Max Baer Jr. was typecast after playing Jethro on 'The Beverly Hillbillies'
The actor said he was unemployable because people only knew him as Jethro.
There are pros and cons of being a co-star in classic television. A pro is that actors gain financial stability, access to upscale resources, a fanbase and more. On the other hand, some fans, producers and directors can hold onto one famous role, and it becomes hard to move on.
This was the case for Max Baer Jr., who starred in Paul Henning's hit series The Beverly Hillbillies. Baer Jr. played Jethro, the son of Jed Clampett's cousin Pearl who got a chance to move with the Clampetts to Beverly Hills.
Despite the success of the show and his character, roles became scarce for the actor after the series ended. Baer Jr. was typecast, but he refused to let the role be the end of his career. So, the actor produced and directed several independent productions that earned him a lot of money.
In an interview with The Tampa Tribune in 2000, he revealed how he stayed motivated and fought against failing in the industry.
"Starvation was my motivation," he said to The Tampa Tribune writer John Beifuss during a telephone interview. "I did it for the money, and I did it for the job. I was basically unemployable because all that people knew me as was Jethro, and I realized that if I'm going to work, I will have to do it myself."
Being the son of a heavyweight boxing champ, fighting against hardships was naturally in his blood. Starting this new creative journey resulted in Baer Jr. finding a love for filmmaking. In 2000, three of his films, Macon County Line, The McCullohs, and Hometown U.S.A, were released on videotape and DVD.
A company named Anchor Bay Entertainment, one that calls itself "the company for movie lovers," helped with that process. Although some of the films never reached The Beverly Hillbillies status, they gained more than enough attention for Baer Jr. to continue to live comfortably. The films also stopped typecasting from taking another career away.