Buddy Ebsen Biography

Christian Rudolph Ebsen, 2 April 1908, Belleville, Illinois, USA, d. 6 July 2003, Torrance, California, USA. Ebsen trained as a dancer with his father, then formed a double act with his sister, Vilma. He appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies but from the mid-30s was mainly in films, often dancing. He was in Broadway Melody Of 1936 (1935), Captain January (1936, singing ‘At The Codfish Ball’), Born To Dance and Banjo On My Knee (both 1936), Broadway Melody Of 1938 (1937), The Girl Of The Golden West and My Lucky Star (both 1938). In 1939 Ebsen was cast as The Tin Man in The Wizard Of Oz. Allergic to the metallic paint used in the make-up, he abandoned the role, which was taken by Jack Haley, although Ebsen sings, uncredited, ‘We’re Off To See The Wizard’. In the 40s and 50s Ebsen made They Met In Argentina (1941), Sing Your Worries Away (1942), Under Mexicali Stars (1950), Thunder In God’s Country (1951), Red Garters and Davy Crockett, King Of The Wild Frontier (both 1954), and Attack (1956). He also composed the title song for 1951’s, Behave Yourself!

In the 60s Ebsen made Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961), The Interns (1962), Mail Order Bride (1964) and The One And Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968). He appeared on television in the series Climax! (1957), Maverick and Bonanza (both 1959), Rawhide, Bronco and Gunsmoke (all 1960), 77 Sunset Strip, The Twilight Zone, Gunslinger, Have Gun - Will Travel and Bus Stop (all 1961), Tales Of Wells Fargo (1962), Hawaii Five-O (1971), Alias Smith And Jones (1972), Burke’s Law (1994), and the situation comedy King Of The Hill (1999). Most significant were his leading roles in Northwest Passage (1958), The Beverly Hillbillies (1962, as Jed Clampett), Barnaby Jones (1973) and Matt Houston (1982). He also appeared in television films including The Andersonville Trial (1970), The Daughters Of Joshua Cabe (1972), Tom Sawyer (1973), Leave Yesterday Behind (1978), The Return Of The Beverly Hillbillies (1981), Stone Fox (1987), and Working Tra$h (1990). He produced the 1979 television film The Paradise Connection. Ebsen’s last big-screen role combined the two television series for which he was famous, playing Barnaby Jones in The Beverly Hillbillies (1993).

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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