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Last Updated: Monday, 7 July, 2003, 13:50 GMT 14:50 UK
Beverly Hillbillies star Ebsen dies
Buddy Ebsen with Tin Man shots
Buddy Ebsen was cast in the 1930s film The Wizard of Oz
Buddy Ebsen, the actor who played Jed Clampett in the popular 1960s TV series The Beverly Hillbillies, has died in the US aged 95.

Ebsen, who was admitted to hospital last month with an undisclosed illness, died on Sunday morning, said a spokeswoman from the Torrance Memorial Medical Center in southern California.

He started his showbusiness career as a dancer, and featured in a number of MGM musicals, as well as providing the real-life dance moves for Mickey Mouse in a 1930s cartoon.

The actor was best known for his role in 1960s comedy The Beverly Hillbillies as farmer Jed Clampett, who moved with his family to Hollywood after striking oil.

The show attracted as many as 60 million viewers a week during its nine-year run on the CBS network.

'Luckiest actor'

Mr Ebsen later became the star of the detective show Barnaby Jones, which ran from 1973 to 1980.

He said in 1978: "I'm the luckiest actor alive. There's not anyone I'd trade jobs with right now."

Mr Ebsen was born Christian Rudolph Ebsen in Belleville, Illinois, on 2 April, 1908. He learned dancing at the dance school his father ran.

Buddy Ebsen and sister Vilma
Ebsen and his sister Vilma danced together in the 1930s

He later moved to Florida, and was studying to become a doctor when financial problems forced him to quit.

He decided to try his luck as a dancer in New York, arriving with only $26 in his pocket. He performed with his sister Vilma, dancing in a number of Broadway shows.

Allergic

He also danced with child star Shirley Temple in the film Captain January.

Disney animators filmed his dancing in front of a grid as a model for a dancing Mickey Mouse in the Silly Symphony cartoons.

Mr Ebsen's big break almost came in 1939 when he was cast as the Tin Man in the classic film version of The Wizard of Oz - but was allergic to the aluminium paint used in the make-up.

In the 1950s he starred as Davy Crockett's sidekick Fess Parker in a Disney TV show, and his role as Doc Golightly in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) led to the role of Jed Clampett.

In his 90s, Mr Ebsen carved out a new career as a writer, penning the novel Kelly's Quest, and an autobiography, The Other Side of Oz.

Mr Ebsen was married twice, and had six daughters and a son.


SEE ALSO:
Obituary: Buddy Ebsen
07 Jul 03  |  Entertainment
Senator attacks hillbilly show
26 Feb 03  |  Entertainment


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