Monday, December 19, 2022

Whatever happened to the cast of Green Acres?

During the 1960s and early 1970s, CBS featured three successful rural-based comedies: The Beverly Hillbillies (1962-1971), Petticoat Junction (1963-1970) and Green Acres.   American TV producer and screenwriter, Paul Henning created The Beverly Hillbillies.  He and his wife, Ruth, created Petticoat Junction, and Henning was the executive producer of Green Acres.  The rural comedies were so intertwined that some of the characters crossed over from one to another.

Green Acres, starring Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor, aired on the network for six seasons, from September 15, 1965 to April 27, 1971.  The show received good ratings, but it was cancelled due to CBS's decision to  purge its rural shows in favour of urban based shows such as All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

On Green Acres, Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor starred as a couple from New York City who move from their penthouse to a dilapidated country farm in Hooterville.  It was the reverse of The Beverly Hillbillies.          

Eddie and Eva were both singers, and they sang the catchy opening theme song on Green Acres.



Eddie Albert was born Edward Albert Heimberger in Rock Island, Illinois on April 22, 1906,  He was raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota and attended the University of Minnesota, where he majored in business.

When the stock market crashed in 1929, Eddie  abandoned his business career.  During the Depression, he was forced to take odd jobs.  He worked as a circus trapeze flier, an insurance salesman and a nightclub singer before becoming a stage and radio actor.  He changed his last name because he was often introduced as "Eddie Hamburger."

In 1933, Eddie moved to New York City, where he co-hosted a radio show for three years.   He made his Broadway debut in O Evening Star, and was later offered a film contract by Warner Brothers.  The up-and-coming actor launched his film career in the 1938 Hollywood version of Brother Rat with Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman.  During the course of his film career, Eddie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Gregory Peck's photographer in the 1953 Audrey Hepburn film, Roman Holiday.  He also received an Academy Award nomination for his part in The Heartbreak Kid, a 1972 Neil Simon comedy.

Eddie Albert was one of the earliest performers on television.  In June of 1936, he even appeared in RCA/NBC's private live performance in New York City of their experimental all electronic television system 

In 1952, Eddie starred in his own CBS sitcom, Leave it to Larry, which was cancelled after 11 episodes. By 1953, he had his own daytime variety program, The Eddie Albert Show, on the same network.  Eddie was very active on TV during the 1950s and 1960s, appearing in episodes of many shows, including The Loretta Young Show (3 episodes from 1954-1958) ss well as Dr. Kildare (1963), Mr. Novak (1964) and Rawhide (1964). In 1968, Eddie delivered a dramatic reading on the Ed Sullivan Show.   

Nevertheless, Eddie Albert is best remembered for his role on Green Acres, in which he portrayed Oliver Wendell Douglas, a city slicker attorney from New York City.  Oliver yearned for the countryside and  farm living, much to the dismay of his wife, Lisa, played by Eva Gabor.  The couple moved to Hooterville, a fictional backwater town, where Oliver became a well-dressed gentleman farmer.  

Eddie Albert played the role of Oliver Wendell Doughs in all 170 episodes of Green Acres from 1965 to 1971, as well as 12 episodes of Petticoat Junction (1965-1968) and a 1968 episode of The Beverly Hillbillies.

In the 1970s, after Green Acres, Eddie appeared in episodes of Columbo (1971), Here's Lucy (1973), and Kung Fu (1974}.  From 1975 to 1978, he starred as ex-cop Frank MacBride, alongside Robert Wagner, in the crime/drama Switch.  In the 1980s, Eddie guest-starred on Highway to Heaven (1986), Falcon Crest (1987), Murder, She Wrote (1988) and Thirtysomething (1989).  In 1983, he had a two-episode stint as Jack Boland on the daytime soap General Hospital.

In 1995, Eddie was diagnosed with Alzheimer's diseases.  He died of pneumonia on May 26, 2005 at the age of 99.  He passed away in his home in Pacific Palisades, California.

Eddie and his wife, Margo, a Mexican-American actress and dancer, were married on December 5, 1945.  Margo Albert died of brain cancer on July 17, 1985.

Eddie and Margo had a son, Edward Laurance Albert (born February 20, 1951), who also became an actor.  The couple also adopted a daughter, Maria, who was her father's business manager.  Their son, known professionally as Edward Albert, starred opposite Goldie Hawn in the 1972 film Butterflies Are Free, for which he was awarded a Golden Globe.  The younger Albert died of lung cancer on September 22, 2006 at the age of 55.  He had cared for his ailing father before his own death.  

Eddie Albert was a committed environmentalist and philanthropist.


Eva Gabor was the youngest of the three famous Hungarian-born Gabor sisters.  She and her sisters, Magda and Zsa Zsa were actresses and socialites.  
Eva was also a successful businesswoman.  She marketed clothing, beauty products and wigs.

During the 1950s, Eva had small parts n feature films such as The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954), starring Elizabeth Taylor

In the 1950s, Eva had TV roles in The Philco Television Playhouse, Kraft Theatre and The Further Adventures of Ellery Queen. In 1953, she was given her own television talk show, The Eva Gabor Show, which lasted only one season.  She appeared in two episodes of The Ann Sothern Show, one episode in 1959 and the other in 1960.

In the 1960s, Eva guest-starred in episodes of The Defenders (1961), The Dick Powell Thaeatre (1961) and Burke's Law (1963).  In 1965, she won the leading female role on Green Acres, a hit television show,  Eva played Lisa Douglas, a pampered woman who "adored her penthouse view" in Manhattan.  She loved Park Avenue and Times Square.  She did not want to leave New York and was a fish out of water in Hooterville.  From 1965 to 1971, Eva appeared in all 170 episodes of the series. 

In 1968, Eva guest-starred on The Beverly Hillbillies as Lisa an episode called "The Thanksgiving Spirit" (Season 7, Episode 10, Air Date: November 27, 1968).  In the episode, the Clampetts spend Thanksgiving in Hooterville.  Eva also had a guest spot in a 1968 episode of Here's Lucy, starring Lucille Ball.

In 1971, Eva Gabor appeared on The Red Skelton Hour in an episode entitled "Freddie's Country Home" (Season 20, Episode 18, Air Date: February 1, 1971).  She also played a role in two episodes of Fantasy Island (1978-1981) and three episodes of The Love Boat (1977-1986).

In the 1980s, Eva, appeared on fourth season episode of Hart to Hart, starring Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers.  Eva played the role of Aunt Renee. in an episode is entitled "With this Hart I Thee Wed." (Season 4, Episode 2, Air Date: October 12, 1982).  Eva was also a guess star in a 1984 episode of Hotel.  In 1992, Eva reprised her Lisa Douglas role in an episode of the comedy "Honey, I'm Home."  

Eva did voice-over work for Disney animated classics.  She provided the voice for Duchess and Miss Bianca in The Aristocats, The Rescuers (1977) and The Rescuers Down Under.(1990.   Eva was a panelist on Match Game, hosted by Gen Rayburn.  From 1983 to 1984, she appeared on The Match Game Hollywood Squares Hour, starring Rayburn and Jon Bauman

Eva was married and divorced five times.  She had no biological children, but was stepmother to two daughters, Mary and Joanne, from her marriage to Dick Brown, her fourth husband.  She had an on-off relationship with actor Glenn Ford between marriages.  According to IMDb, Eva "resided platonically" with  television host Merv Griffin for several years until her death.  She was a frequent guest on his talk show.

Eva Gabor passed away on July 4, 1995 at the age of 76.  She died in Los Angeles of respiratory failure and pneumonia, following a fall in a bathtub while vacationing in Mexico.   


Tom Lester Eb Dawson, the farmhand of Oliver Wendell Douglas on Green Acres.  At one point, Tom appeared in all three rural shows on CBS.

Thomas William Lester was born in Laurel, 1938.  He grew up on his grandfather's farm.

Tom graduated from the University of Mississippi with a degree in chemistry,  He taught science and technology at a school in Purrcell, Oklahoma before moving to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.  In Hollywood, he befriended radio and character actress Lurene Tuttle.  She became his acting coach and suggested that he work with Little Theater.  He took her advice and began acting in productions at the North Hollywood Playhouse.

In the early 1960s, Tom appeared in a play with Petticoat Junction star Linda Kaye Henning, daughter of CBS producer Paul Henning.  This led to his auditioning for the role of Eb Dawson, and he beat out about 400 other actors for the part.

After Green Acres, Tom guess-starred in episodes of such series as Love, American Style, Marcus Welby, M.D. (1974)., Little House on the Prairie (1981) and Knight Rider (1982).  He also reprised his role as Eb Dawson on Return to Green Acres, a 1990 TV movie that reunited most of the cast of the series, including Eddie Albert, Eva Gabor, Alvy Moore, Sid Melton, Pat Buttram, and Frank Cady.

On April 20, 2020, Tom died of complications from Parkinson's disease in the Nashville home of his fiancĂ©e and long-term caregiver.  He was 81 years old at the time of his passing.


Elmer Calvin "Hank" Peterson was born in Springville, Alabama on October 9, 1888.  He was a musician and an actor.  He originally intended to be a serious pianist, but ended up as a vaudeville piano player.

As the 1920s drew to a close, Hank moved to California.  In the 1930s, he began a career as an actor.  He found minor roles and character parts in Republic Pictures westerns.  He also appeared in popular TV westerns such as The Cisco Kid, The Adventures of Kit Carson, The Lone Ranger and Annie Oakley. Aside from his Frad Ziffel character on Green Acres, Hank Patterson's most notable recurring role was his portrayal of Hank Miller in 33 episodes of Gunsmoke from 1962 to 1973. 

 Hank had roles in  15 episodes of Death Valley Days (1952-1967), 10 episodes of Have Gun-Will Travel (1958-1962), 7 episodes of Tales of Wells Fargo (1957-1962), 4 episodes of Cheyenne (1956-1961), 3 episodes of Wagon Train (1958-1961), three episodes of Daniel Boone (1965-1968) and two episodes of The Virginian (1964-1967).

Hank first appeared as farmer Fred Ziffel on Petticoat Junction in 1963 (He appeared as Ziffel in 11 episodes of Petticoat Junction from 1963 to 1966).  In 1965, CBS added Green Acres to its lineup of rural comedies.  Both series were set in the fictional town of Hooterville and Hank's character appeared in both of them.

Hank Patterson married Daisy Marguerite Sheeler, a native of Kentucky, on May 18, 1915.  Hank passed away on August 23, 1975 of bronchial pneumonia.  He was 86 years old at the time of his passing.  His wife, Daisy, died on February 2, 1979.  She was also 86 at the time of her death.


Barbara Pepper was born on May 31, 1915 in New York City.  Her father, David Mitchell "Dave" Pepper was an actor.  She began her life in show business as one of the Goldwyn Girls, a musical stock company, where she became friends with Lucille Ball.

In 1943, Barbara married actor Craig Reynolds, and they had two sones.  In 1949, her husband died in  motorcycle accident in California.  She never remarried.

A prolific actress, Barbara appeared in over 40 films from 1937 to 1943.  After a weight gain, her parts were generally limited to minor character roles on television.  She made appearances on I Love Lucy, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, The Jack Benny Program and Perry Mason and Petticoat Junction.  Prior to her role on Green Acres, she appeared in three 1964 episodes of Petticoat Junction (as Ruth and then later Doris Ziffel).  Barbara also appeared in episodes of Mister Ed (1965), My Three Sons (1966), Daniel Bone (1966) and My Mother the Car (1966).

On Green Acres, Barbara portrayed Doris Ziffel, the wife of farmer Fred Ziffel.  She played the role of Doris from 1965 until 1968, when health issues forced her to leave the show.  She was replaced by  character actress Fran Ryan for the duration of the series. 

Barbara Pepper died of coronary thrombosis in Panama City, California on July 18, 1969.  She was 54 years old at the time of her passing. Just before her death, Barbara appeared in 1969 episodes of The Doris Day Show and Mayberry R.F.D.

FRAN RYAN, the second Doris Ziffel, passed away on June 15, 2000 at the age of 83.  She appeared in just seven episodes of Green Acres from 1969 to 1971.


Maxwell Emmett "Pat" Buttram was born in Addison, Alabama on June 19, 1915, the son of a Methodist minister.  In 1933, he left Alabama to attend the Chicago World's Fair, where he impressed a radio announcer with his comic observations on the fair.  He was subsequently  offered a job with Chicago radio station WLS, where he became a regular on the popular National Barn Dance program.

In the 1940s, Pat went to Hollywood and began working with Gene Autry  He appeared as Autrey's sidekick in numerous films and on Autrey's radio show Melody Ranch, and his television program, The Gene Autrey Show (1950-1956).

On Green Acres, Pat Buttram portrayed Mr. Haney, a local farmer turned salesman. and con man in the rural community of Hooter.  The character's name has been used aa a euphemism for a swindling salesman. or a con artist.  Haney first appeared on Green Acres in the episode "Lisa's First Day on the Farm" (September 22, 1965).

Pat married Dorothy McFadden in 1936.  They adopted a daughter, Gayle, but the marriage ended in divorce.  In 1952, Pat married actress Sheila Ryan.  The couple me on the set of the film Mule Train (1950), in which Pat played Gene Autry's comic sidekick.  Pat and Sheila had a daughter, Kerry Bettram-Galgano.

Patt Buttram's wife, Sheila, died in Los Angeles of a lung ailment on November 5, 1975.  She was 54.

Pat died of kidney failure on January 8, 1994.  He passed  away at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.  He was 78 at the time of his passing.


Sid Melton was born Sidney Melzer in Brooklyn, New York on May 22, 1917.  His father, Isidor Melzer, was a Yiddish theatre comedian.  His brother, Lewis Melzer,, was a Hollywood screenplay writer (The Man with the Golden Arm, 1955, starring Frank Sinatra, Eleanor Parker and Kim Novak)..

Sid'a acting career spanned more than 70 years.  In 1939, he made his stage debut in a touring production of See My Lawyer.  In the 1940s, Sid had comical bit parts in films.  He began appearing on television in 1954, with a recurring role on the children's show Captain  Midnight" as chief mechanic Ichabod "Ikky Mudd.  He had minor roles and bit parts in episodes of several TV series during the 1950s, including Our Miss Brooks (1954), Topper (1955), The Adventures of Superman 1956, as a thug), The NBC Comedy Hour (1956), The Jack Benny Program (1957), Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1958, as a cab driver).

From 1959 to 1964, Sid appeared The Danny Thomas Show as Charley Halper, proprietor of the Copa Club, the nightclub  where Danny Williams (Danny Thomas) performed.  Sid's  TV wife on the show was comedian Pat Carroll.  

During the the 1960s, Sid guest-starred on episodes of Bachelor Father (four episodes 1960-1961), The Joey Bishop Show (1961), The Munsters (1964), The Dick Van Dyke Show (1964), The Andy Griffith Show (1965), The Danny Thomas Hour (1967), That Girl (1968), Petticoat Junction (1968) and I Dream of Jeannie (1969).

From 1965 to 1969, Sid had a recurring role on Green Acres.  He portrayed incompetent carpenter Alf Monroe in 32 episodes of the series.  The hapless Alf continually argued with his sister, played by Mary Grace Canfield, who was his partner in the carpentry business.

From 1970 to 1971, Sid reprised his Charley Halper role in 11 episodes of Make Room for Granddaddy, a short-lived revival of The Danny Thomas Show, with much of the cast.

Sid was still quite active in the 1980s and 1990s.  Between 1982 to 1995, he appeared on The Golden Girls in flashbacks and dreams as Sophia's deceased husband.  He also appeared in five episodes of Empty Nest (1993-1995), two episodes of  Blossom (1994-1995) an episode of The John Larroquette Show (1995) and Dave's World (1997).

According to his obituary in the New York Times, Sid was married in the 1940s, but the marriage was annulled.  According to IMDb, Sid married "Jody Lee Myers  August 10, 1952?"

Sid Melton died of pneumonia on November 2, 2011 in Burbank, California.  He was 94 years old at the time of his passing.  


Jack Alvin "Alvy" Moore was born in Vincennes, Indiana on December 5, 1921,  He attended Indiana State Teachers College (now Indiana State University) before and after serving with the United States Marine Corps during World War II.  

Alvy honed his acting skills at the Pasadena Playhouse.  He played the role of Ensign Pulver opposite Henry Fonda in a Broadway production of Mr. Roberts, and toured with the play.  He made motion picture debut as the quartermaster in the in Okinawa, a 1952 war film starring Pat O'Brien.

Through the years, Alvy was cast in supporting and guest roles in numerous movie and television shows.  His 1950s and 1969s TV appearances include My Little Margie (2 episodes 1952-1954), The Mickey Mouse Club (9 episodes in 1955), Dragnet (1957), The Donna Reed Show (1958), Bachelor Father (1960), The Joey Bishop Show (1962), Perry Mason (1964), The Beverly Hillbillies (1964), The Virginian (3 episodes 1963-1964), Death Valley Days (4 episodes 1962-1965), The Munsters (1965) and The Dick Van Dyke Show (1965).

Alvy Moore's big break came in 1965 when he was cast as Hank Kimball,  the scatterbrained county agricultural agent on Green Acres.  Alvy amused viewers with his  comical parody of a local bureaucrat.  He appeared in 142 of the show's 170 episodes, from 1965 to 1971.

In the 1970s, after the cancellation of Green Acres, Alvy did not have as many TV roles.  He guest starred in two episodes of Love, American Style (1970-1972), Lotsa Luck (1973) and three episodes of How the West Was Won (1978).

In the 1980s, Alvy appeared in cult horror films such as Scream (1981), Mortuary (1983), They're Playing With Fire (1984), Intruder (1989), and The Horror Show (1989). In 1980 he appeared in three episodes of Little House on the Prairie.  In 1981, he portrayed John Purcell in two episodes of the daytime drama Days of Our Lives.  Alvy also guest-starred in episodes of The Waltons (1981), Fantasy Island (1982) and Hill Street Blues (1983).  In 1989, he played a delivery man on Newhart.

One of Alvy's last television appearances was a guest spot in a 1994 episode of the sitcom Frasier entitled "Flour Child" (Season 2, Episode 4, Air Date: October 11, 1994).

Alvy met his future wife, Carolyn, when they were both actors at the Pasadena Playhouse.  The couple married in 1950 and had three children: Janet, Alyson and Barry.  On May 4, 1997, Alvy Moore died of heart failure at his home in Palm Desert, California.  He was 75 years old at the time of his passing, and his former Green Acres colleague Tom Lester was with him.

In 2009, Carolyn Moore died at the age of 79.


 Frank is best known for his role as shopkeeper Sam Drucker on all three CBS rural comedies during the 1960s.  He also played Doc Williams on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.

Frank Randolph Cady was born in Susanville California on September 8, 1915.  His family later moved to Wilsonville, Oregon.  Frank studied journalism and drama at Stanford University.  

In 1940, Frank married Shirley Katherine Jones.  The couple met in 1939, when Frank returned to Stanford University for graduate studies and a position as a teaching assistant.  Shirley, also a Stanford graduate, had several callings.  She was a professional singer, a teacher and a legal secretary.

After leaving academia, Frank worked as an announcer and broadcaster at various California radio stations.  In 1943, Frank joined the United States Army.  He served in England, France and Germany during World War II.  After the war,. he appeared in a series of plays in Los Angeles that led to minor film roles.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Frank Cady was a familiar face on television, although he never had a leading role.  From 1953 to 1964, Frank portrayed Doc Williams in The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.  He played Sam Drucker for the entire run of Petticoat Junction from 1963 to 1970, appearing in 152 of the show's 222 episodes.  He also appeared in 142 of the 170 episodes of Green Acres during its six seasons.  From 1968 to 1970, Frank played Sam in ten episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies.  From 1968 to 1969, Frank portrayed Sam Drucker three series.

Drucker's store was a local hub in Hooterville and Uncle Joe Carson (Edgar Buchanan from Petticoat Junction) could often be found there playing checkers with Sam.  Sam's phone was widely used by Joe and the Bradley clan of Petticoat Junction's Shady Rest Hotel.  In addition to his shopkeeping duties, Sam also served as the town's postmaster.

Frank's final acting role was in the 1990 TV movie, Return to Green Acres.  In a 1995 interview with the The Portland Oregonian, reflected on his television career.  He stated, "You get typecast.  I'm remembered for those shows and not for some pretty good acting jobs I did other times.  I suppose I ought to be grateful for that because otherwise I wouldn't be remembered at all.  I've got to be one of the luckiest guys in the world."

Frank and Shirley Cady were married for 68 years, until Shirley's death in 2008.  They had two children, a daughter named Catherine, and a son, Steven.  Frank Cady died on June 8, 2012 at his home in Wilsonville, Oregon.  He was 96 years old at the time of his passing.

ARNOLD THE PIG (also known as Arnold Ziffel): was the pig owned by farmer Fred Ziffel. and his wife, Doris,  The Ziffel's were childless and they treated Arnold as their offspring.

Arnold was actually played by four different pigs during the course of Green Acres' six seasons.  As each pig grew in size, it became necessary to replace them with smaller animals.  All of them were trained by renowned animal trainer Frank Inn.

The original Arnold died at Frank Inn's Sylmar, California training facility.  Frank kept an urn with Arnold's ashes.

SOURCES: Television Academy, Eddie Albert 1906-2005: Amiable Actor, best known for Green Acres, was also devoted environmentalist," May 23, 2005; Forbes, "'Green Acres' Star Tom Lester Dies at 81," by Marc Berman, April 20, 2020; The New York Times, Sid Melton, Comic Actor of Film and TV, Dies at 94,"by Paul Vitello, November 6, 2011; "Wikipedia; Internet Movie Database (IMDb)

- Joanne

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