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Kevin Hagen (April 3, 1928 – July 9, 2005)[1] was an American actor best known for his role as Dr. Hiram Baker on NBC's Little House on the Prairie.[2]

Kevin Hagen
Kevin-Hagen-01.jpg
Born(1928-04-03)April 3, 1928
DiedJuly 9, 2005(2005-07-09) (aged 77)
OccupationActor
Years active1958–2004
Spouse(s)Adaline Sohns Heidt (1960–?) (divorced)
Susanne Cramer (1967–1969, her death)
Dorali Dossantos (1969–) (divorced) 1 child
Jan Hagen (1993–2005, his death) 1 child

Contents

BackgroundEdit

Hagen was born in Chicago, Illinois, to professional ballroom dancers,[2] Haakon Olaf Hagen and the former Marvel Lucile Wadsworth. When Haakon Hagen deserted his family, young Hagen was reared by his mother, grandmother, and aunts. As a 15-year-old, he relocated to Portland, Oregon, where one of his aunts had taken a teaching job. He attended Portland's Jefferson High School.[2] His family returned to Chicago, and he attended Oregon State University in Corvallis and later the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California, from which he received a degree in international relations. He spent a year in law school at the University of California, Los Angeles, and was subsequently employed by the U.S. State Department in West Germany, followed by a two-year stint in the United States Navy. For a time, he taught ballroom dancing, the specialty of his parents, for the Arthur Murray Company. Then, at the age of 27, he tried acting. He was spotted in a production of Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms and given a guest-starring role on the classic 1950s police series Dragnet, starring Jack Webb.

Acting rolesEdit

 
Kevin Hagen in "Little House on the Prairie"

Hagen began to work steadily in television and film. His first regular role on a series was in 1958 in the CBS Western Yancy Derringer, starring Jock Mahoney in the title role. Hagen played John Colton, the city administrator of New Orleans, around 1868. At the beginning of each episode, Colton asks Derringer to halt some threat facing the city; at the end of each segment, he arrests Derringer for breaking the law to solve the crisis.

On April 29, 1962, Hagen was cast as the lead guest star in another Western series, in the episode "Cort" of Lawman with John Russell and Peter Brown. In the story line, Cort Evers, who is much younger than he appears, seeks revenge against his brother Mitch (Harry Carey, Jr.), whom he mistakenly blames for betraying six Union Army prisoners from their hometown during the American Civil War. Mitch is compelled to confront Cort in a shootout, during which he explains that Cort himself, under the influence of a fever, had betrayed the prisoners. Cort faints to the ground as he remembers the startling truth of the betrayal.[3]

Hagen guest-starred seven times on Gunsmoke, six times on The Big Valley, five times each on Bonanza, Laramie, and Have Gun - Will Travel, four appearances on Mannix and The Time Tunnel, and three appearances on Perry Mason, the first in 1958 in "The Case of the Sardonic Sargeant", and two of them in 1965, as murderer Jacob Leonard in "The Case of the Gambling Lady" and Samuel Carleton in "The Case of the Fugitive Fraulein". He also appeared as the ever-threatening Inspector Dobbs Kobick in nine episodes of Land of the Giants from 1968-70.

Other appearances included Bat Masterson, Riverboat, Wagon Train, Outlaws, Straightaway, GE True, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Twilight Zone, in the episodes "Elegy", and "You Drive", Daniel Boone, Blue Light, Mission: Impossible, Rawhide, 77 Sunset Strip, M*A*S*H, The Rifleman, Lancer, The Virginian, The Guns of Will Sonnett, The Cowboys, Lost in Space (as the alien in the episode "His Majesty Smith"), The Silent Force, Sara, Quincy, M.E., Simon and Simon, and Knots Landing.

Hagen considered his big break to be the role of a Confederate renegade who kills James Stewart's son and daughter-in-law in the 1965 film Shenandoah. His most famous role was one of his most pleasant, as kindly Doc Baker on Michael Landon's Little House on the Prairie. He played the part of Doc Baker from 1974 to 1983, as well as in a one-man show, A Playful Dose of Prairie Wisdom.

Personal lifeEdit

In 1992, he moved to Grants Pass in southwestern Oregon and continued his acting career writing and producing commercials for local bank chain, Valley Of The Rogue, acting in his Doc Baker character. He also sang and performed in concerts, dinner theaters, and on stage in Medford, Ashland, and Grants Pass, including the one-man show A PLAYFUL DOSE OF PRAIRIE WISDOM. [2][4] In 2004, he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

Hagen was married to actress Susanne Cramer until her death in 1969.

Hagen died on July 9, 2005, at his home in Grants Pass.[2][5] At the time of his death, Hagen was married to Jan, his fourth wife, whom he met in 1993, and had a son, Kristopher.[2]

FilmographyEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1958 The Light in the Forest Fiddler Uncredited
1958 Gunsmoke in Tucson Clem Haney
1959 Pork Chop Hill Cpl. Kissell
1962 Rider on a Dead Horse Jake Fry
1963 The Man from Galveston John Dillard
1964 Rio Conchos Blondebeard
1965 Shenandoah Mule - Rebel Deserter
1967 The Ride to Hangman's Tree Prisoner Uncredited
1967 The Last Challenge Frank Garrison
1969 The Learning Tree Doc Tim Cravens
1973 Gentle Savage Ken Shaeffer
1980 The Hunter Poker Player #2
1986 Power Cop
1990 The Ambulance Cop at Stables (final film role)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Hayward, Anthony (July 28, 2005). "Kevin Hagen: Kindly Doc Baker in 'Little House on the Prairie'". The Independent. London, UK. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Doc Baker on 'Little House' dies at 77". USA Today. Associated Press. July 11, 2005. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
  3. ^ ""Cort" (April 29, 1962)". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  4. ^ "Little House Star Kevin Hagen Dies at 77". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. July 12, 2005. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
  5. ^ Times Staff and Wire Reports (July 13, 2005). "Kevin Hagen, 77; Doc Baker in 'Little House on the Prairie'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 12, 2015.

External linksEdit