Buddy Ebsen captivated audiences as an actor and dancer across a span of seven decades. The son of a dancer, this pre-med dropout moved to New York to follow in his father’s footsteps and pursue a career in entertainment Appearing on Broadway, in Hollywood films and on television, Buddy was known for his ability to be playful and comedic, as well as serious. This week, we’re going to take a look at some of the roles that defined Buddy Ebsen’s career.
“Captain January”, 1936
Buddy sang and danced alongside Shirley Temple to “At The Codfish Ball” in this film that–at the time–broke box office records.
“Born to Dance”, 1936
Released in the same year, this musical featured a grand finale in which Buddy’s signature dancing style is captured to the tune of “Swingin’ the Jinx Away”.
“Davy Crockett King of the Wild Frontier”, 1955
Buddy Ebsen played Davy Crockett’s trusty companion Georgie Russel in this Disney film about the famed American frontiersman.
“Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, 1961
Buddy played Doc Golightly, a veterinarian from Texas and the husband of Holly Golightly who is played by Audrey Hepburn. In one of the most emotional scenes of the film, Holly breaks things off with her longtime husband. Buddy was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in this film.
“The Beverly Hillbillies”, 1962–1971
Come and listen to a story ’bout a man named Jed…Jed Clampett, that is. Buddy Ebsen played this mountaineer turned overnight millionaire that moved his family to Beverly Hills after striking oil.
“Barnaby Jones”, 1973–1980
Described as “The exploits of milk-swilling, geriatric private eye Barnaby Jones”, Buddy Ebsen did 178 episodes in this popular crime series!
Buddy was cast to play the tin man in “The Wizard of Oz”, until the silver paint used in his costume put him in the hospital causing the role to be recast.
When I think back to my late friends career, I think of how many lives he touched through his performance. Working on one of his final works with him–“Sizzling Cold Case”, a Barnaby Jones murder mystery–was an honor to say the least. Which one of Buddy’s works was your favorite? Tell me in the comments below!
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