Full name, Christian Rudolph Ebsen, Jr.; born April 2, 1908, in Belleville, IL; died July 6, 2003, in Torrance, CA. Actor and dancer. Though best known for his comic role as Jed Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies, the lankyEbsen began his career as a dancer on Broadway in the late 1920s, teaming upwith his sister Vilma. The duo appeared in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musical Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935), after which Vilma retired. Ebsen then turned to acting and was featured in such films as Banjo on My Knee andThe Kid from Texas in the 1930s. After refusing a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1938, Ebsen faced difficulty landing film roles and thus returned to the stage until making his mark in the television series Davy Crockett in the mid-1950s. Ebsen starred in The Beverly Hillbilliesfrom 1962 to 1971. Two years later Ebsen returned to serial television, playing the title role of a private investigator in Barnaby Jones. The showalso enjoyed a long run, airing from 1973 to 1980. Ebsen was not only an actor but also a writer. In addition to penning several plays, including Turnto the Right and The Champagne General (1964), Ebsen cowrote a nonfiction book, Polynesian Concept, chronicling his participation in asailing race from Los Angeles to Honolulu in 1968. Later, in 2001, Ebsen self-published his first work of fiction, the novel Kelly's Quest. He alsowrote The Other Side of Oz, an autobiography.
July 6, 2003: Ebsen dies on July 6, 2003, in Torrance, California, ofan undisclosed illness. He was 95. Source: Associated Press, http://customwire.ap.org, July 7, 2003; New York Times, July 8, 2003, p. B1(L).