‘Beverly Hillbillies’ Star Buddy Ebsen’s Second Wife Also Obtained Rank of Lieutenant in World War II

by Joe Rutland

Buddy Ebsen of The “Beverly Hillbillies” would meet his second wife during World War II and she obtained the same rank as him.

Nancy Wolcott Ebsen, whom Ebsen married in 1945, was a first lieutenant in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times. Ebsen also found himself in the Coast Guard, too, as a lieutenant, junior grade, at first. He was honorably discharged in 1946 with the rank of lieutenant.

Now Wolcott Ebsen was stationed in Seattle harbor, similar to Ebsen. The “Beverly Hillbillies” star served on the Navy frigate USS Pocatello, which was crewed by Coast Guard members. That frigate would serve as a “weather station” 1,500 miles west of Seattle, Wash.

‘Beverly Hillbillies’ Star Divorced Wolcott Ebsen After 39 Years of Marriage

Wolcott Ebsen was born in Evanston, Ill. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in Theater from Vassar College in Dutchess County, N.Y. Wolcott also earned a master’s degree in Children’s Theater from Cal State Fullerton. From 1980-87, she ran the Newport Harbor Actors Theater.

Ebsen divorced Wolcott Ebsen after 39 years of marriage in 1985. They had five children, four daughters and a son.

Both of them would remarry, though. Ebsen, who played Jed Clampett on The “Beverly Hillbillies,” married Dorothy Knott in 1985. It was Ebsen’s third marriage and they stayed together until his death on July 6, 2003, at 95 years old.

Wolcott Ebsen married William Daughaday and stayed with him until she died on May 14, 2008, at 89 years old.

Classic TV Show Found Itself Among Top 20 Shows In Eight Of Ninie Seasons

The “Beverly Hillbillies” ran for nine seasons on CBS and has remained a mainstay in the land of TV reruns for decades. Ebsen headed up the Clampett clan, joined by Irene Ryan, Max Baer Jr., and Donna Douglas. Raymond Bailey and Nancy Kulp also played significant roles as banker Milburn Drysdale and his secretary Jane Hathaway, respectively.

It was one of those “rural” shows created by Paul Henning. He also created “Green Acres” and “Petticoat Junction” for CBS. All three shows were canceled by 1971. The network decided to get rid of all these types of shows at one time.

Was The “Beverly Hillbillies” a popular show when it originally aired? Yes. The show finished among the Top 20 shows in the Nielsen ratings for eight out of nine seasons. In fact, that show finished at the No. 1 spot in its very first two seasons on CBS.

The show also was one that had a catchy theme song developed for it. “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” opened every episode. Country and bluegrass music legends Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs played the theme music themselves. Jerry Scoggins provided the voice to the lyrics.