haggerty had appeared in a string of low budget exploitation movies, beach pictures, horror films, and biker flicks. After "Grizzly Adams," Haggerty starred in straight-to-video horror movies and outdoorsy flicks. He also opened a Los Angeles restaurant in 1991. He suffered a motorcycle crash that same year, and lost his wife, Samantha in a traffic accident in 2008.
Haggerty lost his battle with cancer last week a Burbank, California, hospital. According to longtime friend and manager Terry Bomar, Haggerty died surrounded by his family.
Haggerty had started taking chemo last summer for a spinal tumor. Haggerty thought his condition was improving, but doctors later found a spot on his lung, he said.
"I talked to him yesterday 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.'"
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