Here’s What Happened to ‘Green Acres’ Star Eddie Albert Before, During and After the Show — What a Life!

Let’s face it, Green Acres is the place to be! That’s what we’re told at the start of the Classic TV sitcom’s theme song, and who are we to disagree? Airing for six seasons from 1965 to 1971, the show stars Eddie Albert as Oliver Wendell Douglas, a New York City attorney who convinces his Hungarian socialite wife, Lisa (Eva Gabor), to give up their luxurious Manhattan penthouse for a broken-down farm in the town of Hooterville (which, it turns out, is part of a shared universe with sitcoms Petticoat Junction and The Beverly Hillbillies).

The laughs on Green Acres (currently airing on the MeTV network) come from the interaction between the Douglases and their neighbors, among them Mr. Haney (Pat Buttram), who sold Oliver the farm in the first place and is every nightmare you’ve ever had about a dishonest salesman constantly trying to pull something over on his customers; Eb Dawson (Tom Lester, who was the last surviving cast member until his recent death), the oh-so-naïve farmhands working with the Douglases; Fred and Doris Ziffel (Hank Patterson and Barbara Pepper from 1965 to 1968 and Fran Ryan from 1969 to 1971), who live next door and consider their pig, Arnold (whose grunts are understood as language by everyone except Oliver), to be their son; incompetent carpenters Alf and Ralph (Sid Melton and Mary Grace Canfield); and storekeeper Sam Drucker (Frank Cady), who also serves the fine folks of Petticoat Junction.

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Kobal/Shutterstock

“I compare Green Acres to the Egg and I,” Eddie told the Press and Sun-Bulletin of Binghamton, New York in 1965, “the successful book and picture about city folks learning to live in the country. Arguments about city life versus country living have been going on since Euripides. We’re taking another crack at it.”

Euripides, huh? Who knew?

Despite the fact that Green Acres was still enjoying popularity with the audience in its final season, the show became a part of the “rural purge” that took place at CBS under the leadership of Fred Silverman, which also saw the demise of Mayberry R.F.D. and The Beverly Hillbillies, among others, in an effort to change the network’s image.

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Warner Bros

For his part, in a sense, Eddie never got the chance to change his image. Oh, sure, he went on to many more acting experiences after the show, and had an incredible wealth of them before he ever heard of Hooterville, yet Oliver Douglas is the role he’s most identified with. For that reason, we’re providing this in-depth look at the actor’s life and career before, during and after Green Acres.

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