Why Max Baer Jr. Refused To Return For ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ Movie

Why Max Baer Jr. Refused To Return For ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ Movie

Fans of The Beverly Hillbillies got a surprise when the original stars reunited for a TV movie in 1981. However, there were a few cast changes, as two of the stars had died since the series ended. Original “Jethro” actor Max Baer Jr. also refused to reprise his role in the project, titled Return of the Beverly Hillbillies. Here’s why.

Back in 1971, The Beverly Hillbillies was abruptly cancelled after nine seasons. But the stars did reunite for a TV movie a decade later in 1981.

Sadly, Irene Ryan (“Granny”) and Raymond Bailey (“Mr. Drysdale”) both died shortly after the series ended, so they weren’t in the film. Otherwise, all the surviving stars reunited — except for “Jethro” actor Max Baer Jr.

The Beverly Hillbillies movie: Why “Jethro” was recast

If you watched Return of the Beverly Hillbillies, you probably noticed that “Jethro” was played by a different actor. Ray Young filled the role next to original stars Buddy Ebsen, Donna Douglas, and Nancy Kulp.So, why no Max? He actually turned the movie down. After The Beverly Hillbillies ended, the “Jethro” actor felt that he got typecast due to his well-known TV role. And it made the educated star pretty self-conscious.

In 1993, Baer told EW that for years after the series, he couldn’t bear to watch the show and refused to even discuss it with anyone. “I thought I had a fat face, and I didn’t think I was ever any good, or good-looking,” he said.

Baer added: “When they did a reunion in 1981, I wanted no part of it.”

After The Beverly Hillbillies, Baer admitted that he felt “Jethro” undermined his acting career. He never did land a major role after the series, appearing only as a guest star in a handful of shows and in TV movies.Max Baer Jr. did return for 1993 Beverly Hillbillies TV movie
Though he said no to 1981’s Return of the Beverly Hillbillies, Baer did make a comeback alongside co-star Donna Douglas for the 1993 TV special The Legend of the Beverly Hillbillies.

With the recent death of Donna Douglas in 2015, Max Baer Jr. is also the last-surviving star of The Beverly Hillbillies. You can see what happened to the rest of the cast here.

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