95 (passed away Jul. 6th, 2003)
Apr. 2nd, 1908
Belleville, Illinois, USA
Buddy Ebsen's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles1993 - The Beverly Hillbillies
1985 - That's Dancing!
1961 - Breakfast at Tiffany's
1956 - Attack
1939 - The Wizard of Oz
1938 - My Lucky Star
1938 - The Girl of the Golden West
1937 - Broadway Melody of 1938
1936 - Born to Dance
1935 - Broadway Melody of 1936
Guest TV Roles
Marshal Elmo Crane
Sheriff Jesse Sanders
Buddy Ebsen began his career as a dancer in the late 1920s in a Broadway chorus. He later formed a vaudeville act with his sister Vilma Ebsen, which also appeared on Broadway. In 1935 he and his sister went to Hollywood, where they were signed for the first of MGM's Eleanor Powell (I) movies, Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935). While Vilma retired from stage and screen shortly after this, Buddy starred in two further MGM movies with Powell. Two of his dancing partners were Frances Langford in Born to Dance (1936) and Judy Garland (I) in Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937). They were a little bit taller than Shirley Temple, with whom he danced in Captain January (1936). MGM studio chief Louis B. Mayer offered him an exclusive contract in 1938, but Ebsen turned it down. In spite of Mayer's warning that he would never get a job in Hollywood again, he was offered the role of the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz (1939). Ebsen agreed to change roles with Ray Bolger, who was cast as the Tin Man. Ebsen subsequently became ill from the silver make-up, however, and was replaced by Jack Haley (I). He returned to the stage, making only a few pictures before he got a role in the Disney production of Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier (1955). After this, he became a straight actor, and later won more fame in his own hit series, "The Beverly Hillbillies" (1962) and "Barnaby Jones" (1973).
- In 1938 MGM offered him a seven-year contract, starting at $2,000 a week but requiring him to give the studio absolute control over his career. He rejected it. MGM blackballed him and his film career went into eclipse for nearly 20 years, until 'Walt Disney' (qv) hired him to play Georgie Russel, Davy Crockett's sidekick, in _Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier (1955)_ (qv).
- His first wife, Ruth, was originally 'Walter Winchell' (qv)'s secretary/Girl Friday.
- Was initiated into DeMolay at the John M. Cheney Chapter in Orlando Florida, in 1926. DeMolay is a Masonic youth organization for young men between 12 and 21. Was inducted into the DeMolay Hall of Fame on June 21st, 1996.
- Fathered two daughters, Elizabeth Ebsen and 'Alix Ebsen' (qv), with his first wife, Ruth. Had five additional children (Susannah, Cathy, 'Bonnie Ebsen' (qv), Kiersten 'Kiki Ebsen' (qv), and 'Dustin Ebsen' (qv)) with his second wife, Nancy.
- Originally cast as the Tin Man in _The Wizard of Oz (1939)_ (qv), Buddy was hospitalized as a result of inhaling aluminum powder used as part of his make-up. One chorus of "We're Off to See the Wizard" in the movie and soundtrack album retain Ebsen's original vocals as the Tin Man, recorded before he was forced to leave the production. Because of the prolonged hospitalization, he was replaced by 'Jack Haley (I)' (qv) (whose reformulated make-up used pre-mixed aluminium dust), and Ebsen's scenes were re-shot using Haley. Footage of Ebsen as the Tin Man still exists, and was included as an extra with the U.S. 50th anniversary video release of _The Wizard of Oz (1939)_ (qv).
- Set up the Ebsen School of Dance in Pacific Palisades, California. When Buddy was young, his father, a physical fitness advocate, taught dance in West Palm Beach, Florida. This is where Buddy and younger sister 'Vilma Ebsen' (qv) learned their craft and they appeared in local and school productions.
- His former _"Barnaby Jones" (1973)_ (qv) co-star, 'Lee Meriwether' (qv), said he reminded her a lot of 'Ray MacDonnell' (qv), with whom she had a wonderful relationship on _"All My Children" (1970)_ (qv).
- Had surgery on June 10, 1998 to repair an aortic valve in his heart.