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Happy Birthday, Jethro! Max Baer,Jr. Turns 75

Max Baer, Jr. will always be best remembered as Jethro Bodine on the 1960s classic TV series “The Beverly Hillbillies.” Today he celebrates his 75th birthday.

It’s interesting to note that he won the role of Jethro without having to speak a word. Baer’s audition consisted of chasing a bird around the set, and he made enough of gestures and facial expressions to impress the producers. He admitted later that he had never tried speaking in a hillbilly accent, and he used the time between his audition and the first day’s filming to learn one thoroughly.

Max is the son of boxer Max Baer, heavy weight champion for one year until he lost a decision to Jimmy Braddock,  who is portrayed in the movie “Cinderella Man” starring  Russell Crowe. Baer’s family felt Max was inaccurately portrayed in the movie.

And Max is no dummy. He has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a minor in Philosophy from Santa Clara University.

Max Baer, Jr. and Elvis Presley used to hang out together in the 60s and getting involved in impromptu football games with Elvis’ friends and entourage.

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After the “Beverly Hillbillies” ended, Baer made a fortune writing and producing the motion picture “Macon County Line.” On an investment of just $100,000, the grossed more than $25 million at the box office. At the time, It was the highest grossing movie  ever per dollar invested. The record stood until 1999’s “The Blair Witch Project.”

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