This is Jethro Bodine from “The Beverly Hillbillies,” Max Baer Jr.

The Beverly Hillbillies’ Jethro Bodine is the role for which Max Baer Jr. is most known, but what happened to this icon when the show ended?

Today is Max Baer Jr.’s 84th birthday.

Comedic show The Clampett family’s story was continued in The Beverly Hillbillies, where Buddy Ebsen’s character Jed Clampett amassed wealth at an unsettling rate.

Jed made the quick decision to move to Beverly Hills, California, after becoming a wealthy. The pivotal moment in the story? The family continued to live in the backcountry.

The astute Jed brought along the Clampett family clan, and among the many well-known figures, one stood out.

Max Baer Jr. played Jethro Bodine, the son of Jed’s cousin Pearl. He was a simpleton and rather dimwitted man who showed off his superior math skills by multiplying five gozinta five one time, five gozinta ten two times.

When The Beverly Hillbillies debuted in 1962, it became an instant smash. In the first three weeks of its premiere, it rose to the top of the TV ratings faster than any other program in history, according to IMDB.

The television program was well-liked by audiences. With nine seasons and 274 episodes, it ran for 11 years until being canceled in 1971.

The Beverly Hillbillies received four Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe nomination for Best TV Show Comedy in 1964.

Conversely, Max’s character had an absurd grin that changed every year. His laugh made others laugh as well, but more significantly, he gave everyone the impression that Jethro Bodine, the role he played, was real.

Max had spent years honing his southern drawl by turning to recordings of Andy Griffith and Jonathan Winters. People laughed at him because he was able to accomplish this while retaining a continuously foolish expression on his face.

Max Baer Jr. rose to fame in American comics by portraying the rustic bumpkin Jethro. Beyond that, Max got his big break from the show.

Unfortunately, things did not go as anticipated in his life after the event. This is the tale of the man who created Jethro Bodine, a popular figure in Hollywood.

On December 4, 1937, Max Baer Jr. was born in Oakland, California. He is the son of Mary Ellen Sullivan and boxing legend Max Baer.

Baer Jr. would have to wait a while to break into the acting profession. He made an appearance at the Blackpool Pavilion in England in 1949 in a stage production of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

In the end, a mix of fate, good fortune, and a great deal of self-assurance led to him landing a part of a lifetime in The Beverly Hillbillies.

Baer Jr. moved to Santa Clara to pursue his studies after growing up in Sacramento. After earning a Bachelor of Business Management from Santa Clara University in 1959, he ended up in a parking lot in Los Angeles just a year later.

The year after graduating, Max Baer Jr. made the decision to travel to Los Angeles by motorcycle. When he wound up on the Warner Bros. lot, he was identified as James Garner by an executive.

Baer Jr. wants to give acting a go after becoming noticed. He signed his first one-year deal swiftly, even though he knew nothing about acting. Rather, he decided, he might as well just go for it.

On television, he had small roles and cameos in programs like Hawaiian Eye, Maverick, and 77 Sunset Strip.

He decided to stay even though his career wasn’t taking off, and soon he was working on the greatest job of his life—a sitcom about a country bumpkin family who gets rich from oil.

He was cast as Jethro Bodine in The Beverly Hillbillies following an open casting call; he was paid $1000 for the pilot and $500 for the second season.

“When you play a part like Jethro, it’s really hard to be subjective or objective about yourself,” Baer Jr. stated to Medium.

“You just try to offer as much as you can [with your performance] after doing the best you can with the material that is provided to you.

However, the audience has the last say in the matter. Either we approved or disapproved of what you did. Additionally, you have no other way to evaluate it.

At this point, the show was really successful. Although Baer never earned more than $800 a show, American television viewers held a particular place in their hearts for him.

More than anything, Max Baer Jr. thought he was doing well and making people laugh.

“You have to give a good performance. And even if it was at my expense, it’s okay in my case if I made someone laugh.I don’t give a damn,” Baer Jr. said. They are free to laugh at me or with me. As long as people are laughing, it doesn’t matter.

Therefore, I’ll consider my performance successful if I can get them to chuckle. I’m not sure what degree of success it attained. However, I can state that its goal was achieved.

In 1993, Dolly Parton made her television debut in a feature-length version of the beloved program. Unfortunately, it didn’t have the same degree of success. To be honest, it’s difficult to accept that someone else played Jethro.

Renowned actress Donna Douglas played the role of Elly May Clampett, a mountain beauty, on Beverly Hillbillies.

She praised Max Baer Jr. in 2013 for his superb work as Jethro, even if he wasn’t the brightest light in the box.

In the book Dashing, Daring, and Debonair: TV’s Greatest Male Legends from the Fifties, Sixties, and Seventies, she said, “Max Baer did well as Jethro because he didn’t come across as so stupid that you didn’t like him.”

Dealing with him was and still is challenging. We all felt like a family, though. Max is free to voice his complaints about any of us, for whatever reason, but he has to stop others from speaking negatively about any of us. Max would never allow that individual to have it. He would stand up for us as if we were his own family.

Donna Douglas passed away in 2015 at the age of 82, leaving Baer Jr. as the sole cast member still alive.

TV historian Jeffrey D. Dalrymple, a friend of Baer Jr.’s, concurs.

He continues, “You believed Uncle Jed, Granny, and cousin Elly May to be his family because they were so skilled at it. Additionally, Max could blend in with the ensemble without exaggerating or underplaying Jethro. He was a decent guy and an excellent performer, and he still is.


Baer Jr. shared his father’s passion for athletics, a professional boxer, and was also well-known for his role in The Beverly Hillbillies.

Max Bear used to earn a living by going from place to place in the town and gathering trash from eateries. He worked seven nights a week for thirty-five cents a night.

The father also made money from boxing matches; during the Great Depression, Max Baer asked for more bouts.

In a battle in 1930, Max Baer killed Frankie Campbell with a single blow. Max Baer was shaken by the sad event, and he was never the same again. He had to serve some time in prison, and his standing took a hit.

Max Baer Jr. asserted, “He never liked boxing; he was only interested in the money.”

“They turned a kind, jovial, pleasant, and affectionate person who hated boxing into Mr. T from Rocky III, who had no redeeming qualities.”

Sadly, 50-year-old Max Baer, the father of Baer Jr., passed away in 1959.

Baer Jr. didn’t box, but he did play professional golf and win tournaments in California.

Baer Jr. attended Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento, California, where he lettered in basketball, baseball, football, and golf.

For the second year running, he also took home the Sacramento Junior Open Golf Championship. He ultimately placed second in the men’s competition.

In 1968, Max Baer Jr. and professional golfer Charlie Sifford won the Andy Williams Golf Championship in San Diego’s pro-am category.

But for me, acting is merely a hobby,” Baer stated in a 1971 interview with The Times. “I am a professional golfer.”

Baer Jr. had limited choices after The Beverly Hillbillies was canceled.

One problem was that he was only perceived by the producers as Jethro, not Baer. He had guest appearances on a number of television programs, such as Murder, She Wrote, Fantasy Island, and Love.

Rather than taking on numerous short films and TV shows, he made the decision to go it alone and become a producer and director. Though they might not have been pictures worthy of an Academy Award, he certainly made ends meet.

Two movies about small-town police officers, Macon County Line and Ode to Billie Joe, were produced and directed by Bear Jr. (1974).

The movie reportedly cost $225,000 to produce. It was, however, a greater success than anyone could have imagined. Having made more than $30 million worldwide and $18.8 million in North America, IMDB claims that it was the most successful independent film of 1974.

The 1975 follow-up Return to Macon County was also influenced by it.

Max Baer Jr. made a lot of money making movies. And that spurred the writer, producer, and actor to launch his company right away.

He was still the same Jethro from the Beverly Hillbillies mythology. For this reason, he decided to purchase the Beverly Hillbillies name from CBS in 1991.

The 84-year-old Baer Jr. planned to employ the characters and premise of the show in restaurants, casinos, theme parks, and cosmetics. 24 acres of his property in Carson Valley, Nevada, were to be developed into the themed casino and amusement park.

More than 200 rooms, 1,000 gaming machines, and robotic performers were all planned for the resort.

However, Baer Jr. has been embroiled in a number of legal battles about his endeavors. His ambition to develop a successful TV series into a blockbuster franchise has not materialized.

It was reported that Baer sued CBS in 2014. He said that Jethro’s Barbecue in Des Moines and the network had a covert agreement. The actor claimed that it made it more difficult for him to make money from his role on the well-liked television program.

However, the owners of Des Moines were certain that it would not affect their company.

Max Baer Jr. is the only married man. In 1966, Joanne Kathleen Hill wed him. They got a divorce in 1971.

He dated 30-year-old Californian model Chere Rhodes after a series of failed relationships. Their relationship continued until January 2008, when a tragedy struck Carson City, Nevada. Following an examination by the authorities, Chere’s death from a gunshot wound to the chest was determined to be a suicide.

Three months after her death, Baer Jr. came clean about the incident, saying there was blood all over the place and he was surprised to see her.

The well-known actor claimed that he was subjected to a paraffin test by police “to make sure I didn’t shoot her.”

Max Baer Jr. had to struggle in Hollywood to become well-known. In 1963, he made a comment about his future that perfectly captured the experiences of the years that followed.

“Our lives as Baers never went as planned. While working as a butcher, my grandfather had always desired to be a prize fighter. Baer said to Closer, “He did win a butchering championship once.”

“As everyone is aware, Dad became into a boxer despite his original ambition to become an actress. Originally, I wanted to practice law, but now I’m an actress. The show has done wonders for my career.

“In the future, the exposure will also help me get employment. And I hope to show that I’m capable of playing a character other than a hillbilly one day.

Max Baer Jr. will always be remembered as a wonderful actor who brought laughter to our faces in practically every Beverly Hillbillies episode, regardless of what occurred before or after the show.

It’s reasonable to say that he will always hold a particular place in our hearts.

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