FAD friend Julie Canfield wrote me last year regarding Bea
for clarification of the following, "There were a couple of episodes
towards the end of the time she was on Petticoat Junction, that she was off the
show and then returned. When she was in the "hospital room," with
Betty Jo, Steve, and Doc Stuart, she was only filmed from behind. It was her
voice, not her body." I'm not sure, Julie, but I do know that television
mother of the universe, June Lockhart, replaced her as the female lead in the
show. Thankfully, they didn't give her the actual KATE part, but gave her
Findadeath.com friend Terry Fielding writes in: The
Bea Benederet story mentioned that her last appearance was filmed with the use of doubles. That's true, but she phoned in her last lines that were dubbed over the double. Loyal to the
end, her real husband Eugene Twombly died a week after Bea, of heart failure. Their son was Jack
Bannon, who was on Lou Grant. Thanks, Terry.
Irene is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, in Santa Monica, CA. I love the fact
that the name GRANNY is on her tomb.
UPDATE December 2004, from Findadeath friend Fred: You might want to mention in your notes on Irene Ryan
that she left her estate to establish a scholarship fund for student actors.
In fact when I was in grad school, I auditioned for one of the "Irene Ryan
Scholarships" (didn't get it though). As I remember the
estate was several millions of dollars, and as far as I know is still around
today. Thanks, Fred!
August 28, 1921 - February 3, 1991
"But, Chief, that's extraordinary!"
I loved her as Miss Jane. The total dyke. And so she was. Raymond Bailey (Mr.
Drysdale) used to call her "slim." Interestingly, her real middle name
really was Jane.
I did get to speak to Nancy once on the telephone. She was doing a radio show
in Chicago, and I phoned in to ask her about her relationship with Buddy Ebsen.
You see, Nancy ran for Congress in her native Pennsylvania. She got a few of her
celeb friends to endorse her, and made some remark that alluded to the fact that
all the Hillbillies endorsed her. Nancy was a Democrat, Buddy Ebsen a
Republican. When Buddy got wind of it, he made a 30-second radio endorsement for
Nancy's opposition. He stated, "Hey Nancy, you're too liberal for me. I've
got to go with Bud Schuster" (her opponent). Needless to say, it blew up
into a huge media event. Nancy lost the election, and was very bitter. I think
it was unnecessary of Buddy to Butt in, but I do see his point, sort of.
Findadeath.com friend Kevin Hassell pipes in: "Nancy Kulp was also on Sanford and Son for a little while. She played a boarder in the
Sanford Arms, and she and Fred would trade insults on a regular basis. Just thought you'd like to know!"
As always, thank you, Kevin.
Does anyone else think that the song
"Come on Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners - sounds like
Jane Hathaway singing? Tura lura lura...
Nancy normally lived in Port Royal, PA. She came down with cancer of the
larynx in 1989, and for some reason, went to Palm Springs, to a friends house,
to die. I heard it was awful, like her face was eaten away by the disease.
Terrible. She died in a house on Bristo
Wanna see the
It was February 3rd, 1991. She was
cremated, and her ashes are with family. Or someone.
She was 69 years old.
Thanks to Findadeath.com friend David Fowles for the Nancy pictures.
September 26, 1933 - January 1, 2015
"But Granny, they ain't varmints, they is my critters!"
RIP - Details to come soon.
Elly May Clampett, born Doris Smith, died on
January 1, 2015 from complications of pancreatic cancer.
to Shelly Brown of The Browns gospel singers.
Trivia: A few years ago, Donna Douglas sued Disney over the film Sister
Act. Supposedly, Donna's production company owned rights to a very
similar project, A Nun in the Closet, and thought the Whoopi
Goldberg film was a direct rip off. I don't know how that ended. Anyone?
Findadeath.com friend Brad Davidson sends this in: I was reading your "Beverly Hillbillies" piece and,
specifically, the Donna Douglas part. In it, you indicated Donna Douglas had sued Disney, claiming their production of Sister Act infringed on rights
of a piece she owned.
Well, I found the scoop. In 1992, the production company owned by Donna Douglas and Curt Wilson filed a lawsuit against Disney claiming Sister Act was
lifted from one of their screenplays. They claimed there were over 100 similarities between the two. However, a federal court in Los Angeles said there
were not enough similarities to constitute copyright infringement and Donna lost the case. The decision was appealed but the decision was upheld.
Just thought I would clarify. I found this information in the July 2, 2000 issue of the Pittsburgh
In the Movieland Wax Museum, they
statues of The Beverly Hillbillies.
Don't you find wax museums disturbing,
The real Hillbilly house is located next door to the
Reagan's, in Bel Air.
I found it ironic that Ron and Nancy live next door to the Hillbilly house. They
are more than a little like the Drysdales, don't you think? Unfortunately,
the new owners of the house had it completely revamped, and its no longer
visible from the street, but this
is what it used to look like.
For the life of me I
cannot remember where the Drysdale house is, but this
is the picture I took.
Findadeath.com friend Harry adds some fun
trivia about the "Beverly Hillbillies" mansion: The 20,000-square-foot mansion in Bel Air was built as a surprise gift for a rich guy's wife. He planned to surprise her with the mansion by saying they were going to a housewarming party. As they were heading down the *long* driveway, the wife turned to the husband and said, "Who would ever live in such a pretentious home?"
Can you imagine what the hubby was thinking inside? I think it would be along the lines of, "Oh shit!" At any rate, they did move into the house but sold it after one year.
Cool info, Harry. And cute poochie. Everyone, meet Andy. Andy, meet
In May of 1993, before he made complete schlock television (which I love, by
the way), Jerry Springer did a week of shows in San Francisco. One of them was a
Hillbilly reunion, with Buddy Ebsen, Donna Douglas, Max Baer (for the first time
ever), and Louis Nye who played Sonny Drysdale in an episode or two. My friend
Steve Cox penned the definitive book about the show, and he was a guest too. I
begged Steve to let me go, and he said okay, so I flew there. It was fantastic.
Through a bizarre turn of events, I had dinner the first night. Max is an offensive human being,
and got ripped on vodka. Every once in a while he would laugh, and Jethro would
be sitting at the table across from me. Weird. So cool though. In the middle of
dinner, I excused myself and hit the payphone. I called everyone I could in 5
minutes to brag, "You will NEVER guess who I am having dinner with right
now!" Max started fucking with us when he got more drunk, pretending he
decided that he wasn't going to do the show after all. That got really
annoying, but all in all, it was great. I remember Max saying something about
how he and Irene Ryan used to get a kick on the set, joking about how naíve
Donna Douglas was. They found it quite charming, but still kind of funny. He
spoke of Nancy Kulp's dykedom, and the fact that Donna Douglas slathers on
makeup with a trowel. He did tell one story about how he and Reenie were doing a
scene together once, and for some reason unbeknownst to him, she kicked him with
one of those army boots she wore. He asked her (not so politely) why? She
pointed upwards, "You were in my key light."
The next day, I had breakfast with Steve and Louis
Nye, as you do, where he reminisced about
his appearance as ZOMBO, on the Munsters. Well, actually, I reminded him of it.
He had no memory of it at all, but he was a sweet guy. We met up with Buddy
Ebsen, who looked like he was a thousand years old
back then, and Max again.
We sat in their trailer, until they got
ready for the show. Jerry Springer was nice. I met him a few times (once, in
front of Nicole Simpson's house - honest to God), and Donna
Douglas, the freaky one. (thanks to Charlie, for
lightening that one up).
She lived in a world of her own
- a very Christian world. Nothing wrong with that, mind you, she's just a bit
odd about it. She was in a movie with Elvis, and I think she screwed him,
because now if you ask her about him, she freaks. Anyway, I got to chat with
them all, and it was an experience I will never forget. The show ended up being
pretty good, except for Max blathering on about that stupid casino he wants to
build, which he is still going on about.
Findadeath.com friend Robert sends us the link to Max's casino project. Thanks, Robert!
Findadeath.com friend Cecilia sends in this great shot of Max. Mm.
June 2003: Recently Earl
Scruggs, the co-composer of the Beverly Hillbillies theme, received a star
on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Donna
and Max attended.
A few years ago, they made a feature length movie called The Beverly
Hillbillies. Cloris Leachman played Granny too well; the late Jim Varney
played Jed Clampett - not very well. Lily Tomlin was flawless as Jane Hathaway
(a little too good), and handsome Deidrich
Bader from The Drew Carey Show played Jethro.
It was largely forgettable, except for a fantastic appearance by my
absolute favorite country singer, Dolly Parton. Buddy made an appearance as
Barnaby Jones. That was amusing.
I guess I am obligated to mention that made for TV movie, The Return of
the Beverly Hillbillies. Buddy, Donna, Nancy - they were the only ones
in it. Imogene Coca played Granny's mother (yes), and, oh, it was just painful. Usually I can
still feel a tad nostalgic, but it was dreadful. Just dreadful.
May 6, 1904 - April 15, 1980
"We want you to know how happy we are to have you, your handsome
nephew, your lovely daughter, and your beautiful money er mother."
October 5, 1905 - February 8, 1987
"Listen, to get these peasants to move, I'd dance the Watusi with a
keg of nitroglycerin."
Mr. Drysdale, Raymond Bailey, died in Laguna Niguel California, on April 15,
1980, of a heart attack. He was 74, and one of the most miserable people to be
around. Almost nobody liked him. Harriet MacGibbon, who played his wife, could
slap on both false eyelashes with her eyes shut. She died on February 8, 1987,
of a massive heart attack. Don't know where she was living at the time.
MacRae, who played Billie Jo
Bradley died on July 14th, of brain cancer. She was 56 years old.
She had one operation to remove a tumor, but it had returned. Her family
were with her when she died, in her home, and Meredeth stipulated that she
wanted no funeral, but a big bash. Thanks to Findadeath.com Mary Zorn for
Buddy Ebsen died on July 6, 2003. Check
out his story HERE.
Related Trivia: In 1991, Max Baer won $2 million in a lawsuit against ABC-TV.
He had bought the rights to Madonna's song, "Like A Virgin," and
ABC screwed around with the rights. I assume there was going to be some movie
based on the song, but I've never heard of it.
Max used to date Sharon Tate, before she became Mrs. Roman Polanski, and one
of the most famous murder victims of all time. Sharon played a secretary at the
Commerce Bank of Beverly Hills, in about 14 episodes. Her name was Janet Trego,
and she wore a brunette wig. When I asked Max about her, his only reply was that
she was a "sweet girl." One other very well known tragedy Max was
associated with, was Dorothy Stratten. She was the murdered Playboy Bunny of
which the movie Star 80 was based. Max was a pal of Paul Snyder,
Dorothy's psycho boyfriend. Dorothy was trying to call off her relationship
with Paul, and Paul consulted Max about it.
Findadeath.com friend Stephanie Amos
sends this quote: "According to Max Baer Jr. he (Paul) came over, upset,
questioning how to get her back. Max replied "Hey, I told you man, you
treat her like crap and you bring her here (LA) and I said you're going to blow
it. I told him to take her back to the God damnned Vancouver." He (Paul) sat
down on the sofa and started crying. Thanks, Stephanie.
Trivia: Findadeath.com verygoodfriend Tami Dingle
sent in a couple of pictures, one being of her favorite (honest, it is) cook
her favorite (honest it is) game,
and her favorite (honest it is) picture of Nancy
Kulp as the bathing beauty.
Thanks so much, Tami.
I want to thank Steve Cox for information he provided for this story, Steve
Goldstein of Beneath Los
Angeles, and David Fowles for their photographs.