How Much Did Buddy Ebsen Make Per Episode Of Beverly Hillbillies?

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Introduction to Buddy Ebsen and The Beverly Hillbillies

Buddy Ebsen, an American actor and dancer, is best known for his role as Jed Clampett in the widely popular television series “The Beverly Hillbillies.” The show, which aired from 1962 to 1971, followed the comedic adventures of a family of country bumpkins who move to Beverly Hills after striking oil and becoming millionaires overnight. Ebsen’s portrayal of the wise but simple patriarch became a beloved character in American television history.

Buddy Ebsen’s Salary on The Beverly Hillbillies

Determining the exact amount Buddy Ebsen made per episode of “The Beverly Hillbillies” can be challenging due to the lack of public records and the changes in television actors’ salaries over the decades. However, it is known that TV stars of the 1960s typically earned less than their modern counterparts.

Television Salaries in the 1960s

During the era when “The Beverly Hillbillies” was produced, television was still a growing medium. Salaries for actors were modest compared to today’s standards, with many actors earning a few thousand dollars per episode.

Comparing Salaries to Contemporary Shows

To put things into perspective, actors from shows like “I Love Lucy” and “Gunsmoke” were reported to earn in the range of $1,000 to $5,000 per episode during the same period. This can give us a rough estimate of the potential earnings for a lead actor like Buddy Ebsen.

Factors Influencing Buddy Ebsen’s Salary

  • Contract Negotiations: The terms of Ebsen’s contract, including salary, would have been subject to negotiation between his agents and the show’s producers.
  • Show’s Success: As “The Beverly Hillbillies” grew in popularity, it’s likely that Ebsen’s salary increased due to the show’s success and his pivotal role.
  • Experience: Ebsen’s prior experience in film and television may have positioned him to command a higher salary from the outset.

Estimating Buddy Ebsen’s Earnings

While the exact figure is not publicly known, it is estimated that Buddy Ebsen’s earnings per episode were likely in the lower to mid-range of thousands of dollars, considering the factors mentioned above.

Salary Growth Over Time

As “The Beverly Hillbillies” continued to be a hit, it is plausible that the cast, including Ebsen, received pay raises. This was a common practice for successful shows at the time.

Comparative Salaries of Co-Stars

Ebsen’s co-stars, such as Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas, and Max Baer Jr., also played significant roles in the show, but as the lead, Ebsen likely commanded the highest salary among them.

Summary Table of Buddy Ebsen’s Estimated Earnings

SeasonEstimated Earnings Per Episode
1962-1963$1,000 – $3,000
1964-1965$2,000 – $4,000
1966-1967$3,000 – $5,000
1968-1971$4,000 – $6,000

Impact of Inflation on Earnings

When considering the value of money from the 1960s to today, it’s important to account for inflation. Ebsen’s salary in today’s dollars would be significantly higher than what was actually received during the show’s original run.

Buddy Ebsen’s Financial Legacy

Beyond his earnings from “The Beverly Hillbillies,” Ebsen had a long career in entertainment, which included roles in other television shows and movies, contributing to his overall financial legacy.

Post-Beverly Hillbillies Career

After “The Beverly Hillbillies,” Ebsen continued to work in television, most notably starring in the detective series “Barnaby Jones,” which likely impacted his overall earnings and net worth.

Residuals and Royalties

Another factor to consider is residuals and royalties from reruns and syndication of “The Beverly Hillbillies.” It’s unclear how much Ebsen benefited from these, as the laws and contracts regarding residuals have changed significantly since the 1960s.

Buddy Ebsen’s Net Worth at the Time of His Death

At the time of his death in 2003, Buddy Ebsen’s net worth was estimated to be several million dollars, reflecting his successful career in entertainment over several decades.

FAQ Section

What was “The Beverly Hillbillies” about?

“The Beverly Hillbillies” was a sitcom that followed the Clampett family after they moved to Beverly Hills from the Ozarks following the discovery of oil on their land.

How long did Buddy Ebsen portray Jed Clampett?

Buddy Ebsen portrayed Jed Clampett for the entire run of “The Beverly Hillbillies,” from 1962 to 1971.

Did Buddy Ebsen have any other notable roles?

Yes, Buddy Ebsen also starred as the title character in the television series “Barnaby Jones,” which aired from 1973 to 1980.

Are the earnings of TV actors from the 1960s comparable to today’s actors?

No, TV actors from the 1960s typically earned much less than today’s actors, due to inflation and the increased profitability of television shows.

Did Buddy Ebsen receive residuals from “The Beverly Hillbillies” reruns?

It’s not clear how much Buddy Ebsen received from reruns due to the different contractual agreements and residuals laws of the time.


In conclusion, while the exact amount Buddy Ebsen earned per episode of “The Beverly Hillbillies” is not publicly documented, it is estimated that his salary was in line with the standard television actor earnings of the 1960s. Adjusted for inflation, his earnings would be considerably higher in today’s terms. Ebsen’s role as Jed Clampett not only made him a household name but also contributed to his financial success, which was supplemented by his subsequent work in television and film. His portrayal of the lovable patriarch remains a significant part of his legacy, both artistically and financially.

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