The family nickname of Eric Cartwright (Dan Blocker), a large, 280-pound but gentle rancher’s son on the western drama BONANZA/NBC/1959-73.


Hoss was the second child of Ben Cartwright (Lorne Greene) who lived on the Ponderosa Ranch near Virginia City in the Nevada Territory of the late 19th century. As Eric once said, “Most people just call me Hoss.”

His nickname was derived from an old Swedish mountain expression which meant “big, friendly man.” His uncle Gunnar had suggested the name to Ben’s second wife, Inger Borgstrom (Inga Swenson) who was killed by Indians soon after Hoss’ birth.

Note: On the NBC TV-Movie Bonanza: The Return (1993) the hefty actor Brian Leckner played the role of Josh Cartwright. His resemblance to Dan Blocker earned him the nickname “Hoss” when he played high school football.


Born in Philadelphia, Jerome Alphonse Holst worked 30 years as a librarian. He has since retired and lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. Mr. Holst is also the author of the children’s books “Norman the Troll,” "Norman the Troll and the Haunted House," and "Gretchen and the Gremlins." In addition, he penned the fantasy novel “The Adventures of Glinda Gale,” a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz" and the reference text “The Encyclopedia of Movie and TV Insults.” .

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