Max Baer Jr. was in the fight of his life at just five months old

The young Jethro fell ill when he was very young.

Fans of classic television will doubtlessly remember Max Baer Jr. for his role on The Beverly Hillbillies. Baer, as Jethro Bodine, was part of a  backwoods family who became suddenly rich with oil money. The fish-out-of-water story saw the poor mountain folk relocate to the wealthy California neighborhood of Beverly Hills, where hilarity ensued.

Those familiar with Max Baer Jr.'s biography will know that his father was a world heavyweight champion boxer. Baer Sr. was known in his time as Madcap Maxie, with a professional record of 68 wins and only 13 losses. Among his fights, 51 ended with Baer knocking his opponent out.

While the real-life family's patriarch was a famous pugilist, it was his son who found himself in the battle of a lifetime in 1938. Because of Baer, Sr.'s high-profile status as a sports celebrity, his son was heavily reported on while the baby boy fought for his health in East Oakland Hospital.

At just five-and-a-half months old, Max Baer Jr. was stricken with bronchial pneumonia. After his family rushed the infant to the hospital, little Max was placed under an oxygen tank, according to The San Francisco Examiner.

Baer Sr. was quoted saying his son had been suffering for the prior week with a cold before the child was admitted. At the time of publication, the article stated that the hospital described the young Baer's condition as fair.

Luckily, television fans know that the story has a happy ending. Not only did Baer Jr. fight off the illness, but he also eventually grew to be a big ol' guy with a mighty impressive TV credit to his name. 

Watch The Beverly Hillbillies on MeTV!

Weeknights at 9 PM, Saturdays at 6 & 6:30 AM, Sundays at 2 & 2:30 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

4 Comments

SheriHeffner 1 month ago
I never knew that. Max was a very good looking man in his youth. I would like to see what he looks like now.
McGillahooala 1 month ago
He did a great job on that show. It wouldn’t have been the same without him.
MrsPhilHarris 1 month ago
I understand bronchial pneumonia is pretty bad for a baby. On another note there seems to be a lot of Beverly Hillbillies stories lately. 🤔
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?