I represent the first generation who, when we were born, the television was now a permanent fixture in our homes. When I was born people had breakfast with Barbara Walters, dinner with Walter Cronkite, and slept with Johnny Carson.
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Friday, January 15, 2016
November 19, 1941 – January 15, 2016
Dan Haggerty was born Gene Jajonski inPound, Wisconsin.He grew up in a family that owned and operated a small wild animal attraction. There he helped raise wild animals, including a black bear that performed tricks. After high school, he moved to southern California to pursue acting.
Early on, Haggerty was cast in a small non-speaking role as a bodybuilder in the 1964 filmMuscle Beach Partyand also as a bodybuilder inGirl Happy, starringElvis Presley. These were followed by appearances in various biker and wildlife films such as Easy Rider,Angels Die Hard,The Adventures of Frontier FremontandTerror Out of the Sky.
His experience with animals also brought him work as an animal trainer and handler in films produced by Walt Disney Studios. Additionally, Haggerty also worked as a stunt man on the television series Tarzan, and as set builder on various other projects. He directed white tigers, wolverines, eagles and wild boar in When the North Wind Blows and worked with bears, foxes and hawks in the 1997 film Grizzly Mountain.
Haggerty is best known for portraying the character Grizzly Adams in the title role of the 1974 Sunn Classic Pictures feature, The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams. From this feature film evolved the NBC television series which ran from 1977 to 1978, and Haggerty became known to movie-goers for his portrayal of nature-loving James Capen "Grizzly" Adams.
Haggerty appeared briefly in David Carradine's film, Americana and provided a fighting dog for the production. In the film, he not only played the role of the dog's trainer but also assisted in set design and the restoration of a broken down carousel, which figured prominently in the film. He assisted in building the motorcycles featured in the film Easy Rider, and had a bit part as a "hippie" in that film, as well as stunt work and supporting roles in numerous low-budget biker films of the era. He also starred in the 1989 film "Spirit of the Eagle".
Haggerty was the lead role in the movies - Repo Jake (1990), Elves (1990), Grizzly Mountain (1995), and Escape to Grizzly Mountain (2000). He was also featured as a character in Al Franken's novel, Why Not Me?.
Haggerty starred in the TV miniseries Condominium (1980), which also starred Barbara Eden, Ralph Bellamy and Stuart Whitman. Haggerty played a hydraulics expert trying to warn residents that their Florida condos were about to be demolished in a forthcoming hurricane.