Most classic TV fans remember Eddie Albert as a lawyer-turned-farmer on Green Acres. But what they might not know is that once the show ended, he went on to have a highly successful career on both film and stage.
Immediately after leaving Hooterville, Albert starred in a string of made-for-TV movies and took some guest roles on popular shows like Columbo, McCloud, and Here’s Lucy. But his first big career wasn’t on camera.
In 1973, he headed to Broadway, which he had done earlier in his life, to play in the musical No Hard Feelings. And the fanfare got him back into big-screen projects. Following his time on stage, Albert starred in The Longest Yard with Burt Reynolds and McQ with John Wayne.
And the same year he took his spot in No Hard Feelings, he also earned an Oscar nod for playing Mr. Corcoran in The Heartbreak Kid—which he actually filmed while playing in Green Acres.
Eddie Albert didn’t fully dive back into the small screen until 1975 when he starred as Frank MacBride in Switch. The series is a television continuation of the movie The Sting. And it shows Albert as a retired cop who pairs up to run a detective agency with a con man he’d arrested years prior. However, Albert wasn’t a fan of the writing. And he made that perfectly clear to audiences.
In 1977, the actor told Valley News that he actually offered to give the writers a raise out of his own pocket if it would improve the show. But they declined.
“I’m looking at more scripts now for next season and I see they simply are rewrites of the old ones. I don’t know what to do about it. I’m very angry about the whole thing,” he said.
‘Green Acres’ Star Eddie Albert was an Activist
Likely due to Albert’s discontent, The Switch shut down in 1978, and the actor once again went back to Broadway for You Can’t Take It With You and Parade of Stars Playing the Palace.
Then in the 1990s, Eddie Albert had the chance to head back to Hooterville for Return to Green Acres. And while staying busy with multiple film projects, he also found himself pulled into activism.
While the star had been involved in both environmental and social causes since the 70s, he began dedicating more time to the work. And the actor ended up starting the Eddie Albert World Trees Foundation.
He was also a national chairman for the Boy Scouts of America’s conservation program, a trustee of the National Recreation and Park Association, and on the advisory board of the U.S. Department of Energy. On top of all that, Albert was a consultant for the World Hunger Conference and an envoy for Meals for Millions. And he was a crusader against agricultural and industrial pollution.
Aside from his hectic but rewarding professional and activist life, Eddie Albert was also a man in love. In 1945, he married a Mexican-American actress and dancer Margo, and they remained together until she passed in 1985. Albert never married again
The couple had two children together, Edward and Maria. Edward died in 2006 from lung cancer. But towards the end of his life, he cared for his ailing father who had developed Alzheimer’s.
Eddie Albert died on May 26, 2006, from pneumonia. He was 99.