Buddy Ebsen

April 2, 1908 – July 6, 2003


Buddy Ebson
Buddy Ebson


Buddy was a nice guy. I got to spend a bit of time with him a few years ago. Hell, longer than that. I had hair.


Buddy looked older than dirt back then, and I remember he had one of those phlegmy voices that always made you want to clear your throat. Professionally, it’s fairly well known that he started as a dancer, and was the original choice for the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, Audrey Hepburn’s husband in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and of course Jed Clampett, amongst others.

In 1998 Buddy had heart surgery, and was given a valve from a pig’s heart. He came through the operation just fine, thank ya kindly.

On June 26, 2003, Buddy was hospitalized in Torrance, with pneumonia. It was announced that his condition was “good.”



Ebsen lived nearby in Palos Verdes Estates, with his wife since 1985, Dorothy. Their very nice home, coincidentally was very close to this street.



Wanna see his mailbox?



While in the hospital, Max and Donna visited and reminisced. That would have been wild to have heard.

On July 6, 2003, Buddy died at 9:30 AM. He was 153 years old.


Buddy Ebson's Death Certificate
Buddy Ebson’s Death Certificate


There was a private family funeral, and his ashes were scattered at sea.  Buddy was a nut for sailing, and except for the fact that there is no place for fans to pay their respects, it was the perfect farewell.  You can leave virtual flowers here.

On Saturday August 30th, there was a memorial service for Buddy at the Television Academy in North Hollywood.



Attending were Lee Meriwether, Jane Withers, Max Baer, Donna Douglas, Linda Henning and Fess Parker. It was so crowded, people were turned away.  There was a color guard because Buddy was in the Coast Guard.  Dick Van Dyke hosted the event, which included a video presentation (which Buddy narrated) and tap dancers. At the end, Kiki, Buddy’s daughter, sang a song that Buddy wrote. Buddy was very active in preparing his own memorial. Max Baer spoke, and broke down because Buddy was sort of a surrogate father to him.

Interesting fact: Shirley Temple refused an invitation to the memorial service.

There was also a display of Buddy’s artwork.

Trivia: The Dick Van Dyke Show succeeded because of the Beverly Hillbillies. TDVDS was cancelled early on, and Sheldon Leornard pleaded to have it put back on right after the Hillbillies, which gave it an audience and made it work.  Dick owes a lot to Buddy and the gang.

Last year, my friend Crystal gave me a terrific tour of the Disney Studios.  Since I never go anywhere without my camera, I managed to get shots of Buddy’s hand prints, and more hand prints.



Honorable Mention:  On Friday March 25th 2005, Mr. Paul Henning passed away.  Paul created The Beverly Hillbillies, which spawned Petticoat Junction and Green Acres.  Rest In Peace, Paul.  I hope you know how much you made us laugh.


Big thanks to Steve Smith and Bonnie for crashing the ceremony, Steve Cox for information, Mike Steen for the Death Certificate and Steve Goldstein for the great snaps of Buddy’s home.


Check out Buddy’s official website, HERE.



18 thoughts on “Buddy Ebsen

  • December 24, 2022 at 3:44 am

    Funny how you people get mad at some stuff he may have said , it’s called freedom of speech , as if you have never bad mouthed someone . It’s called america , only evil Dems hate freedom of speech . Great man and actor

  • July 18, 2021 at 6:25 pm

    Bet you didn’t know it, but Buddy’s dad was born in Denmark and his mother in Latvia. Pa was a choreographer and ma was a painter. Buddy’s birth name was Christian Ludolf Ebsen Sr.

    • May 25, 2022 at 7:56 am

      Are you sure it was Sr.? Who names their kids Sr.? Isn’t is usual Jr. for Junior?

  • June 13, 2021 at 11:13 am

    Never forgot or forgave Ebsen for his loud and crude antagonism towards Nancy Kulp’s congressional run. Full of pre-Trumpian coded speech. He felt he NEEDED to attack her candidacy.

    I suspect it was more than her “socialist progressivism” that he didn’t like.

    Old skunk.

    • May 24, 2022 at 10:50 pm

      Agree wholeheartedly – Rude, arrogant, unnecessary, cruel. I remember.

    • September 29, 2022 at 10:14 pm

      I totally agree with you. I’ve always loved the show eversince I learned that it was the #1 sitcom on T.V. in May, 1962 when I was born. And I loved everyone on the show, especially Ellie Mae (a fellow New Orleanian). But I once seen a documentary of the show and learned how Buddy Ebsen seriously badmouthed Nancy Kulp and damaged her political career. This is why I’ve always believed that celebrities should keep their mouths shut when it comes down to their political, religious, and moral beliefs.

  • April 5, 2021 at 12:45 am

    Buddy collected rare coins as a hobby and his collection was auctioned off for a huge amount of money sometime in the 1980’s. Its only useless trivia until you can actually use it.

  • January 4, 2021 at 9:21 pm

    Can’t believe no one caught the sites claim that Ebsen was 153 years old when he died. Actually, he was 95. A good deal aged, but not “Methuselah” aged. Love the site. And not to be morbid, but I wish you had death pics of everyone on here.

  • September 16, 2020 at 6:21 am

    His last home as seen on the death certificate was at 605 Via Horquilla, Palos Verdes Estates, CA. Why don’t you have pics of this big house? Why only a pic of the mailbox?

  • September 2, 2020 at 2:05 pm

    You left out the real tragedy of why Buddy wasn’t the Tin Man. He was cast and filming the role when he became severly ill and had to be hospitalized.

    The make-up used was powered aluminum. While being applied Buddy inhaled aluminum dust severly affecting his lungs. The man almost died. To add insult to injury, read the studio initally didn’t believe he was ill and responded harshly. What could the studio have been thinking? Holding out for more money?

  • July 24, 2020 at 5:52 pm

    Think you mean Max Baer, Jr. Max Beaer, Sr. was a famous German boxer with no connections to Buddy, other than his son Jr. as Jethro.

      • May 24, 2022 at 10:56 pm

        Absolutely correct, my mistake. I guess it was the name that I made the assumption without checking. Thanks

    • April 7, 2020 at 2:43 am

      Thanks for the correction. The name should now be fixed in the title and in the directory.

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