On February 17, 2015, I posted an article about the tragic death of child star Bobby Buntrock. Bobby played Harold Baxter on the popular 1960s sitcom Hazel, starring Shirley Booth. On April 7, 1974, Bobby died tragically at the age of 21. He was killed in an automobile accident on a bridge in Keystone, South Dakota. After reading my piece, many people left comments about Bobby and the Hazel series. If you would like to read my 2015 article, click on the link below.
This week I received an email from a lovely woman who went to school with Bobby in 1968. Her name is Beverly Smith and she lives in Santa Maria, California. I phoned Beverly today and she reminisced about Bobby. The two attended Eagle Rock High School in Eagle Rock, California (Los Angeles County) when they were in their mid-teens. Bobby's Hazel days were behind him by then (the series ended in 1966).
Beverly told me that Bobby did not seem different from the other students at the school. To her, he was "just like everyone else." She said he was on the track team and that he did not complete the school year at Eagle Rock High. She also remembers Bobby's younger sister, Stella.
Below are 1968 school year book photos of Bobby. In the second photo, Bobby is shown (centre) with the track team. He was 16 years old when the photo was taken. You can see the "ER" on the tracksuits for Eagle Rock.
I loved that show when I was little and so glad it's back on tv. It makes me happy every day.ReplyDelete
I completely agree....wonderful show...great lessons for young people....and old. :)Delete
I loved the show then ,love it now May the ones that’s no longer with us R.I.pDelete
Thank you Joanne, for your original article and for the update. At age 59, and a lifelong Hazel fan, I was watching reruns and wondered what 'Harold' was up to these days; that's when I found your articles. So very, very sad. I'm glad you cared enough to compile the facts & share with Hazel fans; your efforts are appreciated. Oh, & I didn't know Meredith Baxter was Whitney Blake's daughter! Your article was a great read, thank you again!ReplyDelete
I am nearly 60 now and always LOVED LOVED LOVED the Hazel show. I still enjoy the show in syndication so much even today each time I watch it. Thank you to everyone that contributed to the show .ReplyDelete
I enjoy watching the Hazel reruns,being born in 1959,I never watched the show,but have caught the reruns over the years.Its refreshing to see a clean t.v.show,proving that sex and violence and curse words are not necessary to make a watchable show.thanks for posting this information for others!ReplyDelete
Agree....shame that current TV programming hasn't caught on to the formula.Delete
Thank you so much for taking the time to write this piece and your previous piece in 2015. It happens all the time when one watches an old show—you wonder whatever happened to people—Julie
Hi from South Africa! What an amazing article on an even more amazing TV show. I bought the entire show as a box set of DVDs and have watched all episodes three times already. I was born in 1963 but find the 50s a fascinating era. For my fellow Hazel fans, you can find excellent Shirley Booth movies on YouTube. She was a great actress.ReplyDelete
Regards to all.
I love hazel I watch it daily on AntTv brings back great memories of the 60s I was born in 1962.I really like Mr.B Don Defore great actor.ReplyDelete
I remember watching Hazel as a child and through the years. I have always loved it. I recently found it on a cable channel and began watching it again. On checking the cast info I found that Bobby was one year younger than me. Like others I wondered what happened to him after the show and am now devastated to see he died so tragically and young.ReplyDelete
I have taken great notice in how much my 5 five year old grandson looks like him and has the same facial expressions and child reactions. It's do amazing to me.
Great show. It is nice to see a show that is set when people still had family values and respect for one another.ReplyDelete
Loved Hazel and Bobby was a great actor as Harold BaxterReplyDelete
Oh how I loved Hazel as a kid I found it on Antenna Tv a few weeks ago and it is still as wonderful as my memories. It is so sad and tragic that Bobby Buntrock died so young and mostly never experieced life. I am 63 so many of life's wonders happen after your early 20s.ReplyDelete
I wonder if Shirley and bobby were close off set as well on . Wonder if Shirley went to bobby funeralReplyDelete
Loved this show, Hazel. All the actors are pretty much gone now but left indelible memories. Still watch the re runs out here on west coast. Life back then was so uncomplicated, it seemed.ReplyDelete
Until I read this I never knew what happened to bobby. My name is Fred Ward and I believe it was 1965 but I am the one who took the summer every Saturday at Moonlight Roller Rink in Glendale, Ca. on San Fernando Rd.and taught Bobby how to skate, we became good friends, we had a lot in common.I lost track of him and did not know he died so young. We even went to Eagle Rock High together. Rest in peace my friend. See you again someday. Your buddy Fred.ReplyDelete
My mom was an actress back in the 1950's and '60's (a stand-in for Maureen O'Hara) and she once told me that Shirley Booth and Bobby Buntrock did, indeed, have a special bond (chemistry) on-set. Shirley never had children of her own and she sort of "adopted" Bobby while on-set of the show. In fact, the entire cast had a tremendous chemistry between themselves on-set, a very real family-like atmospheric relationship among themselves that greatly contributed to the success of the show. They truly loved one another, especially Shirley loving Bobby as "one of her own". You can see it in every episode.ReplyDelete
Well according to Meredith Baxter in her biography she states that her mother Whitney Blake who played Dorthy Baxter, did not like being on the show because she thought she was being under utilize and that Shirley Booth would have her in drab clothes so would not upstage her. Meredith also stated that her mother was not a very warm mother. She was older and had children not the image she wanted to project so they could not call her mom. If they did she would ignore them. So much for the loving family image portrayed on the show!Delete
After I read the bio I could see what Blake was referring to. Very rarely did an episode center on her and usually the main conversations centered on George and Hazel. She usually had short parts and smiling at either Hazel George or Harold! If you noticed some of the costumes she wore were repeated in subsequent episodes.
thank you for your original article and the update! I watch the show on Antenna TV! So glad it's back, along with other classics from the golden age of television.ReplyDelete