HomeAmerican EntertainmentTVClassic TV‘The Beverly Hillbillies’: Where is the Show’s One Surviving Star Max Baer Jr. Now?

‘The Beverly Hillbillies’: Where is the Show’s One Surviving Star Max Baer Jr. Now?

by Joe Rutland
(Photo Courtesy Getty Images)

The Beverly Hillbillies is one of the most loved classic TV shows ever and Max Baer Jr. is still around to tell stories from those days. Baer Jr. played Jethro Bodine in the 1960s series and would go on to have success as a movie director and businessman. Other cast members included Buddy Ebsen, Donna Douglas, Irene Ryan, and Raymond Bailey. So, what is Baer Jr. doing these days?

The actor is now retired from show business at 84 years old. The Beverly Hillbillies helped make him a household name and he was just in his 20s at the time. Baer Jr. did act in shows like Fantasy Island, Murder, She Wrote, and Matt Houston. His final acting credit did come in the Angela Lansbury drama on CBS in 1991. While the actor did succeed in the business, Baer Jr. had an inkling that the Jethro role just railroaded his full career.

Max Baer Jr. of ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ Would Go From TV Star to Movie Director

When he played Jethro, it happened to be at a time when CBS was enjoying success. The network embraced the top-ratted show about a family moving into a mansion from a poorer home. Baer Jr. would try and open a casino based on his character years later. The actor would also find his movie directing chops in the film Macon County Line. We get more from MSN.com.

Yes, he is the last cast member from the show to still be alive. But he’s not the only person who found success after the show ended. Ebsen would play private investigator Barnaby Jones in a 1970s series of the same name. Sadly, Ryan would die just after The Beverly Hillbillies ended its run on CBS. Douglas herself would have some success in a few acting roles. Her life, though, would veer toward real estate work and even some religious-related singing.

Another CBS Star Plays Big Role In Helping Him Nail Jethro’s Accent

As for some show details, who inspired Baer Jr. to have his accent as Jethro? Turns out it was another CBS star named Andy Griffith. According to a story he shared with Fore Magazine, Baer Jr. happened to put his audition for the show on hold. Why? So he could tune in and listen to records from not only Griffith but Jonathan Winters. They helped him get the Jethro accent down pat.

In a 2017 interview, Baer Jr. is asked if he and Douglas, a shapely blonde, happened to have some adult fun during the show’s run. “No,” Baer Jr. said. “Granny and I came close twice, and there was Uncle Jed, but usually Duke and I slept together.”