Max Baer Jr: ‘Beverly Hills Hillbillies’ actor who’s last surviving member of main cast

Max Baer Jr: 'Beverly Hills Hillbillies' actor who's last surviving member of main cast

With a career that has spanned over seven decades, Max Baer Jr. is undoubtedly a living legend. The iconic actor made his mark in the film world during the 1960s and continued to captivate audiences through the 1980s.

Despite hailing from a renowned family, he carved his path to fame, opting for a different career endeavour from that of his father. He ventured into a different field and successfully established himself there. Keep on reading as Skabash! delves into the history of the iconic Max Baer Jr., who has graced TV screens in America and across the world.

Max Baer Jr’s biography

Max Baer Jr.

Maximilian Adelbert Baer Jr., born on December 4, 1937, is a well-known American actor, producer, comedian and director famous for his portrayal of “Jethro Bodine”, the not-so-bright relative of “Jed Clampett” (played by Buddy Ebsen), on the television series, The Beverly Hillbillies.

Baer was born in Oakland, California, and is the son of the boxing champion Max Baer and Mary Ellen Sullivan. His paternal grandfather had German Jewish roots, while his mother’s ancestry was Irish. He has a brother – James Manny Baer – and a sister – Maude Baer. His uncle was the boxer and actor, Buddy Baer.

While schooling at Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento, he excelled in sports. He received commendation letters in four different sports and won the junior title at the Sacramento Open golf tournament twice. He later teamed up with Charlie Sifford and won the pro-am tournament at the 1968 Andy Williams – San Diego Open.

Baer served as a medical technician in the U.S. Air Force at Gunter Air Force Base, Alabama. After his military service, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Santa Clara University, with a minor in philosophy.

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Max Baer Jr’s career

Max Baer Jr. face

Baer’s acting journey began in 1949 when he appeared in “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” at the Blackpool Pavilion in England. He entered the professional acting world in 1960 at Warner Bros., making appearances on various television programmes such as Maverick, Surfside 6, Hawaiian Eye, Cheyenne, The Roaring ’20s, and 77 Sunset Strip. However, it was his role in The Beverly Hillbillies in 1962 that catapulted his career to new heights.

Even during the nine-year run of The Beverly Hillbillies  Baer managed to take on other roles and appeared in shows like Vacation Playhouse and Love, American Style, as well as the movie, A Time for Killing. After the show’s cancellation in 1971, he faced challenges due to typecasting and this led him to focus on feature films both in front of and behind the camera.

He wrote, produced and played a significant role in the drama Macon County Line (1974), which became one of the highest-grossing movies relative to its budget at the time. Additionally, he wrote, produced and directed The Wild McCullochs (1975).

Baer showcased his innovative approach by using the title of a popular song as the anchor for his 1976 film Ode to Billy Joe, which he also directed. The film’s success inspired a trend in the motion picture industry, with many subsequent movies adopting song titles as their names. He further pursued creative endeavours, such as attempting to develop a Beverly Hillbillies-themed hotel and casino but the project faced challenges and delays due to legal issues and zoning conflicts.

In 2014, Baer sued CBS as he alleged that a secret deal with a Des Moines-based restaurant chain was interfering with his plans to capitalise on his role as Jethro Bodine from The Beverly Hillbillies.

Max Baer Jr movies

Max Baer Jr. in a movie

Below are some of the movies and TV shows Jaer has featured in, according to his IMDb profile:

  1. Maverick (1960): In this TV series, Baer played multiple roles, including “Taker”, “Chuck” and “Brazos”. Maverick follows the adventures of two brothers, Bret and Bart Maverick, as they navigated the Old West.
  2. Surfside 6 (1960–1961): In this detective drama series, Baer took on the roles of “Joe Wilk” and “Party Guest”. The show centres around a group of private investigators who operate out of their houseboat moored at Surfside 6 in Miami Beach.
  3. Cheyenne (1960–1961): In Cheyenne, Baer appeared in this production as multiple characters – “Callow”, “Bert McGuire” and “Pete”.
  4. Hawaiian Eye (1960–1961): In this crime drama series set in Hawaii, Baer portrayed characters “Ali” and “Bill Gorham”. The drama follows a private detective agency operating on the beautiful Hawaiian islands.
  5. Bronco (1961): Baer played the character “Cowboy”.
  6. Sugarfoot (1961): In Sugarfoot, Baer appeared as “Frank”. This series focused on the adventures of Tom “Sugarfoot” Brewster, a young cowboy and lawyer.
  7. Follow the Sun (1962): In this adventure series, Baer portrayed the character “Tom Baylor”. The show follows the travels and escapades of two magazine writers.
  8. It’s a Man’s World (1962): Baer played the role of 1st GI in this comedy-drama TV series. The show centres around four young men living together and exploring themes of male camaraderie and masculinity.
  9. The Circle Family (1982): In this movie, Baer appeared as “Hearst Circle”.
  10. Matt Houston (1984): In “Matt Houston”, Baer played the character “Andy MacKay”. This detective series starred Lee Horsley as the title character, a private investigator solving cases in Los Angeles.

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Max Baer Jr’s net worth

As of 2023, Baer Jr is said to have a net worth of $50 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

Max Baer Jr family

Baer’s father is Max Baer, while the name of his mother is Mary Ellen Sullivan. He has two siblings: James Manny Baer and Maudie Marian Baer.

Max Baer Jr. with his family

Max Baer Snr

Maximilian Adelbert Baer, known as Max Baer, was a prominent American professional boxer and the world heavyweight champion for a brief period. Born on February 11, 1909, in Omaha, Nebraska, he came from a diverse heritage. His father, Jacob Baer, was of Jewish descent, with his grandparents being Jewish emigrants from Alsace-Lorraine and Bohemia. Baer’s father, Jacob Baer, worked as the manager of the meat-packing plant for the Graden Mercantile Company in Durango, Colorado. His mother, Dora Bales, was of Scots-Irish ancestry.

Baer had several siblings, including an elder sister, Frances May Baer; a younger sister, Bernice Jeanette Baer; and a younger brother, Jacob Henry Baer, who later became a boxer-turned-actor known as “Buddy Baer”. Additionally, he had an adopted brother, August “Augie” Baer.

Max Baer Sr

Baer’s boxing career reached its peak when he became the world heavyweight champion on June 14, 1934, after defeating Primo Carnera. However, his reign as the champion lasted only a year as he lost the title to James J. Braddock on June 13, 1935, in a 15-round decision fight. Despite his relatively short reign, Baer remained a well-known figure in boxing history, thanks to his engaging personality, charisma, and colourful character both inside and outside the ring.

Beyond his boxing career, Baer also ventured into acting and made appearances in several films during the 1940s and 1950s. He continued to be remembered for his contributions to both sports and entertainment until his demise on November 21, 1959. Max Baer’s legacy lives on in the annals of boxing history as a talented fighter and one of the memorable figures of his time.

Max Baer Jr’s age

Max Baer Jr. now

Baer was born on December 4, 1937. He is currently 85 years old and he will be 86 years old in 2023.

Max Baer Jr now

Baer Jr, although elderly in age, is still alive and kicking. According to recent reports, the veteran actor is the only living member of The Beverly Hillbillies following the death of co-star, Donna Douglas, in 2015.

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