Californians are enigmatic. Now, you can say so are the rest of the Americans. Yes, indeed!
But somewhere in the fast paced world of an America forever oscillating between technology and creativity on one hand, and entertainment and Foreign policy affairs on the other, it is this laidback, charming and extremely beautiful state that continues to amaze. There’s wealth, yes, great deal of it, albeit an increasing graph of inner city crimes and an explosive divide between intellect, power and the thrust of entertainment industry (let’s not forget Hollywood baby) that forms the Californian landscape.
Yet, the above isn’t complete till you picture the wonderful state in the light of its natural beauty. If you actually look up the flag (the California Grizzly Bear) of the ‘Golden State’, you’d find something interesting. This actually leads us to what we are writing and why.
The image of a Bear, casually taking a stroll on the lush green grass stands out. Why? California, the 3rd largest US state in area still holds dense habitat for the Grizzly, a common sub-specie of the brown bear. The state where not just the film industry, personal computer and hippie culture emerged of the many marvelous discoveries, is home to around 500 Grizzly bears.
And, it is in the tragic loss of one of the nicest Californians, also no stranger to the grizzly, both as part of his career and personal life that we have lost a “Bear” of a talent.
Here are 7 main facts surrounding the popular actor, family man and an iconic Californian
Born in 1941, Dan Haggerty, father to 5 and an ever loving soul wasn’t always destined to be an actor. At least, he wouldn’t have thought so. But, as luck would have had it or say the abundantly charming Californian farm where Dan grew up, his most memorable role had its bearings amidst the bounty of nature and loving pet animals.
Haggerty’s part in “The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams”, a 1974 independent film was based on the life on another iconic Californian, known as James Capen ‘Grizzly’ Adams.
Dan Haggerty brought to life the endearing bond of love between man and the wild through his heart touching film which later on also became a 38 part NBC television series. Haggerty’s act touched hearts for its depiction of a bear cub (Ben), orphaned, later adopted by the fictional James ‘Grizzly’ Adams.
The fact that Grizzly Adams, played to perfection by Dan never had a home in the first place having fled to the mountains took care of Ben who is shown as Adams’ inseparable shadow teaches us a great deal about unconditional love. Isn’t it something that is fast deteriorating from our worlds? Think about it!
That we must all believe in and must not shy away from displaying Compassion, is what Dan Haggerty’s memorable part brought out with élan in a movie that’s remembered even today and may never be forgotten thanks to social media interactivity, fans and a very fine public memory.
Can we ever experience true gratification in life in material belongings alone? Not sure, if the legendary Californian, Dan Haggerty, also an animal trainer, infomercial spokesman, bear lover among other things would have agreed? For sure, Dan wasn’t the richest actor of his time and may never be remembered as one. But, how well he lived and how many beautiful experiences he raked in from his easy-going, smiling, cheerful and energetic life is what matters, isn’t it?
Dan Haggerty, who left us on January 15,2016 waging a lonely battle with Spinal Cancer was a loving family man. A strong, tall and lanky moustached Californian, he had even slipped into a coma (1991) following a Bike accident. But, he would recover.
They say strong spirits seldom suffer. We couldn’t agree more. Dan’s remarkable and often lesser celebrated life is a standing testimony to the fact that it isn’t in sprawling riches that success lies. It often does in doing the simplest and highly under-rated things such as spending time on a country farm or, preparing motorcycles out of scratch.
Dan, who did it all in a style that only a simple Californian untouched by greed or lust for the excesses would- has our regard for time immemorial.
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