Max Baer Jr. had to learn to embrace Jethro Bodine
The actor worried he was destined to play Jethro Bodine forever.
It’s pretty standard after the ending of a television series for an actor to attempt to distance themselves from the role they embodied for years. Think of it like a college freshman that tries to give their personality a complete one hundred-and-eighty-degree shift after they graduate from high school.
After the cancellation of The Beverly Hillbillies, Max Baer Jr. found that he had graduated from the role of Jethro Bodine, and was ready to leave the role behind, at least for a little while. But in an interview with The Associated Press, it was revealed that for Baer Jr., that was easier said than done. He found himself facing the typecast of burly, less-than-intelligent Bodine-like characters, although it was such a drastic shift from Baer Jr.’s real personality.
Baer’s business partner, said of the man, “Max is far from dumb. He’s very intelligent. Max is a marketing genius.” This genius found its home later in Baer Jr.’s life when he chose to embrace the role of Jethro Bodine and signed a deal with the International Game Technology of Reno. The deal set a plan in motion to produce many penny slot machines that featured The Beverly Hillbillies.
So, why the sudden shift? Baer Jr. revealed, “What happened was I turned 50. I was about as much in demand as cancer.” Baer Jr. decided, “If I have to be Jethro, I’ll be Jethro.”
Now, just because Baer Jr. had previously attempted to distance himself from his role on The Beverly Hillbillies doesn’t mean that he found he regrets doing the show. The article informed readers that Baer Jr. is still in touch with his old castmates, Donna Douglas and Buddy Ebsen. Of Baer Jr., Douglas said, “He’s a rascal. Max is all right in my book.”