“Beverly Hillbillies” creator Paul Henning practiced a bit of nepotism when it came to one role on the show. He cast his daughter to play the part. Or the voice to be more precise.
Linda Kaye Henning lent her voice to the character of Jethrine on the show. Just don’t expect to recognize her on “The Beverly Hillbillies.” While she provided vocals, Henning didn’t actually appear on the show in the flesh or portray Jethrine. Instead, Jethrine was played by Jethro actor Max Baer Jr. on the show. That’s right Baer Jr. portrayed his own sister on the show.
For the part, Baer dressed like an oversized Barbie doll or Little Bo Peep. The actor donned blonde curls and a flower-patterned dress to create the character. He seemed to enjoy the part, playing Jethrine with over-the-top relish. But as good as an actor as Baer was, not even he could pull off the vocals needed to bring Jethrin’s character together. Instead, according to MeTV, Paul Henning cast his daughter in the part.
At the time, Linda Kaye Henning was a bit of an unknown commodity. In fact, she had appeared in just one other project when she joined “The Beverly Hillbillies” in 1962. Henning guest-starred in “Mister Ed” for one episode in a thankless role.
But the sitcom and Jethrine ended up pushing her to bigger and better things ahead. Henning ended up voicing the character for just 11 episodes in the first season before the show retired the character. But she made her mark with fans.
Linda Henning on ‘Petticoat Junction’
Fans of “Petticoat Junction” may recognize Henning from her father’s other famous work. Sometimes it pays to be the daughter of a successful TV creator. On that show, Henning had a much larger and looming presence than she did on “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
In fact, she was one of the stars. Henning played the role of Betty Jo, one of Kate Bradley’s daughters on the show. The actor ended up playing a major role in the series, appearing in every season of the sitcom. Her character’s romance with Steve Elliott became a major part of the show. Henning ended up appearing in all but three episodes of the show.
She also later crossover onto “The Beverly Hillbillies” properly. The shows shared several crossovers during their runs. But Jethrine never appeared on the show again after the first season.