Where Are They Now: Max Baer Jr.: Jethro on Beverly Hillbillies

Max Baer Jr. portrayed Jethro Bodine, the nephew of Jed Clampett on the Beverly Hillbillies. He couldn’t find work for the first three years after Beverly Hillbillies finished its run on television in 1971.

He finally found himself an acting job by producing Macon County Line in 1974. The movie grossed over $18 million according to Box Office Mojo with a budget of $225,000.

However, the Internet Movie Database shows the movie earning $35 million with an initial investment of $100,000.

Max Baer Jr.'s father Max was the World Heavyweight champion from June, 1934 to June, 1935.

Max Baer, his father, was recently the subject of the movie Cinderella Man in which a ring opponent Frankie Campbell loses not only the match, but his life in a match with Baer.

Baer Jr. said his father cried over the death of Campbell and sent the kids of Campbell to college. The movie angered him and he was upset with Ronny Howard portraying his father that way in the movie.

It makes me wonder what other movies are not telling the truth about the characters in that movie.

This following articles tell about the movie with the second article directly referring to Baer being upset with Howard.


Today Max Baer Jr. is a successful businessman, who is 73 and was last seen on television in a 1991 episode of Murder She Wrote.

Playing Jethro Bodine more or less ended his chance of ever being taken seriously as an actor.


Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

54 thoughts on “Where Are They Now: Max Baer Jr.: Jethro on Beverly Hillbillies”

  1. loved Jethro and he is still sexy will always love the Hillbillies and i have a 12 vd collection from years ago 4 episodes on each tape still play them and LOVE them alll we still have the clampletts on tv stilll love you alll take care now ya hear

  2. Jr. was right to be angry at ERon GHoward. Max Baer, Sr. was a great boxer, and who loved people. He was not at all cruel or haughty.

  3. they have started reruns of the beverly hillbillies. i watch them every night… jethro and granny made the show so popular in my eyes. enjoy watching the show

  4. I watch this show at 7 A.M. with my 32 year old son. My son is a teacher and the show just gives us a good laugh to start our day. You are right Granny and Jethro really make the show…

    1. Vikki, That is great that you and your son can enjoy a show, that ended 42 years ago. Beverly Hillbillies is one of those shows like Andy Griffith, that will be funny as long as it is on television.

  5. II was the baby sitter for Max Jr, Jimmie and Maudie in 1945. I lived with the Baer family twice that year. Max Sr. and his wife Mary Ellen were very nice people, told me many stories , showed me pictures and memorable things. Many things had been destroyed in a fire some years before. Max Sr. took and autograph book for me and got autographs for me from Elizabeth Taylor to Clark Gable. I have many pleasant memories of knowing them.

    1. Jean,

      Thank you for sharing your experiences babysitting for the Baer children. Max Baer Jr. probably would have been in more movies, but once he was Jethro, guess he was typecast. The whole Baer family sounded like very nice people from your description. Thank you again for sharing.

  6. I read somewhere that Max was going to open a casino in Vegas called the Beverlly Hillbilly’s Casino. What ever happened to that?

    1. I did a Google search on Max Baer Jr’s attempt to open a casino and most of the stories I found were several years old. He even has a website about the casino, but it showed a drawing of the casino, so it is either in progress of being built or his plans have fell through.

  7. My stepdad passed away July 5TH, 2012, his name was Jack Baer and his father’s name was Harrison Baer. He always told me that you were his cousin. Jack was born in Akron, OH, but his father was from PA. Is Jack your cousin? He often spoke of your Father. Just curious
    Appreciate your time, thank-you.

    1. Deb, I am sorry but I only wrote the article and don’t know Max Baer Jr. personally. Wish I could have helped. Hope you find out the answer to your question.

  8. I remember two guys were talking about going to the
    Clampetts. One of them said,” Oh no I am not going to the Clampetts. The last time I went there I ended up in the pool.” The Second guy said ” Oh Jethro>” the first guy said ” NO Granny” lol loved those people

  9. “Playing Jethro Bodine more or less ended his chance of ever being taken seriously as an actor.”

    Utter nonsense. Playing Vinnie Barbarino didn’t kill John Travolta’s career. Nor did playing Buffy Wilson in Bosom Buddies kill Tom Hanks career (and that was a real bomb of a character). Yes a great part can really help, but a goofy one doesn’t mean the end of an actor with real talent.

    1. Know what you mean…I was 18 when the show started and 27 when it ended. Can’t believe the show started 52 years ago in 1962, which was the year I graduated from high school.

      1. yall come back no ya hear
        I still watch them on tvland and all the others oldies, they are the best

    1. Max Baer Jr. was on 3 other Cheyenne shows also and always played a different character.

      His last two shows on TV were Matt Houston and Murder She Wrote. He was in 2 episodes of each show with his last show being in 1991. He hasn’t been on TV or in the movies for 23 years now.

      He played a post office clerk in one Andy Griffith episode “Barney and the Governor” in 1963, at the same time he was in Beverly Hillbillies.

  10. knew Andy as he taught English and drama at Goldsboro High School in NC. I have net flix just so I can get every episode. Love the Hillbillys as well! Granny is the ultimate!!!!

  11. Always enjoyed watching the Beverly Hillbillies. I was 16 when it began…it came on after school and before bedtime, so I was allowed to watch the program. When the show went into reruns I was married with children and once again enjoyed the program. Now it is on cable and for another few years I will again enjoy watching the show. Sorry to hear Donna Douglas died recently. My best to her family and friends.

  12. I saw Max at several events along with Donna. They were always friendly and outgoing, staying long after time to sign autographs or speak with fans. Max asked me where he could get a good hot dog and I told him, “From me!” I went to the hotdog vendor and got one with exactly what he wanted on it and brought it to him. There was no way he could break away for even a hot dog.

    My older sister knew Donna Douglas well. They went to school together. Other relatives lived near her in Zachary, LA. She loved flowers and people.

    1. Warren, Thanks for sharing about seeing Max and Donna. It is good to know, that they were both genuinely nice people and it was very kind of you to get a hot dog for Max. I live in Louisiana myself, so good to know that Donna had moved back to Louisiana. It had to be tough for her to get acting jobs, after Beverly Hillbillies ended. She was in only about 9 TV shows or movies after leaving the show in the last 43 years. She was in a Hawaii Five-O episode.

  13. Andrew is Max okay so far as money i hope so i would sure hate that he was broke like so many old tv stars are. Is the show still on tv land. Just Wondering

  14. The casino was to be in Carson Valley area. Silly parking requirements were the deal ender, I believe. Was quite excited when plans first were announced. Could have brought jobs and tourism to the area.

  15. My grandfather told me that he used to work at Ithaca Gun Works. He told me that he worked with, either Max Baer Jr.’s father or grandfather, there (I can’t remember which) . He said that one or the other brought baby Max Jr. to work one day to show him off and my grandfather said he held him briefly. My grandfather passed many years ago so I can’t ask him but I was wondering if anyone could tell me which man worked at Ithaca Gun Works. Thanks.

  16. 2020 and watching reruns..love the Hillbillies ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚
    Would love to see pictures of the characters through the years !

    1. Hi from New Zealand jethro is the only one living from the cast as far as i can work out the good old days granny with her shot gun

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