Edgar Buchanan was a dentist before his days in Hooterville

The man had many talents, and dispensed some acting advice, too!

Uncle Joe Carson was nothing at all like the man who played him.

Carson was a lazy idler who made a fool of himself with his half-brained get-rich-quick schemes. He'd do anything for a quick, easy buck.

But Edgar Buchanan, the actor who played Uncle Joe, was completely the opposite. The man hustled. He didn't wait around for opportunities. He went out and made things happen.

In 1928, Buchanan earned his DDS degree from the North Pacific College School of Dentistry. That same school, now called the Oregon Health & Science University School of Dentistry, is where he first met his wife, Mildred. She, too, was on a path towards a career in dentistry. However, while he was successful in acquiring his degree, Buchanan had his heart set on something else.

Edgar Buchanan was meant to be an actor.

"Being an actor is all I've ever really wanted," Buchanan told the Deseret News in 1964. "You know, I was a dentist in Oregon? My father was a dentist and my wife Mildred was a dentist. We got married before we even graduated dental school."

Buchanan stacked the cards in his favor with his dental work, providing a great plan B for his family while he pursued acting. The gamble paid off. He would go on to appear in more than 100 films

"Mildred and me, we've got a fine 17-year-old boy who wants to be an actor, and why not? Sure beats being a dentist. I was getting a game leg standing on my feet all day. I was getting fat, too.

"I'll tell you what I tell my son: There's no trick to being an actor if you appraise all your good features in the same cold light with your bad. I was a character actor at 20, playing elderly roles even then because I was a slow talker and I had this gravel voice that killed the chance of my ever being a romantic leading man.

"The object of acting is to appear like you're not acting— living the part, as they say. Well, the hardest part comes first, seeing your true self, not the irresistible face you imagine you see in the mirror, and projecting that rue self in every role you play. There never was any good acting come out of anyone who was concerned about how he looked."

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5 Comments

Runeshaper 8 months ago
Edgar Buchanan was a smart man. He aimed for a career he would enjoy, but probably knowing that he might not make it, got his DDS.
Mike 8 months ago
During the run of Petticoat Junction, TV Guide did a profile of Edgar Buchanan, posing him in a dentist's chair.
According to the article, Dr. Buchanan kept up his DDS license throughout his acting career; occasionally, on movie locations, he would be called upon to practice his old trade when dental emergencies presented themselves.
Talk about a fallback ...
Andybandit 8 months ago
That is great. It is nice that he had dentistry to fall back on, if the acting didn't work out.
Snickers 9 months ago
Could you imagine seeing uncle Joe standing over you getting ready to pull a tooth? YIKES!!
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