From bum to banker, Raymond Bailey has lived quite a life

The Beverly Hillbillies star used to be a seaman and a rancher.

How would you describe a character like Milburn Drysdale from The Beverly Hillbillies? Well, for the actor Raymond Bailey, who portrayed Drysdale and spoke to The Wichita Beacon, there's no better description than to call him "a real heel." Specifically, Bailey said that the character began as a "straight businessman" before becoming a "buffoon" and then making the full transition into the heel that we know, loathe, and most importantly, laugh at. Bailey himself has no problem with playing a heel. He said, "I'm a hambone so I'm playing him to the hilt."

However, Bailey wasn't always an actor and spent many years moving around a series of places. When called a drifter, Bailey amended, "A bum would be more correct." As he never stayed in one place, Bailey also found himself taking on a series of jobs, including seaman and rancher.

Bailey said, "My problem was a lack of education — I quit school in the tenth grade and left home when I was fifteen. I've worked for 30 cents a night doing voices for puppet shows and I've known an empty stomach and tears."

However, as many people know, acting can be as tumultuous a profession as any, and Bailey still wasn't able to find any consistency in his work for some time. He said, "I spent a life of frustration." He continued, "My frustration gave me only one goal — to save enough money to get out of where I happened to be."

Finally, at the age of fifty, he found the consistency he needed in The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial.

He was then able to delve into television afterward, where he was able to begin working in comedy, as well as discover his own talent for it. However, he was able to glean a nugget of wisdom from his previous experiences. He said, "I've discovered that money can buy happiness."


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12 Comments

Loveflinstones 3 months ago
Why did he quit school and leave home young? Family troubles? Economic troubles? Just being a wild child or something else?
RachelR 3 months ago
He was also had a small roll in the old movie "Tarantula" without his toupee. I Iove that movie!
Mike 3 months ago
Mention ought to be made of Raymond Bailey's numerous appearances on Alfred Hitchcock Presents during its half-hour days - especially at least one shot in a Hitchcock intro, playing a psychiatrist.
MichaelPowers 3 months ago
"Money can't buy happiness but it sure can calm the nerves." Joe E. Lewis
harlow1313 3 months ago
Now, as an adult, having seen older programs where Bailey appears bald, if I watch "The Hillbillies" now, I'm always seeing his troupe'. It bugs me somehow.
LoveMETV22 harlow1313 3 months ago
"troupe"? (respectfully) did you mean "toupée?"
harlow1313 LoveMETV22 3 months ago
Yes. I probably got in trouble with auto-correct. I proof read, but sometimes I fail to "see," my mind auto-corrects the error.

And to be honest, I did not know the precise spelling (I had one "e"), so I was doubly careless.

How does one put that accent thing atop the "e"? I thought I needed one, but it's over my head.
LoveMETV22 harlow1313 3 months ago
No big deal, that's why I added "respectfully". We have enough keyboard warriors that visit the website. Not sure what satisfaction they get from it, but so be it.

The accent mark (diacritical mark), can be done with keyboard shortcuts in word programs. However it's easier to just copy and paste the word.
justjeff LoveMETV22 3 months ago
Raymond Bailey chose to wear a toupee for certain roles and go bald for other, just like Carl Reiner and unlike William Shatner, LOL!...
MrsPhilHarris harlow1313 3 months ago
I think he appeared on Perry Mason wigless.
LoveMETV22 3 months ago
It seems from Raymond Bailey's bio that he had many credits before his role as Milburn Drysdale on
The Beverly Hillbillies. Perhaps not as well known as his 248 episodes on TBH, but still roles nonetheless.
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