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Buddy Ebsen – MovieActors.com

_buddy-ebsen-top-pic Ebsen in THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES.

About Buddy Ebsen (1908 – 2003)

Buddy Ebsen was born on April 2, 1908, in Belleville, Illinois. On July 6, 2003, Buddy Ebsen passed away in Torrance, California, because of complications from pneumonia.

In a vaudeville act with his sister Vilma, Buddy went to Hollywood, in 1935. Buddy and Vilma were signed for the first of MGM's Eleanor Powell movies, BROADWAY MELODY OF 1936.

Buddy Ebsen was famously offered the role of the scarecrow in THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939). Ebsen agreed to change roles with Ray Bolger, who was cast as the Tin Woodsman. Ebsen then became ill from the tin make-up. He was unable to play the role, so the role went to Jack Haley.

THE WIZARD OF OZ footage of Ebsen as the Tin Man still exists. It was included as an extra with the U.S. 50th anniversary video release of THE WIZARD OF OZ. In one chorus of "We're Off to See the Wizard", in THE WIZARD OF OZ, the soundtrack album retains Ebsen's original vocals as the Tin Man. This was recorded before he was forced to leave the production due to health problems.

Because Ebsen had rejected the contract they offered him, his film career went into eclipse for nearly 20 years, until Walt Disney hired him to play Georgie Russel, Davy Crockett's sidekick, in DAVY CROCKETT – KING OF THE WILD FRONTIER (1954). This opportunity with Disney Studios turned into a major source of work for Ebsen. To the 1950s generation, Buddy Ebsen was known as Fess Parker's sidekick in Disney's DAVY CROCKETT shows.

This relationship started in the 1930s, when Disney animators filmed Buddy Ebsen dancing in front of a grid, to "choreograph" Mickey Mouse's dance steps in the SILLY SYMPHONY cartoons.

TV fans know Buddy Ebsen as hillbilly millionaire Jed Clampett on the sitcom THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES; (1962-71), and as the soft-spoken P.I. BARNABY JONES; (1973-80).

One of Buddy Ebsen's last roles was a gag cameo in THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES; (1993). In this version of THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES Jim Varney played Jed. Ebsen showed up as Barnaby Jones.

Buddy wrote a half dozen plays. Five of them were produced. They include a farce called HONEST JOHN, in 1948, and CHAMPAGNE GENERAL, in 1973; a Civil War story.

On June 21, 1996, Buddy Ebsen was inducted into the DeMolay Hall of Fame.

Besides acting and dancing, Buddy Ebsen was a part-time songwriter, and became a published author of a romantic novel at the age of 93, entitled KELLY'S QUEST.

Buddy Ebsen's notable credits include...

THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES (1993)
MAIL ORDER BRIDE (1964)
BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S (1961)
BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL (1956)
SING YOUR WORRIES AWAY (1942)
THE KID FROM TEXAS (1939)
MY KUCKY STAR (1938)
BANJO ON MY KNEE (1936)
CAPTAIN JANUARY (1936)
BROADWAY MELODY OF 1936 (1935)


01_utah-wagon-train-pic1-with-rex-allen 00_utah-wagon-train-pic2-with-rex-allen
Buddy Ebsen and Rex Allen in Utah Wagon Train (1951).
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Buddy Ebsen, Rex Allen and Mary Ellen Kay
in Thunder in God's Country (1951).
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Ebsen, Rex Allen, and Mary Ellen Kay
in Silver City Bonanza (1951).
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Ebsen, Rex Allen, and Mary Ellen Kay
in Rodeo King and the Señorita (1951).
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Buddy Ebsen in Hawaii Five-O (1971).
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With Gary Lockwood and Tuesday Weld in Bus Stop (1961).
08_broadway-melody-of-1938-pic1-with-eleanor-powell-george-murphy 07_broadway-melody-of-1938-pic2-with-judy-garland
In Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937)... top picture with Eleanor Powell and George Murphy... bottom picture with Judy Garland.
11_born-to-dance-pic1 10_born-to-dance-pic2 09_born-to-dance-pic3-with-jane-powell-virginia-bruce-raymond-walburn
In Born to Dance (1936)... bottom picture
with Jane Powell, Virginia Bruce, and Raymond Walburn.
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Ebsen in his most famous role, as folksy patriarch Jed Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies (1962-71)... third picture with Ron Howard, fourth picture with Raymond Bailey and Nancy Kulp... fifth picture with Narda Onyx... bottom picture with Donna Douglas.
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As Barnaby Jones in Barnaby Jones (1973-80).
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Buddy Ebsen in studio screen tests for the Tin Man role
in The Wizard of Oz, which he had to give up
because of his bad allergic reaction to costume makeup.