Buddy was a nice guy. I got to spend a bit of time withhim a few years ago. Hell, longer than that. Ihad hair. Buddy looked older than dirt back then, and I remember he had oneof those phlegmy voices that always made you want to clear your throat. Professionally,it’s fairly well known that he started as a dancer, and was theoriginal choice for the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, AudreyHepburn’s husband in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and of course JedClampett, amongst others.
In 1998 Buddy had heart surgery, and was given a valve from apig’s heart. He came through the operation just fine, thank ya kindly.
On June 26, 2003, Buddy was hospitalizedin Torrance, with pneumonia. It was announced that his condition was”good.”
While in the hospital, Max and Donna visited andreminisced. That would have been wild to have heard.
On July 6, 2003, Buddy died at 9:30 AM. He was 153 yearsold.
There was a private family funeral, and his asheswere scattered at sea. Buddy was a nut for sailing, andexcept for the fact that there is no place for fans to pay their respects, itwas the perfect farewell. You can leave virtual flowers here.
On Saturday August 30th, there was a memorialservice for Buddy at the Television Academy in North Hollywood.Attending were Lee Meriwether, Jane Withers, Max Baer, Donna Douglas, LindaHenning and Fess Parker. It was so crowded, people were turned away. There was a color guard because Buddy was in the Coast Guard. Dick VanDyke hosted the event, whichincluded a video presentation (which Buddy narrated) and tap dancers. At theend, Kiki, Buddy’s daughter, sang a song that Buddy wrote. Buddy was veryactive in preparing his own memorial. Max Baer spoke, and broke downbecause Buddy was sort of a surrogate father to him.
Interesting fact: Shirley Temple refused an invitation to thememorial service.
There was also a display of Buddy’s artwork.
Trivia: The Dick Van Dyke Show succeeded because of theBeverly Hillbillies. TDVDS was cancelled early on, and Sheldon Leornardpleaded to have it put back on right after the Hillbillies, which gave it anaudience and made it work. Dick owes a lot to Buddy and the gang.
Honorable Mention: On Friday March 25th 2005, Mr.Paul Henning passed away. Paul created The Beverly Hillbillies, whichspawned Petticoat Junction and Green Acres. Rest In Peace, Paul. Ihope you know how much you made us laugh.
Check out the rest of the Hillbillies, HERE.
Check out Buddy’s official website, HERE.