Max Baer Jr. is an American TV and film actor. In addition to being an actor, he is also a successful director, producer, and screenwriter. Max Baer is mostly known for his portrayal of the character of ‘Jethro Bodine’ in the TV series ‘The Beverly Hillbillies.’ Currently, he is the only existing member of the iconic TV show, as Donna Douglas, the last of his co-stars, passed away only a few years ago. He is also a budding entrepreneur and aspires to own a real-estate and casino empire named after the famous TV series that has earned him fame and applause.
Childhood & Early Life
Max Baer Jr. was born Maximilian Adalbert Baer Jr., on December 4, 1937, in Oakland, Alameda County, California, to Max Baer Sr., an eminent boxing champion, and Mary Ellen Sullivan, his wife.
He attended the ‘Christian Brothers High School,’ located in Sacramento. While in school, Max achieved letters in four sports categories simultaneously and won the ‘Sacramento Open’ golf tournament (junior) twice.
Later, Baer attended the ‘Santa Clara University’ and received his bachelor's degree in business administration, with a minor in philosophy.
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Max Baer made his acting debut in 1949, with the ‘Blackpool Pavilion’ production of ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears in England.’
His full-fledged acting career began in the 1960s. During this time, he started working with ‘Warner Bros.’ and appeared in numerous TV series, such as ‘Maverick’ (1960), ‘Surfside 6’ (1960–1961), ‘Cheyenne’ (1960–1961), ‘Hawaiian Eye’ (1960–1961), ‘77 Sunset Strip’ (1960–1961), ‘Bronco’ (1961), ‘Sugarfoot’ (1961), ‘Follow the Sun’ (1962), and ‘It's a Mans' World’ (1962).
The role for which Max Baer is most popularly remembered is that of ‘Jethro Bodine,’ the dull-witted son of the cousin of the character named ‘Jed Clampett.’ The character appeared in the popular TV series ‘The Beverly Hillbillies,’ (1962–1971), aired on ‘CBS.’
During this time, Max also appeared in the TV series ‘Love, American Style’ (1969–1974) and ‘Vacation Playhouse’ (1969–1974). In 1967, he appeared as ‘Sgt. Luther Liskell’ in the film ‘A Time for Killing.’
After ‘The Beverly Hillbillies,’ Max focused on his career as a director, producer, and screenwriter. Despite occasional guest appearances in several TV series, his acting career was affected because of him being typecast.
In 1974, he made his debut as a producer and writer with ‘Macon County Line,’ a film that also featured him as ‘Deputy Reed Morgan.’ In 1975, Max produced, wrote, and directed the film ‘The Wild McCullochs.’ This film featured him as ‘Culver Robinson.’
In 1976, he directed and produced the film ‘Ode to Billy Joe,’ which became a huge commercial success. His only directorial venture after this was the 1979 film ‘Hometown U.S.A.’
Later, Max Baer started investing in the real-estate and casino industries. He aspires to build a ‘Beverly Hillbillies’ empire, including the ‘Jethro’s Beverly Hills Mansion’ and casinos inspired by the legendary TV show. He has reportedly signed a deal with the channel authorities to acquire the rights to use the names and other details of the show.
Family & Personal Life
Max Baer Jr. is of mixed ethnicity, as his father was of Irish, Scottish, and German origin and also had Jewish roots
Max’s brother, the late James Manny Baer, passed away in 2009. He has a sister named Maude. The famous boxer-turned-actor, the late Jacob Henry Baer, was his uncle.
Max Baer married Joanne Kathleen Hill in 1966. The couple divorced in 1971.
Max has reportedly dated famous actor, entrepreneur, and author Victoria Principal and model Chere Rhodes in the past. In 2005, Victoria claimed she was assaulted by Max while they were in a relationship. However, he denied the claims.