Mostly Credited As: Buddy Ebsen
Birth Name: Christian Rudolph Ebsen Jr.
Date Of Birth: April 02, 1908 (Age 95)
Country Of Birth: USA
Birth Place: Belleville, Illinois
Date Of Death: July 06, 2003
Cause Of Death: pneumonia (Torrance, CA)
Height: 6' 3" (1.9 m)
It's a classic case: the son refuses to follow in the father's footsteps -- just on principle. And so the stage and screen nearly lost one of their major talents, Buddy Ebsen, to the medical profession.
Born Christian Ebsen, Jr., in Belleville, Illinois, on April 2, Buddy Ebsen grew up in Orlando, Florida. His family moved there when the youngster was 10, and his father opened a dancing school.
But young Ebsen spurned dancing lessons. Instead, he went to the University of Florida and Rollins College to prepare for medical school. En route, he did an about face -- and decided to dance after all.
In New York he won his first Broadway role as a dancer in the 1928 Ziegfeld production of "Whoopee" wíth Eddie Cantor. His sister became his dancing partner, and for several years the team of Vilma and Buddy Ebsen drew attention in club engagements, on road tours and in musicals including "Flying Colors," a top revue of 1932.
Hollywood beckoned, and Ebsen's dancing style graced a multitude of pictures. Then, returning to the stage as a single, he was featured in additional musicals.
Ebsen later tried his hand at songwriting -- and once again he succeeded, His published tunes include "Wild Card," "Baby Blues," "Squeezin' Polka," "Handsome Stranger," "Snowshoe Thompson" and "Behave Yourself."
As a dramatic actor in motion pictures, Ebsen had major roles in "Attack," "Between Heaven and Hell," "The House," "Night People," "Breakfast at Tiffany's," "The Interns," "Mail Order Bride" and "The Family Band,"
His most famous television characterization before "The Beverly Hillbillies" was his co-starring role in "Davy Crockett,"
Ebsen was a member of the cast of "Andersonvilie Trial," the Lewis Freedman-produced, George C. Scott-directed drama which received wide national critical acclaim when shown on the Educational Television Network,
In 1971, a busy year for him, he went before the cameras in Metromedia's "Movie-of-the-Week," "The President's Plane Is Missing," enacting the role of the Vice President of the U,S, He guest-starred in several television films, among which were episodes of "Gunsmoke," "Hawaii Five-O," "Bonanza," and "Alias Smith and Jones." He was the host and narrator for "The Great Queen Mary Caper,"
Additionally, never neglecting the theatre, he starred in "Take Her, She's Mine," a successful comedy in which real-life relationships were played by his wife, Nancy, and his talented daughter, Bonnie.
Ebsen was a student of politics, literature, music, art and United States history. He was also an expert sailor as he displayed when he skippered his 35-foot Catamaran, Polynesian Concept, to victory in the 1968 Trans-Pacific Multi-Hull Race from Los Angeles to Honolulu.
The Ebsens had a ranch in Malibu Canyon and an ocean-front home in Newport Beach, California, where he kept the Polynesian Concept moored several months a year.
Ebsen met his wife, Nancy, while both were serving in the Coast Guard during World War II. They had four daughters, Susannah, 25, Cathy, 23, Bonnie, 21, Kiersten, 15, and a son, Dustin, 14, Ebsen also had two daughters by a previous marriage --Elizabeth and Alix.
He passed away on 2003 from pneumonia.