Even at the height of Green Acres fame, Tom Lester lived above a garage
The man behind Eb was a honest-to-goodness farmer.
Some classic TV characters lived in apartments above garages. Tim and "Uncle Martin" had such a place on My Favorite Martian. Of course, the Fonz called the Cunningham's garage apartment home on Happy Days.
While cool sitcom characters have lived in a garage apartment, you probably do not expect sitcom stars to have such dwellings. After all, they are Hollywood actors.
Tom Lester was not your typical Hollywood star. You know him as the friendly farmhand Eb Dawson on Green Acres. A Mississippi native, Lester remained a country boy at heart. It is said that Lester beat out 400 other actors for the role of Eb because he actually knew how to milk a cow. After Green Acres ended in 1971, Lester returned home to Laurel, Mississippi. (Coincidentally, the same hometown as Ray Walton, who played the aforementioned Uncle Martin on My Favorite Martian.) He moved back in with his parents.
He later became the owner of a 250-acre timber farm in Vossburg, Mississippi. In 1997, he was the recipient of Mississippi's "Wildlife Farmer of the Year" award. We're talking about a humble man here.
But let's go back to the peak of his fame, the late 1960s. Green Acres was a Top 20 show, and Lester earned a lot of laughs with his "Golly, Mr. Douglas" demeanor. But the actor, then about 30 years old, lived "in an apartment above a garage in the San Fernando Valley," according to a 1969 newspaper profile.
Lester rented the place furnished — even his dated black-and-white television set was donated by a friend. He still managed to maintain a close tie to nature.
"Each morning he goes into the spacious yard that surrounds his apartment and feeds the birds which he's trained to perch on his hand," the UPI wrote.
Following the death of Mary Grace Canfield (Ralph Monroe) in 2014, Lester became the last surviving regular cast member of Green Acres.