Max Baer Jr. was typecast after playing Jethro on 'The Beverly Hillbillies'

The actor said he was unemployable because people only knew him as Jethro.

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There are pros and cons of being a co-star in classic television. A pro is that actors gain financial stability, access to upscale resources, a fanbase and more. On the other hand, some fans, producers and directors can hold onto one famous role, and it becomes hard to move on.

This was the case for Max Baer Jr., who starred in Paul Henning's hit series The Beverly Hillbillies. Baer Jr. played Jethro, the son of Jed Clampett's cousin Pearl who got a chance to move with the Clampetts to Beverly Hills.

Despite the success of the show and his character, roles became scarce for the actor after the series ended. Baer Jr. was typecast, but he refused to let the role be the end of his career. So, the actor produced and directed several independent productions that earned him a lot of money.

In an interview with The Tampa Tribune in 2000, he revealed how he stayed motivated and fought against failing in the industry.

"Starvation was my motivation," he said to The Tampa Tribune writer John Beifuss during a telephone interview. "I did it for the money, and I did it for the job. I was basically unemployable because all that people knew me as was Jethro, and I realized that if I'm going to work, I will have to do it myself."

Being the son of a heavyweight boxing champ, fighting against hardships was naturally in his blood. Starting this new creative journey resulted in Baer Jr. finding a love for filmmaking. In 2000, three of his films, Macon County Line, The McCullohs, and Hometown U.S.A, were released on videotape and DVD.

A company named Anchor Bay Entertainment, one that calls itself "the company for movie lovers," helped with that process. Although some of the films never reached The Beverly Hillbillies status, they gained more than enough attention for Baer Jr. to continue to live comfortably. The films also stopped typecasting from taking another career away.

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62 Comments

bagandwallyfan52 18 months ago
What happened to the outtake of the
Last Episode of Happy Days where
Howard Cunningham says "WAIT !
WHERES CHUCK ?"
I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE OUTTAKE
FROM THE LAST EPISODE OF HAPPY DAYS WHERE Howard Cunningham
TALKS ABOUT Chuck Cunningham.
bagandwallyfan52 19 months ago
Wasn't there a Christmas Episode of
The BEVERLY HILLBILLIES where Jed
Granny Elly Jethro and Mr Drysdale and Mrs Drysdale were singing the song
We Wish You A Merry Christmas and
it looked like the cast members were
singing directly to the TV Viewers.
WylmaHarmon 19 months ago
This happens to any person who was a member of a TV show that was memorable. The ones most affected were child performers. After they got older and their cuteness had disappeared they really couldn't find jobs in if they did they're always were Typecast and similar what they did when they were either on TV or in movies. It's very hard for people to break out into any other rules if they have been identified with one particular role.
FrankBurnsEatsWorms 19 months ago
Same thing happened to Fred Flintstone as well as Herman Munster, fun fact , I guess
I love your handle!!
LoveMETV22 bdettlingmetv 19 months ago
Agree. Too funny !
Moverfan LoveMETV22 19 months ago
And at the end of the episode, we discovered another phrase Hawkeye taught them--"You tell 'em, Ferret Face!"
LoveMETV22 Moverfan 19 months ago
Yes, too funny, glad they had him on the series. The Winchester character was fun as well, but glad Frank had his time.
JohnnyBoyohBoy 19 months ago
I remember in the 1970s when James Garner and the studio were having legal battles regarding Garner's appearances on the show. I recall coming across a story that at one point they were threatening to go on with the show without Garner and replace him with Baer. Of course it never happened, but if it had, it might have allowed Baer to break out of always being identified as Jethro. If you've seen him in Macon County Line you can see he was capable of playing someone other than Jethro.
Charlotte 19 months ago
I can understand being typecast (back in the day) could be a career ender, but if you're a good enough actor/actress you can overcome it. Social media is what can be your career ender these days.
ncadams27 Charlotte 19 months ago
Just look at his Uncle Jed who went on to play Barnaby Jones.
Jaxter14 19 months ago
I don’t buy the typecast excuse just look at all the actors of iconic tv characters that went on to very successful second tv series: Raymond Burr, Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, Dick Van Dyke, Carrol O’Connor, Buddy Ebsen, Dennis Weaver and there’s probably even more that you folks could come with. 🤔
Moverfan Jaxter14 19 months ago
You forgot Michael Landon...Little Joe Cartwright to Charles Ingalls to Jonathan Whatever-his-last-name-was (Highway To Heaven).
Jaxter14 Moverfan 19 months ago
True, and Little Joe’s brother Adam, Pernell Roberts, went on to star in Trapper John.
Jaxter14 Jaxter14 12 months ago
Also Ronnie Howard went from Opie to Ritchie Cunningham for a long run on Happy Days. Katy Sagan went from Peg Bundy to Gemma Teller on Sons of Anarchy.
Jaxter14 Jaxter14 12 months ago
Correction: Sagal
MichaelFields 19 months ago
Same thing happened to Ed O'Neil, EVERYONE knew his as "Al Bundy" so when the show ended he could not get work and when he did, (It was a serious pretty much walk on part) people in the theater yelled "AL!" it took years but then he finally got a new long term TV show, "Modern Family" which he did very well and people forgot about Al
Al Bundy (Ed O'Neil) was a funny character on Married With Childern
but whatever happened to the
character Seven who did a VANISHING ACT on the show?
Barry22 bagandwallyfan52 19 months ago
He ended up on a milk carton. That actually happened on one of the episodes. He was a terrible character.
F5Twitster 19 months ago
"In 2000, three of [Baer's] films, Macon County Line, The McCullohs, and Hometown U.S.A, were released on videotape and DVD."

It's "The McCULLOCHS."

Doesn't ANYBODY proofread these articles?
Barry22 19 months ago
Him and Adam West, among others.
djcornelius 19 months ago
Buddy Ebson was a wonderful actor. Catch his episode on the Andy Griffith Show. Unfortunately, though, in real life, he was not a kindly gentlemen as portrayed in the Beverly Hillbillies. What he did to Nancy Culp was reprehensible.
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Coldnorth djcornelius 12 months ago
I don’t remember what happened between him and Nancy Culp
Dudlydoright djcornelius 11 months ago
He was very conservative personally as well as politically and, even when the show was on the air, Nancy Kulp did little to hide the fact that she was a lesbian, which was the source of their friction. In 1984 when she ran for Congress, in a District Ebsen did not live anywhere near, he contacted her opponent himself and volunteered to make ads against her. The fact that he reached out to oppose her (without even being first asked), in political race that didn’t even involve him just to hurt her, because of her personal life is what was unforgivable to her and I certainly don’t blame her. It destroyed my image of him.
Dudlydoright Dudlydoright 11 months ago
And to add to the list of beloved on screen character actors who weren’t so much off screen, look up dear old Walter Brennen. Wonderful actor who always seemed endearing on whatever screen, but you should check out his personal opinions on race.
JHP bagandwallyfan52 11 months ago
it was pure poli science issues
bagandwallyfan52 19 months ago
I NOTICE THAT CPL .BOYLE LOOKS
LIKE A DIFFERENT PERSON TONIGHT
AT 9PM IN THE EPISODE SUPPLY
SERGEANTS NEVER DIE.
SUPPLY SERGEANTS NEVER DIE IS AN EPISODE OF GOMER PYLE USMC. CPL. BOYLE DOES LOOK
LIKE A DIFFERENT PERSON IN THIS
EPISODE. WHATS GOING ON HERE?
JHP 19 months ago
it was hard road he had after the hillbillies ...:(

Love the show - of course I am from the North:)

Granny had so much spunk - it was scary
bagandwallyfan52 19 months ago
JETHRO WAS THE FUNNIEST CHARACTER ON THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES.
Michael 19 months ago
It's odd, since on the show he pursued so many careers. You'd think that would set him up for jobs later.
Andybandit 19 months ago
That is too bad about him not being able to act.
CaptainDunsel 19 months ago
Baer also had to contend with his size and highly distinctive facial features, which made it difficult to fade into other characters. The accent and speech pattern were put-ons, of course, and could be dropped. But his physicality was hard to disguise.
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bagandwallyfan52 MarkSpeck 19 months ago
In Marvel Comic Books wasn't The
Incredible Hulks name Dr. Bruce
Banner instead of Dr David Banner.
In Marvel Comics The Incredible
Hulk talks but on the TV show he didn't talk at all when he was The
Incredible Hulk.
Jaxter14 CaptainDunsel 19 months ago
“What’s a yute?”.
Moverfan CaptainDunsel 19 months ago
Did you ever see him in Car 54, Where Are You? Herman was a HUNK!
Coldnorth Jaxter14 12 months ago
Yute should look that up in the dictionary. Sorry, couldn’t resist. I get silly at almost 4:00am
harlow1313 19 months ago
Max Baer has an uncanny resemblance to that sex kitten, Jethrine. Va-va-va-voom!
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On Happy Days TRUDY and HARRIET
Look Like Twin Sisters.
Corporal Boyle on Gomer Pyle USMC must have had plastic
surgery AFTER the episode SUPPLY sergeants never die because in the episode Gomer The Star Witness
Corporal Boyle looked different.
I remember that you said that you are a fan of the character MOOSE
ON HAPPY DAYS PLAYED BY
BARRY GREENBERG.
THERE ARE 3 VIDEOS OF MOOSE UNDER THE METV ARTICLE ABOUT
KENT McCORD OF ADAM 12.
THE LAST APPEARANCE OF MOOSE
WAS IN THE HAPPY DAYS EPISODE
BECAUSE SHES THERE AND THE
LAST SCENE OF MOOSE IS WHEN HE HELPS RICHIE CRAM INTO A
PHONE BOOTH WITH POTSIE RALPH
AND 17 OTHER GUYS.
IN Hardware Jungle Ralph Malph
FIXES THE SALT SHAKER THAT
MOOSE IS USING SO THAT ALL OF
THE SALT SPILLS OUT.
ONE OF THE MOST MEMORABLE SCENES IN HAPPY DAYS HISTORY
IS WHEN MOOSE DANCES WITH A
GIRL (CAREY WILLIAMS) AT ARNOLDS DRIVE IN.
I wonder if CAREY WILLIAMS WHO DANCED WITH MOOSE BARRY GREENBERG IS RELATED TO
CAROL WILLIAMS WHO PLAYED
MARILEE IN THE HAPPY DAYS EPISODE CALLED FONZIES NEW
FRIEND WHICH WSS WHEN
STICKS DOWNEY JR (JOHN
ANTHONY BAILEY ) CAME TO
MILWAUKEE in his first appearance.
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