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Max Baer Jr. Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (3)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (25)  | Personal Quotes (8)

Overview (3)

Born in Oakland, California, USA
Birth NameMax Adelbert Baer Jr.
Height 6' 4" (1.93 m)

Mini Bio (1)

The son of former heavyweight boxing champion Max Baer, Max Baer Jr. is a classic (except probably to him) example of Hollywood typecasting. Known around the world as "Jethro Bodine" in the smash TV series The Beverly Hillbillies (1962), Baer did not find work as an actor in Hollywood for three years after the Hillbillies went off the air. Baer finally had to put himself to work as an actor in his movie Macon County Line (1974), which he also wrote and produced with a friend. Although it didn't let him escape his Jethro character, he did earn more than $35 million dollars in box office and (later) rental receipts. This after an initial investment of just over $100,000. Not bad for a boy with a "sixth grade education!"

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ken Severson

Family (3)

Spouse Joanne Kathleen Hill (30 July 1966 - 1971)  (divorced)
Parents Sullivan, Mary Ellen
Max Baer
Relatives Buddy Baer (aunt or uncle)

Trade Mark (1)

Role of Jethro Bodine on "The Beverly Hillbillies" (1962)

Trivia (25)

Son of boxer Max Baer.
Licensed the "Beverly Hillbillies" name and characters from CBS in order to establish a Casino called "Jethro's". A picture of Granny hangs over every bed with the caption: "Don't you touch her boy!"
He tried to shed the public's "hillbilly" perception of him by starring as good-guy crime fighter Max Colepepper in the unsold pilot, "The Asphalt Cowboy," in the early 70s.
Nephew of Buddy Baer.
Uncle of Amy Lynn Baxter.
Earned a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Santa Clara University (minored in philosophy).
Auditioned for Jethro only after driving his roommate to the audition for the same part.
Made a fortune producing low-budget films like Macon County Line (1974).
Took great issue with the unsympathetic portrayal of his father in the film Cinderella Man (2005), particularly his bragging over killing someone in the ring. Baer said his father was actually haunted by the incident and often cried about it.
One of Elvis Presley's Hollywood buddies during the 1960s. The two were often involved in impromptu football games among Elvis' friends and entourage.
Has said that he "would have had to sell door-to-door" if Macon County Line (1974) flopped.
Won his role as Jethro without having to speak a word. Baer's audition consisted of chasing a bird around the set, and he made enough of gestures and facial expressions to impress the producers. He admitted later that he had never tried speaking in a hillbilly accent, and he used the time between his audition and the first day's filming to learn one thoroughly.
His acting mentor was the late Buddy Ebsen.
Best known by the public for his role as Jethro Bodine on The Beverly Hillbillies (1962).
With the death of Donna Douglas on January 1, 2015, he is the last surviving star of The Beverly Hillbillies (1962).
Knew Buddy Ebsen through his parents, as an adolescent.
Revealed that he had a wonderful relationship with Buddy Ebsen on The Beverly Hillbillies (1962).
Surrogate nephew of Buddy Ebsen.
He and Donna Douglas had both visited Buddy Ebsen, in the hospital, just days before his death.
His acting mentor and family friend Buddy Ebsen, passed away, on July 6, 2003, at age 95. (Buddy celebrated his 95th birthday on April 2, 2003, with friends and family, and several months later was admitted to the hospital, where he passed away).
Revealed that he had a wonderful working relationship with Buddy Ebsen on The Beverly Hillbillies (1962).
As an actor, he was highly influenced by Buddy Ebsen.
Actor/dancer Buddy Ebsen took him under his wing, since he was 24. He knew him since him growing up, and got a co-starring role opposite Ebsen in [The Beverly Hillbillies (1962)], as his dimwitted nephew. The friendship has lasted for 41 years, until Ebsen's own death in 2003.
As an unfamiliar actor, he was mentored into the business by legendary actor/dancer Buddy Ebsen. His first television exposure with Ebsen was a co-starring role opposite him in The Beverly Hillbillies (1962) series. Baer played Ebsen's nephew, Jethro Bodine, for each and every one of the shows, except 2 (272/274 episodes), for the entire run.
Before "The Beverly Hillbillies", the novice actor had great success at Warner Bros. appearing in multiple episodes (as different characters) in their popular formulaic detective series including "Surfside 6", "Hawaiian Eye", "77 Sunset Strip" and "The Roaring 20's". He also had similar success in Warner's four big western series, "Maverick", "Cheyenne", "Bronco" and "Sugarfoot".

Personal Quotes (8)

[on being called Jethro now] It's like somebody calling you a son of a bitch. If he's your friend, it's okay. If he's your enemy, it's not.
[on the death of co-star Donna Douglas] She was Elly May until the day she died. When I saw her for autograph signings or other gatherings, she always dressed the same with pink or blue and of course those signature pigtails.
[on his on- and off-screen chemistry with Buddy Ebsen, who played Jed Clampett]: Buddy was much of a regular gang as you can get. Buddy tried to teach me how to sail, I didn't learn much about sailing, but I learn a lot about drowning. I got knocked off the boat more than once and he was saying, 'Well, you do this and you do that,' and he says, 'Coming about!,' and I stood up, I was up and I said, 'What did you say, Buddy?' The boat hit me and it knocked me out of the ocean, I made him laugh all the time because I was so crazy. I mean, I was always pulling pranks and doing stuff on the set and everything.
[Who compared his relationship with Buddy Ebsen, his surrogate uncle, to his real-life father, Max Baer]: Buddy told me a funny story one time, where he was at Madison Square Garden (this was back in the 1930s). My dad was supposed to fight. Buddy was sitting there, waiting and down near ringside. All of a sudden, this guy comes in, and he sits down next to him, he's got a robe on it and everything. But my dad was just real easy, just like nothing was going on, just sitting there in his robe and his shorts and Buddy was very excited because of the fact that (A) My dad sat down there and (B) Years later, the coincidence that he would star in the series with his son.
[Of Buddy Ebsen]: Buddy was more of a surrogate father to me, because my dad had died in '59 and this was '62; and he (Buddy) kinda took over, the same age as my dad; both about the same time and he knew my dad pretty well. So, it was pretty easy for Buddy and I to become close. I would go down there and he would teach me to sail on his 36 ft. lapwards down in Balboa Island, where he had a house, and as a sailor, I was a very good anchor, because it was hard for me to ever had me on a boat. He said, 'When the boat comes about,' He said, 'You'll pull it on a lynch.' He said, 'You'll pull in quick, because if you don't, the sail will pull up with air and it'll be too hard to pull in.' And so, the first time we were out, he said, 'We're comin' about.' Stood up, 'What, bang, boom, hit me right in the ocean, and he was laughing, said, 'Well, you can forget about being a sailor, too.' But I used to go out and have dinner, like once a week to go out someplace he would take me like Paso Franks on Hollywood Blvd. to Cook's Pacific Dining Car. He had some little places he would take me to and sometimes in lunch, he would have a little dinner with George and George will cook for him in his dressing room and he would have lunch with him. We didn't have too much in the afternoon, because it was a 2 martini lunch; cause if he had to remember some lines, he'd have a 1 martini lunch and if he had to remember lines, it was 1, if he didn't have a lot of lines, in the afternoon, he may have 2, and that was pretty much it.
[Who talked about one of Buddy Ebsen's off-camera gags]: We play a lot of these flubs, all these screw-ups, we play all these fu*** ups, at the end, at a Christmas party, whenever there was a blooper for all of us; and one time, Buddy was in bed and he was supposed to be sick, but he had his clothes on. I knew he had his clothes on, so, Granny and Elly May came up and the ideal was for Granny and me to pull down his covers and say, 'See, he ain't sick, Granny,' and I pulled it down, and he got this thing, sticking out of his crotch about a foot long, 2 ft. long. Everybody laugh, except Donna. Donna said, 'That's nasty!' Everybody else was laughing, that was Buddy's and Irene's gag.
[As to why, like everybody else in Hollywood, his acting mentor [Buddy Ebsen] was the #1 star on television, after years of performing in Vaudeville]: What happened as Buddy used to say, he was starring on Broadway and he was at MGM, and he was going to be doing 'The Tin Man,' in The Wizard of Oz, but they put the metal paint on him, he was allergic to it and he wound up in the hospital and Jack Haley ended up playing the part, but then, he went to the Coast Guard and he came out and people weren't casting movies in those days and they didn't know who he was, cause he came from Vaudeville, he was a dancer. They didn't know he could act and he ended up in the mid 50s; when he did Davy Crockett, with Fess Parker and that brought him back to television and he did the movie called: Attack, with Jack Palance and Eddie Albert, and then, when he did Breakfast at Tiffany's, he played the husband of Audrey Hepburn; in the movie. It was a kind of a hilly, country guy; and he was the only one on the cast that didn't do anything. Paul Henning wanted Buddy Ebsen; as the father image, and Buddy almost didn't do it, because he didn't want to be a slapstick, he didn't want to do that. He was in his 50s and he didn't want to do it, he rather be the straight man and Granny and I were the slapstick.
[About [Buddy Ebsen] being a hard worker]: When you say 'work harder,' what do you mean? He was basically so easygoing that Buddy would go to sleep, waiting in the shots for them to roll, 1/2 the time, when we would be in the truck and I would be sitting, behind the wheel and he'd be the passenger and you'd get out of the truck to have your stand-ins come in and they liked the scene. Well, Buddy and I wouldn't even get out of the truck; we were just sitting in the truck, 1/2 the time, Buddy fell asleep and when they get ready to roll, I said, 'Buddy, they're ready,' and he just said, even before they said, 'Action!' He'd said, 'Drive on, boy!' He knew he could be too far off, because we were coming in or going out, one of the two, so, I just give them a nudge of my elbow and he just say, 'Drive on, boy!' That was funny! It was funny, because he'd be going to sleep anywhere.

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