BUDDY EBSEN... was born "Christian Ebsen, Jr." in 1908 in Belleville,
Illinois. His father owned a dancing studio, but Ebson decided that he
would rather pursue the field of medicine and went to the University of
Florida and Rollins College to study pre-med. However, he soon changed
his mind about dancing, went to New York, and won a Broadway role as a
dancer in a 1928 Ziegfeld production.
Ebson was the original Tin Man in the "Wizard of Oz," but he fell ill due to the poisonous silver makeup used which infected his eyes and his lungs. As a result, he was unable to complete production and the role was recast. The anniversary reissue of the "Wizard of Oz" video contains a dance number with Ebson as the Tin Man.
His notable television career started off with playing Fess Parker's side-kick, George Russel in the series "Davey Crockett" and then really took off when he became "Jed Clampett, millionaire." Less than two years following the demise of the Hillbillies, Ebson landed the role of detective Barnaby Jones, which he played for the next seven years. Outside of acting, Buddy Ebson is an avid student of United States history and even wrote a play about the President called "The Chamapgne General."