Tom Lester Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trivia (4)  | Personal Quotes (10)

Overview (4)

Born in Laurel, Mississippi, USA
Died in Nashville, Tennessee, USA  (complications from Parkinson's Disease)
Birth NameThomas William Lester
Height 6' 4" (1.93 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Born in Jackson, Mississippi, Lester was brought up on his grandfather's farm, shucking corn, fishing, hunting, and picking cotton. He graduated from the University of Mississippi, majoring in Chemistry. He taught science and biology at a school in Purcell, Oklahoma, before moving to California. He divided his time between Southern California and Laurel, Mississippi. He spoke to youth groups and at religious gatherings about his faith, and shared the stage three times with Billy Graham. Lester died in 2020, aged 81. He was survived by his wife, his brother, two great-nieces, one great-great niece, and one great-great-nephew.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: John Jameson

Spouse (1)

Kaylie (20 July 2007 - 20 April 2020) ( his death)

Trivia (4)

Lester played the same character ("Eb Dawson") on three different series: The Beverly Hillbillies (1962), Petticoat Junction (1963), and Green Acres (1965).
Lester was a motivational speaker well into the 21st-century, maintaining an office and personal effects at his parents' home in Laurel, Mississippi. He also owned a 250-acre timber farm in nearby Vossburg in the same county. In 1997, he was named Mississippi's Wildlife Farmer of the Year.
Lester's acting mentor and series' lead, Eddie Albert, died on May 26, 2005, at age 99. However, Lester was the only credited surviving actor not to attend Albert's funeral.
Lester, along with Eddie Albert, Frank Cady, Mary Grace Canfield and Sid Melton, attended the funeral of Eva Gabor, when the actress passed away in 1995.

Personal Quotes (10)

I have a farm and I raise vegetables. I speak a good bit across the country. I have some investments. I stay busy.
[after turning down a beer commercial, resulting in his agent dropping him] I couldn't go into a church and share my faith and be in a movie downtown that people in the church wouldn't see because of the subject matter or language.
[about being told in Hollywood about his looks] They said, "You are too tall, too skinny, too ugly, you have a Southern accent and you don't look like Rock Hudson".
If, with God's help, I wasn't living the Christian life, then me speaking across the country wouldn't have the effect that it has.
[How he found his faith and values after Green Acres (1965)] I had all the fun of being on "Green Acres" and laughing every day and having a great time. I had all the fun of traveling across the country and meeting wonderful people in churches. God gets all the credit, and I get all the fun. What a great deal!
[about moving to Los Angeles to become an actor] God never took the time to make a nobody. People go through life wishing they had tried to do something, but they're afraid to try because they're afraid they'll fail. The failure is in not trying.
[about his audition for the Eb Dawson role on Green Acres (1965) opposite Eddie Albert] About a month went by, and in the middle of June I got a call on Saturday morning from Mrs. Henning [wife of producer Paul Henning]. She said, "Tom, Mr. Henning wants you to go try out for "Eb". Now they want an older man, but he thinks it will be good experience for you". So I went over there and met with the producers, and they said, "We want you to do a screen test on Monday with Eddie Albert", who played the part of 'Mr. Douglas. I did the screen test with Eddie, and on Thursday they called and said that I had the job and that I started work the next week. They tested over 400 guys for the part, and all of them had more experience than me. I ended up getting the part--of course, I was "Eb" in real life--and I was on the show for six years.
[When asked if he kept in touch with Green Acres (1965) castmate Eddie Albert] Oh, yeah! We really stayed in touch a lot, the last years of his life [Albert died at age 99]. It was real funny, I mean, sad, but such a great guy, funny, little things happen because of that--the last couple years of his life, he was beginning to start a little bit of that, little things he would ever forget, and that sorta thing. Alvy [Alvy Moore, who played Hank Kimball on "Green Acres"] used to tell a funny story about Eddie. He said that "Eddie had that organic garden". And his whole front yard and he lived up in Pacific Palisades, and the whole front yard of garden, an organic garden in the backyard is where everybody else got grass. He said, "One day, Eddie came out to pick some of his organic vegetables and he looked over there, and looked at a guy that was yellow, his next door neighbor, and it just disturbed him so much". So we went over and said, "Oh, my goodness, let me help you". So we began to feed him vegetables and he went, got him a vitamin regimen, to put him on a certain amount of vitamins, and everyday he'd take them to his next-door neighbor, all these vitamins and minerals and all these organic vegetables and everything. And this went on for about six months, and he realized the guy was Chinese.
[on his on-and-off-screen chemistry with Eddie Albert] He was never angry, he was just frustrated all the time with us, and he never finished the sentence, and then, they would continue their dialogue, and said, "What the?", "Oh, for the . . . !".
[Of Eddie Albert] I did my screen test with Eddie Albert; and he was just reading it. He didn't have the lines memorized, and I just was . . . and I had mine memorized and I worked the whole weekend [with acting coach Lurene Tuttle].

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