95 (passed away Jul. 6th, 2003)
Apr. 2nd, 1908
Belleville, Illinois, USA
Buddy Ebsen's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
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).
- 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.
- An outspoken Republican, he helped defeat 'Nancy Kulp' (qv), his co-star in _"The Beverly Hillbillies" (1962)_ (qv), in her 1984 Democratic congressional bid in Pennsylvania. Ebsen made radio ads for her opponent accusing Kulp of being "too liberal" and not good for the district. The two did not speak for years after the incident, but eventually settled their differences.
- Taught 'Judy Garland (I)' (qv) the shim-sham shimmy while they were at MGM.
- Had surgery on June 10, 1998 to repair an aortic valve in his heart.
- Appeared in three musical film extravaganzas starring tap great 'Eleanor Powell (I)' (qv).
- Son 'Dustin Ebsen' (qv) is married to 'Stan Freberg' (qv) 's daughter Donna.
- 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.
- Owned a 36-acre ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains.