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July 12, 2005

Little House Star Kevin Hagen Dies at 77

Kevin Hagen

Grants Pass, OR –
Best known as Little House on the Prarie's Dr. Hiram Baker, veteran actor Kevin Hagen passed away this weekend at his home in Grants Pass, Oregon. Hagen lost a year-long battle with cancer, according to his family. He was 77.

Hagen landed his first role in Disney's 1958 film The Light in the Forest. His 1965 appearance in Shenandoah, portraying a Confederate deserter who murders the son of a Virginia farmer (played by James Stewart), kicked off a string of Westerns featuring Hagen as the bad guy. 

He appeared on a number of series, such as Gunsmoke, Rawhide, Bonanza, Perry Mason and Mission: Impossible. Hagen landed his first series regular role on Yancy Derringer, and is widely and warmly remembered as "Doc Baker" from Little House on the Prairie, which ran from 1974 to 1983.

The Chicago-born U.S. Navy veteran reportedly did not start acting until he was 27 years old.  He came to Hollywood with a degree in international relations from the University of Southern California under his belt, as well as years working with the U.S. State Department in Germany. He found himself drawn to acting a year into law school at UCLA, and dropped out to give it a whirl.

Hagen moved to Grants Pass, Oregon, in 1992, where continued acting, writing and eventually met his fourth wife, Jan. He is survived by his wife and son, Kristopher.

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