'Daktari' regular also directed films

Ross Hagen, a regular on the 1960s TV adventure series “Daktari” who went on to write, direct and produce some low-budget pics, died of prostate cancer May 7 in Brentwood, Calif. He was 72.

The actor guested on TV Westerns such as “The Big Valley” and “The Virginian” during the mid-’60s while also appearing on the bigscreen in the Elvis Presley film “Speedway” and low-budget biker pics such as “The Mini-Skirt Mob” and “The Hellcats.”

He joined the cast of CBS’ “Daktari,” starring Marshall Thompson as an American running an animal study center in Africa, in 1968. He appeared in 12 episodes as Bart Jason, a hunter who had become a photographic safari guide.

Hagen’s credits as a writer and director include “Time Wars” and “The Media Madman.” He produced films including “Five the Hard Way,” “Pushing Up Daisies,” “Wonder Women” and “Bad Charleston Charlie.”

In 2005 he wrote, helmed and appeared in the mystery film “Murder on the Yellow Brick Road,” and he most recently did voicework for the 2010 videogame “Red Dead Redemption.”

He is survived by his partner, Lee Srednick, a son and a daughter.

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