‘Beverly Hillbillies’: This Actor Played His Own Sister on The Show

by Joe Rutland

Max Baer Jr. is one of those actors who managed to play two roles in episodes of “The Beverly Hillbillies,” making for some interesting work.

Baer, of course, played Jethro Bodine, nephew of Jed Clampett, played by Buddy Ebsen. Yet during the show’s first season, Baer would appear as Jethro’s twin sister Jethrine.

The appearance of Baer in one scene in a checkered shirt and blue jeans, then in a long dress with a wig on, got laughs. Producers didn’t continue the Jethro-Jethrine combination past that initial season of “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

Henning Daughter Does Jethrine Voice on ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’

While it would be understandable to believe Baer provided Jethrine’s voice, that was not the case. Linda Kay Henning, daughter of “The Beverly Hillbilles” executive producer Paul Henning, would provide that dialogue. Her recorded words would find their way on the show, making it appear that Baer was lip-synching to Henning.

One side note: Henning would find herself on screen in just a few years as part of “Petticoat Junction.”

Having actors and comedians wear women’s clothes to get laughs goes back to vaudeville and early television days. Milton Berle, “Mr. Television,” was known to often dress up in women’s clothes for bits on the “Texaco Star Theater” show.

Today, Baer is the last remaining cast member of “The Beverly Hillbillies” to be alive. After the show ended, Baer, son of professional boxer Max Baer, found success behind the camera as a producer and director. He also invested his “Hillbillies” money into real estate.

Baer Didn’t Like His Behavior During Show’s Initial Run

One thing that Max Baer Jr. owns up to is that his off-screen behavior during “The Beverly Hillbillies” original run wasn’t always good.

Baer said in a 1993 interview with Entertainment Weekly he would get so high that he couldn’t remember certain episodes. Now, Baer finds life a better ride.

“I was a real idiot in the early ’60s,” Baer said in his EW interview. “I used to get high, which is another reason I’m only really seeing these shows for the first time. Now I even like myself, and I laugh like everyone else.”

Baer looked at his role as simpleminded Jethro, and also himself in real life, with disdain. “I could never watch,” Baer said. “I thought I had a fat face, and I didn’t think I was ever any good, or good-looking.”

In May 1993, Baer joined co-stars Ebsen and Donna Douglas for CBS’s retrospective, “The Legend of the Beverly Hillbillies.”