‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ Star Buddy Ebsen’s Final Acting Role Was on Classic Cartoon Show

by Joe Rutland

Buddy Ebsen will forever be connected with “The Beverly Hillbillies.” But the actor’s final role happened to be on a classic TV cartoon show.

Ebsen, who played Jed Clampett on the CBS sitcom, provided his voice for a 1999 episode of “King of the Hill.” He can be heard playing Chet Elderson in the third-season show, “A Fire-fighting We Will Go.” Chet was a volunteer firefighter of the Arlen (Texas) Fire Department who died during the episode.

Hank, Dale, Bill, and Boomhauer join forces to become volunteer firemen. The firehouse, though, goes up in smoke. Apparently, Elderson’s “Alamo Beer” sign shorted out and caused the firehouse to go up in flames. The guys can’t get their stories straight about how it happened, so it leads to chaos.

Throughout his career, “The Beverly Hillbillies” star usually appeared as himself in some role. Ebsen also played a private investigator on “Barnaby Jones” for eight seasons. He appeared in the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” as veterinarian Doc Golightly.

Ebsen died on July 6, 2003, at 95 years old.

‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ Star Was Lined Up To Appear In Famous Movie

While talking about some of the roles that “The Beverly Hillbillies” star had in his career, one that sadly got away affected his physical health.

Ebsen was lined up to play the “Tin Man” in the movie version of L. Frank Baum’s book “The Wizard of Oz.” In order to get ready for his scenes, Ebsen’s makeup included clown-white grease all over his face. He talked about the experience in a 1995 interview with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Obviously, film sets back in the 1930s had hot lights. The makeup ran down Ebsen’s face. Makeup artists put aluminum dust on his face to keep it in place. One problem: Ebsen was allergic to aluminum. It affected him tremendously.

MGM Didn’t Believe Ebsen’s Medical Stories Were True At All

“The Beverly Hillbillies” star woke up in bed with cramps in his hands, legs, and arms. He couldn’t breathe properly. His then-wife called an ambulance, which took him to a hospital. Ebsen, who inhaled pure aluminum, landed under an oxygen tent for two weeks.

Movie studio Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer told him to get back to work, Ebsen said. But he was still sick. MGM didn’t believe Ebsen’s stories at all. They put Jack Haley in to replace Ebsen. So Haley stars alongside Judy Garland, Bert Lahr, and Ray Bolger in the movie.

Ebsen believed his “Tin Man” appears in some of the movie’s long shots. “Later on, the studio admitted that it’s my voice you hear in the song ‘We’re Off to See the Wizard’ as we dance up the Yellow Brick Road,” he said.

It’s an amazing story because Ebsen, who was on “The Beverly Hillbillies” for its entire nine-season run, would have been part of cinema history.