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Dan Haggerty (1941 - 2016)

Getty Images / Hulton Archive / Paul Harris

Dan Haggerty (1941 - 2016)

Dan Haggerty, the burly actor who played the bearded mountain man James "Grizzly" Adams on the television Western as well as in the movie version, has died, according to multiple news sources. He was 74.

Haggerty died Friday at his home in California's San Fernando Valley. The cause was cancer.

The movie version of The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams was released in 1974 by Sunn Classic Pictures. The TV series followed soon after on NBC. The TV show – which also featured an orphaned grizzly bear cub named Ben, enjoyed a brief run, from 1977 to 1978. The real Adams was a 19th-century frontiersman who died in 1860.

Haggerty, who was born Nov. 19, 1941, in Pound, Wisconsin, he became a bodybuilder, animal trainer and stunt performer. His film debut came in 1964, with a nonspeaking part in Muscle Beach Party, in which he played a muscular guy named Biff. He also had roles in the biker road-trip movie Easy Rider that was written by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Terry Southern, The Adventures of Frontier Fremont; and Terror out of the Sky.

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Haggerty also formerly trained and handled the animals for one of the Tarzan movies as well as the TV series.

Haggerty continued acting after the Grizzly Adams series, and he had several films in production at the time of his death.

He relished the "Grizzly" role, however.

"We were like a family, having a great time," he once said. "They did surveys and said, 'They don’t want you to get married – people say if they're out in their truck or motor home and break down, who's gonna come save 'em but Grizzly Adams?' I said, 'Oh, please!' – but I never did get a wife on the show."

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