‘The Beverly Hillbillies’: Donna Douglas Revealed the Time Someone Called Her Real-Life Dad ‘Jed Clampett’

by Joe Rutland

Donna Douglas could not be missed for her tom-boy character Elly May on “The Beverly Hillbillies.” Even her dad got some notice, too.

Well, let’s just say Douglas’ real father, Emmitt Smith Sr., was sometimes even called “Jed Clampett” by possibly overzealous fans. To be clear, Buddy Ebsen, who played Jed Clampett on the CBS comedy, was not Douglas’ father.

Yet Douglas said in a 2013 interview that Ebsen was the man who made the show work.

Douglas Liked Ebsen On ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’

“Buddy . . . he was the best!” Douglas, who died in 2015, said. “I had most of my scenes with him, he reminded me so much of my own dad. Once at the beginning of the show’s run, my dad went to town and someone yelled ‘Hey Jed Clampett’ to him.”

Douglas called that moment “precious” and said her parents were proud of her success.

She also recalled spending time with her castmate, Max Baer Jr., who played Jethro Bodine. Douglas said she and Baer were with Ebsen the night before he died on July 6, 2003.

“Max Baer did well as Jethro because he didn’t come across as so dumb that you didn’t like him,” Douglas said. “He gave me a hard time then and still does. But we all were like a family.”

Max Baer Would Stick Up For Cast If People Started Talking

She recalled Baer, sometimes, making complaints about other cast members. If someone else said anything about them, though, Douglas said Baer would stick up for the “Hillbillies” family.

“Boy — would Max really let that person have it,” she said. “He’d defend us just like with a real family member.”

Now Baer, who is the last surviving member of “The Beverly Hillbillies” cast, proved to be a lot smarter than his Jethro character. He secured the naming rights for “The Beverly Hillbillies” and used it on things like slot machines, pinball machines, hotels, and other marketable pieces.

You hear Baer as Jethro talk about going to spend time at the “cee-ment pond.” With his wise investments and marketing abilities, Baer could have his own swimming pool built any time and at any place.

Douglas earned the role of Elly May by being selected out of a group of 500 actresses seeking work on “The Beverly Hillbillies.” It turned out to be the role of a lifetime.