• Max Baer Jr.'s incredible journey to 'The Beverly Hillbillies'
  • He is best know for playing "Jethro Bodine"
  • His road to stardom wasn't easy

Max Baer Jr. (83, actor) is best known for his role as "Jethro Bodine" on the hit TV show 'The Beverly Hillbillies.' But before the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, Baer Jr. was a struggling artist, living off unemployment checks and a quart of milk for days.

The hard times

"I was two months behind on my rent and my weight had dropped from 210 to 188 pounds," Baer Jr. confessed in a 1963 interview with The Record. "I had to sell some of my things to live. I really had to scrounge around."

Despite being the son of heavyweight boxing champion Max Baer, Baer Jr. chose not to follow his father's footsteps. Instead, he discovered a passion for acting during his college years at Santa Clara University.

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The dream of acting

Baer Jr. moved to Hollywood after college to pursue his dreams. But the road to stardom wasn't easy. His diet mainly consisted of canned beans before landing the role on 'The Beverly Hillbillies.'

Despite the hardships, Baer Jr. never gave up. His perseverance paid off when he was chosen by creator Paul Henning to play "Jethro", beating dozens of other actors who auditioned for the role.

"I bought albums by Andy Griffith and Jonathan Winters, and listened to them by the hour," Baer Jr. said about developing a Southern accent for the role.

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The triumph

'The Beverly Hillbillies' opened many doors for Baer Jr. and changed the trajectory of his life. He became a big actor in one of TV's number-one rated series.

"I was fortunate to get in a hit show," Baer Jr. said. "Otherwise, I might still be starving."