Buddy Ebsen


Actor
Buddy Ebsen

About

Also Known As
Christian Rudolph Ebsen Jr.
Birth Place
Belleville, Illinois, USA
Born
April 02, 1908
Died
July 06, 2003
Cause of Death
Natural Causes

Biography

Buddy Ebsen was a talented hoofer who performed an amazing rope-like dance number on stage with his sister Vilma. With the encouragement of his father, who operated a dance studio, he was partnered with his sister as a youngster. Not unlike Fred and Adele Astaire, the Ebsens toured in vaudeville and hit Broadway in the 1920s. The duo danced in "Whoopee" and in one of the last editions of...

Family & Companions

Ruth Cambridge
Wife
Married in 1936; divorced c. 1943; mother of Ebsen's two eldest daughters.
Nancy Wolcott
Wife
Actor. Married in 1944; divorced in 1983.
Dorothy Knott
Wife
Born c. 1940; married in 1985.

Bibliography

"Kelly's Quest"
Buddy Ebsen, 1stBooks Library (2000)
"The Other Side of Oz"
Buddy Ebsen with Stephen Cox, Donovan Publishing Co (1995)

Notes

When Nancy Kulp, who had portrayed Miss Hathaway in "The Beverly Hillbillies," ran for a congressional seat in Pennsylvania in 1984, Ebsen made TV commercials in favor of her Republican opponent. She lost the election.

There is an official website devoted to the actor at www.buddyebsen.com

Biography

Buddy Ebsen was a talented hoofer who performed an amazing rope-like dance number on stage with his sister Vilma. With the encouragement of his father, who operated a dance studio, he was partnered with his sister as a youngster. Not unlike Fred and Adele Astaire, the Ebsens toured in vaudeville and hit Broadway in the 1920s. The duo danced in "Whoopee" and in one of the last editions of the "Ziegfeld Follies" (1934). Hollywood beckoned and Buddy and Vilma were seen in "Broadway Melody of 1936" (1935) before Vilma retired from show business. Although an MGM contract player, Ebsen was loaned to Fox for "Captain January" (1936), in which he was a ship's hand who danced with Shirley Temple--de rigeur for a screen hoofer of the period. In 1938, MGM producer Mervyn LeRoy cast Ebsen as The Tin Man in the film version of "The Wizard of Oz," set to be released in 1939. Ebsen filmed several sequences before landing in the hospital after the metallic dust from the character's make-up had clogged his lungs. Jack Haley replaced him in the film and Ebsen soon left MGM. He went to RKO for such pictures as "Parachute Battalion" (1941) and "Sing Your Worries Away" (1942), before moving to Republic, where he was then cast in Westerns (like "Utah Wagon Train" 1951), often as the amusing musical sidekick. Ebsen continued to make film appearances throughout the 1950s and 1960s. In 1968, he made his final screen appearance (to that date) in a leading role in Disney's "The One and Only Genuine Original Family Band." By then, Ebsen had established a presence on television. When ABC's "Disneyland" program decided to film ongoing installments of a "Davy Crockett" series, Ebsen was chosen as George Russell, Fess Parker's sidekick, a role he reprised for two films in the mid-1950s. Later, he was Huck Marriner in "Northwest Passage" (NBC, 1958-59). Ebsen was going to retire to his Orange County home in the early 1960s, when producer Paul Henning offered him the lead role in a CBS situation comedy. The premise: a backwoods hick discovers oil, becomes a millionaire, and moves his family to the most chic part of California where his kin become "fish out of water" amongst the more "sophisticated" Angelenos. "The Beverly Hillbillies" (CBS, 1962-71) was considered as low-brow as TV could get by the critics, but the audience kept it on the air. Ebsen seemed to be indelibly linked with Jed Clampett, the family patriarch. After the series ended, he donned a suit, kept the homespun flavor and became private detective "Barnaby Jones" (CBS, 1973-80), who would noodle and drive suspicious parties crazy until they practically begged to tell the truth. Ebsen decided to give series TV one last while whirl in 1984, when he joined the cast of the ABC series "Matt Houston." As Roy Houston, uncle to the title character, he played a detective who had come out of retirement and was raring to do things his way. While Ebsen appeared in the occasional TV movie, like the "Hillbillies" 1981 reunion and "Working Trash" (Fox, 1990), he was more or less retired when he appeared in the cameo role of Barnaby Jones in Penelope Spheeris' big screen version of "The Beverly Hillbillies" (1993). His autobiography, "The Other Side of Oz" was published in 1995, and in 2001, at the age of 93, he became a novelist, publishing a romance titled "Kelly's Quest" that became a best-seller.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

That's Entertainment! III (1994)
The Beverly Hillbillies (1993)
Working Trash (1990)
Stone Fox (1987)
Grampa
Return of the Beverly Hillbillies (1981)
Fire on the Mountain (1981)
The Paradise Connection (1979)
Stuart Douglas
Leave Yesterday Behind (1978)
Smash Up on Interstate 5 (1976)
The Horror at 37,000 Feet (1973)
The President's Plane Is Missing (1973)
Tom Sawyer (1973)
The Daughters of Joshua Cabe (1972)
The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968)
Calvin Bower
Mail Order Bride (1964)
Will Lane
The Interns (1962)
Dr. Sidney Wohl
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
Doc Golightly
Fury River (1961)
Frontier Rangers (1959)
Mission Of Danger (1959)
Between Heaven and Hell (1956)
Willie Crawford
Attack (1956)
Sgt. Tolliver
Davy Crockett and the River Pirates (1956)
George Russell
Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier (1955)
Night People (1954)
Sgt. Eddie McColloch
Red Garters (1954)
Ginger Pete
Silver City Bonanza (1951)
Gabriel Horne
Rodeo King and the Senorita (1951)
Muscles Benton
Thunder in God's Country (1951)
Happy Hooper
Utah Wagon Train (1951)
Snooper Trent
Under Mexicali Stars (1950)
Homer Oglethorpe
Sing Your Worries Away (1942)
Tommy Jones
They Met in Argentina (1941)
Duke Ferrel
Parachute Battalion (1941)
Jeff Hollis
Four Girls in White (1939)
Express
The Kid from Texas (1939)
Snifty
Yellow Jack (1938)
"Jellybeans"
My Lucky Star (1938)
Buddy
The Girl of the Golden West (1938)
"Alabama"
Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937)
Peter Trot
Born to Dance (1936)
"Mush" Tracy
Banjo on My Knee (1936)
Buddy
Captain January (1936)
Paul Roberts
Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935)
Ted [Burke]

Producer (Feature Film)

The Paradise Connection (1979)
Producer

Music (Feature Film)

Behave Yourself! (1951)
Composer

Cast (Special)

Walt: The Man Behind the Myth (2001)
Memories of Oz (2001)
The Legend of the Beverly Hillbillies (1993)
The Time of Their Lives (1987)
Buddy Tucker
CBS: On the Air (1978)
The Tiny Tree (1975)
Voice
The American Film Institute Salute to John Ford (1973)
Performer
Marineland Carnival (1964)
Jed Clampett

Cast (Short)

Hollywood Hobbies (1939)
Himself
Houston Post Contest Winners Arrive in Los Angeles (1939)
Himself

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

The Critical List (1978)
Charles Sprague
The Bastard (1978)

Life Events

1928

Made stage debut as a dancer in "Whoopee"

1932

Featured in Broadway production of "Flying Colors"

1934

Appeared in "Ziegfeld Follies"

1935

Film debut, "Broadway Melody of 1936"

1936

Danced with Shirley Temple in "Captain January"

1938

Lost role of Tin Man in "The Wizard of Oz" because he was allergic to metallic dust used as make-up

1952

TV debut, "Gruen Guild Playhouse"

1954

TV series debut as George Russell in "Disneyland: The Adventures of Davy Crockett"

1961

Portrayed Audrey Hepburn's husband in "Breakfast at Tiffany's"

1981

Reprised Jed Clampett in TV-movie

1984

Campaigned against former co-star Nancy Kulp in her bid for a Pennsylvania congressional seat

1993

Reprised Barnaby Jones in "The Beverly Hillbillies" feature film

1995

Published autobiography, "The Other Side of Oz"

1998

Underwent heart surgery to replace an aortic valve

Photo Collections

Born to Dance - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are some photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of Born to Dance (1936), starring Eleanor Powell.
Born to Dance - Movie Posters
Here are a few original-release movie posters from Born to Dance (1936) starring Eleanor Powell and James Stewart.

Videos

Movie Clip

One And Only Original Genuine Family Band, The (1968) - Let's Put It Over With Grover The big number composed by Grandpa (Walter Brennan) for the 1888 re-nomination of President Grover Cleveland, performed by Buddy Ebsen, Janet Blair, Lesley-Ann Warren, Kurt Russell et al, composed by Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman, in Disney’s The One And Only, Genuine, Original Family Band, 1968.
Broadway Melody Of 1936 (1935) - Sing Before Breakfast The second piece of maybe the best bit in the movie, hoofers and new neighbors Ted and Sally (Buddy and sister Vilma Ebsen) with Broadway hopeful Irene (Eleanor Powell), reprising the song by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed, in MGM's Broadway Melody Of 1936, 1935.
Davy Crockett And The River Pirates (1956) - We're In Dead Man's Shoot! Still on the Ohio and racing keel-boats to New Orleans, Fink (Jeff York) and his crew play a trick on Cap’n Cobb (Clem Bevans) and his inexperienced crew led by Davy (Fess Parker) and Georgie (Buddy Ebsen), a big action scene in Walt Disney’s Davy Crockett And The River Pirates, 1956.
Davy Crockett And The River Pirates (1956) - I'll Shoot It Off My Own Hat! Racing to New Orleans and stalling for time while they get a new rudder after Fink (Jeff York) and his crew sabotaged theirs, Davy (Fess Parker) and Georgie (Buddy Ebsen) coax their rival into trying to one-up a fancy shooting trick, in an Ohio River tavern, in Walt Disney’s Davy Crockett And The River Pirates, 1956.
Davy Crockett And The River Pirates (1956) - King Of The River Loaded with pelts after a long hunting season, Davy (Fess Parker) and Georgie (Buddy Ebsen) reach the Ohio and meet boisterous Mike Fink (Jeff York), who makes a lousy offer, and Cap’n Cobb (Clem Bevans) who has an alternative, early in Walt Disney’s Davy Crockett And The River Pirates, 1956.
Breakfast At Tiffany's (1961) - Opening Credits Opening credit sequence with Henry Mancini's music, with Audrey Hepburn not incidentally executing the act described in the title, from Blake Edwards' 1961 hit Breakfast At Tiffany's, also starring George Peppard, from the Truman Capote novella.
Houston Post Contest Winners - (A Short Subject) In late 1938, contest winners tour MGM studios and visit the set of The Wizard Of Oz including Buddy Ebsen, then cast as the Tin Man.
Under Mexicali Stars (1950) - Allen, Rex Allen Opening scenes introducing Homer (Buddy Ebsen), and star Rex Allen, their lawman identities not quite revealed, plus Dorothy Patrick as "Mad," Percy Helton as her father, and various villains, in Under Mexicali Stars, 1950.
Sing Your Worries Away - My Uncle Nancy Daffy songwriter Chow (Bert Lahr) visits hat-check girl Bebe (Patsy Kelly), boss Chesty (Morgan Conway) and his cousin the cigarette girl Carol (Dorothy Lovett) at the night club in Sing Your Worries Away, 1942.
Sing Your Worries Away - Melange De Bouef Kind-of psychic Tommy (Buddy Ebsen) has led the cops to a swanky restaurant where he meets staffers Bebe (Patsy Kelly) and Carol (Dorothy Lovett), early in RKO's Sing Your Worries Away, 1942.
Interns, The (1962) - Orthodox Heathen Shortly before he became "Jed Clampett," Buddy Ebsen did this nice turn as the senior doctor counseling young Dr. Otis (Cliff Robertson), object of a complaint, in The Interns, 1962.
Attack - Court Martial Talk! Lt. Costa (Jack Palance) takes orders from Capt. Cooney (Eddie Albert) then fires back in director Robert Aldrich's celebrated World War II film Attack, 1956.

Trailer

Night People - (Original Trailer) Communists kidnap a U.S. officer (Gregory Peck) in cold war Berlin in Night People (1954).
Fury River - (Original Trailer) Major Robert Rogers searches for the northwest passage through the U.S. during the French and Indian War in Fury River (1959).
Breakfast at Tiffany's - (Original Trailer) Audrey Hepburn is Truman Capote's Holly Golightly, the New York sophisticate who spends Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961).
Broadway Melody of 1936 - (Original Trailer) A Broadway columnist tries to use an innocent dancer to frame a producer in Broadway Melody of 1936 starring Jack Benny & Eleanor Powell.
Born to Dance - (Original Trailer) Eleanor Powell and James Stewart star in Cole Porter's first musical written for a motion picture, Born To Dance (1936).
Broadway Melody of 1938 - (Original Trailer) Backstage problems jeopardize a Broadway musical in Broadway Melody of 1938 starring Eleanor Powell, George Murphy, and Judy Garland.
Girl Of The Golden West, The - (Original Trailer) Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy star in the movie version of the Sigmund Romberg-Gus Kahn musical The Girl Of The Golden West (1938).
Yellow Jack - (Original Trailer) A Marine (Robert Montgomery) in turn-of-the-century Cuba risks his life in the fight to cure yellow fever.
Kid From Texas, The - (Original Trailer) A playboy turns cowboy and sets up a polo match with an Indian tribe in The Kid From Texas (1939) starring Dennis O'Keefe.
Mission of Danger - (Original Trailer) A military explorer tangles with a French spy and a British officer while searching for the northwest passage in Mission of Danger (1960).

Family

Christian Rudolph Ebsen
Father
Operated a dance studio.
Frances Ebsen
Mother
Helga Ebsen
Sister
Norma Ebsen
Sister
Vilma Ebsen
Sister
Dancer, singer, actor. Performed with her brother onstage and appeared with him in "Broadway Melody of 1936" (1935); retired shortly thereafter.
Leslie Ebsen
Sister
Alix Ebsen
Daughter
Mother, Ruth Cambridge.
Libby Ebsen
Daughter
Mother, Ruth Cambridge.
Susannah Ebsen
Daughter
Mother, Nancy Wollcott.
Cathy Ebsen
Daughter
Born c. 1950; mother Nancy Wolcott.
Bonnie Ebsen
Daughter
Actor. Mother, Nancy Wollcott.
Dustin Ebsen
Son
Mother, Nancy Wollcott.
Kirsten Ebsen
Daughter
Singer. Born c. 1958; mother, Nancy Wolcott; recorded first album "Red" (1993).

Companions

Ruth Cambridge
Wife
Married in 1936; divorced c. 1943; mother of Ebsen's two eldest daughters.
Nancy Wolcott
Wife
Actor. Married in 1944; divorced in 1983.
Dorothy Knott
Wife
Born c. 1940; married in 1985.

Bibliography

"Kelly's Quest"
Buddy Ebsen, 1stBooks Library (2000)
"The Other Side of Oz"
Buddy Ebsen with Stephen Cox, Donovan Publishing Co (1995)

Notes

When Nancy Kulp, who had portrayed Miss Hathaway in "The Beverly Hillbillies," ran for a congressional seat in Pennsylvania in 1984, Ebsen made TV commercials in favor of her Republican opponent. She lost the election.

There is an official website devoted to the actor at www.buddyebsen.com