‘Beverly Hillbillies’: How the Former Home of Buddy Ebsen Exploded in 2013

by Robert Davis

This weekend marks the seventh anniversary of when an explosion rocked the home of the late former “Beverly Hillbillies” star Buddy Ebsen.

In 2013, residents on Balboa Island near Newport Beach reported an explosion to local authorities just after 10 pm. Newport Beach Fire Department spokesman Glenn White told The Morning Call that “a small portable gas tank for a boat kept in the home’s basement leaked fuel vapors that were ignited by the pilot light for a water heater.”

“This caused an explosion that ripped the lock off of the basement double doors and blew the doors open,” White added.

More than 20 firefighters responded and put out the blaze in approximately 20 minutes, according to the report.

Only some of the house suffered smoke damage, according to the report. At the time, the basement was used for storage while renters occupied the main two-story home.

The property on South Front Bay St. recently sold for over $9 million, according to Zillow.

Buddy Ebsen Finds His Way on the “Beverly Hillbillies”

Buddy Ebsen began his career in dance during the 1920s. He later filmed a vaudeville act with his sister Vilma, which also appeared on Broadway. He began performing full-time in the 1930s and didn’t stop until his untimely death in 2003.

Throughout the 1930s, Ebsen appeared in several Broadway acts. For example, he was the singing voice for the Tin Man in a 1939 rendition of “The Wizard of Oz.” He also appeared in plays such as “Yellowjack,” “My Lucky Star,” and “The Kid From Texas.”

His first television appearance came in 1949 when Ebsen was on “The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre,” an American anthology series that aired on NBC. It would be another two years before Ebsen got his next television gig. He starred as a letter carrier in “Stars Over Hollywood.”

After that role, Ebsen’s career trajectory changed. He began appearing in more television programs, series, and movies. Between 1950 and 1960, Ebsen appeared in more than 20 programs.

However, Ebsen is best known for playing Jed Clampett on the hit show “Beverly Hillbillies”. Throughout his nine-year stint on the show, Ebsen racked up several memorable moments that fans still adore.

A Lifetime After Beverly

Following his departure from the Beverly Hillbillies” in 1971, Ebsen went on to have a very successful career. He appeared in classics such as the original “Hawaii Five-0” and “Barnaby Jones.”

Ebsen also appeared in several television movies after leaving Beverly behind. Some titles include “Tom Sawyer,” “The President’s Plan is Missing,” and “Horror from 37,000 Feet”.

While many parents and grandparents certainly know who Ebsen is, many younger people may also recognize him as “Chet Elderson” from the hit television series “King of the Hill.”