Edgar Buchanan

Edgar Buchanan, DDS
Born William Edgar Buchanan II
(1903-03-20)March 20, 1903
Humansville, Missouri, U.S.
Died April 4, 1979(1979-04-04) (aged 76)
Palm Desert, California, U.S.
Occupation Dentist, Actor, Singer
Years active 1939–74
Spouse(s) Mildred Marguerite Spence (1928–79) (his death)
Children William Edgar Buchanan III "Buck" adopted son (1946–2005)

Edgar Buchanan (March 20, 1903 – April 4, 1979) was an American actor with a long career in both film and television, most familiar today as Uncle Joe Carson from the Petticoat Junction, Green Acres, and The Beverly Hillbillies television sitcoms of the 1960s.

As Uncle Joe, he took over as proprietor of the Shady Rest Hotel following the 1968 real-life death of Bea Benaderet, who had played Kate Bradley. In 1969, in the episode "Kathy Joe's First Birthday Party", he appeared with his real-life son, Buck (who had a cameo as an ice cream vendor).


Early life

William Edgar Buchanan, born in Humansville, Missouri, moved with his family to Oregon when he was seven.[1] Buchanan earned a DDS degree from North Pacific College School of Dentistry (which later became Oregon Health & Science University School of Dentistry).[2] Like his father before him, he was a successful dentist. He and his wife Mildred (1907–1987), classmates in dental school, were married in 1928. They had one child, a son named Buck.[3] In 1939, they moved from Eugene, Oregon, to Altadena, California, where they moved their dental practice. He joined the Pasadena Playhouse as an actor. He appeared in his first film in 1939, at the age of 36, after which he turned his dentistry practice over to his wife. He was a member of Theta Chi Fraternity and a Freemason.[4]


Buchanan appeared in more than 100 films, including Penny Serenade (1941) with Cary Grant, Tombstone, the Town Too Tough to Die (1942), The Talk of the Town (1942) with Ronald Colman and Jean Arthur, The Man from Colorado (1948), Cheaper by the Dozen (1950), She Couldn't Say No (1954), Ride the High Country (1962) with Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea, McLintock! (1963) with John Wayne, Move Over, Darling (1963) with Doris Day and James Garner, and Benji (1974).

Among the many television series in which he was cast as a guest star were Hopalong Cassidy, Cimarron City, The Californians, The Rifleman, the episode "Duel at Sundown" of Maverick with James Garner and Clint Eastwood, Leave It To Beaver (as both "Uncle Billy" and "Captain Jack"), The Twilight Zone, Riverboat (as Wingate Pardee in the 1960 episode, "Duel on the River"), Gunsmoke, Route 66, Bringing Up Buddy, Bus Stop, The Lloyd Bridges Show, and Cade's County.

In 1956, Buchanan portrayed the lead in the 39-episode syndicated Western television series, Judge Roy Bean, set in Langtry, Texas, and filmed in color in California. Only loosely based on the career of the legendary storekeeper, bartender, and Justice of the Peace Roy Bean, the series had supporting roles for Jack Buetel, Jackie Loughery, and Russell Hayden, as a Texas Ranger. The series popularized Bean's claim to having been "The Only Law West of the Pecos", a reference to the Pecos River in Val Verde County in southwestern Texas.[5]

Buchanan appeared as Uncle Joe Carson in all 222 episodes of Petticoat Junction, the only actor from the show to do so, as well as in 17 episodes of Green Acres, and three episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies. From 1960 to 1962, he appeared four times on the NBC Western series Laramie, with John Smith and Robert Fuller. Buchanan made two guest appearances on Perry Mason: in 1958 as a small-town coroner in "The Case of the Perjured Parrot" and in 1962 as a small-town judge in "The Case of the Lurid Letter".

Buchanan and another star from Petticoat Junction appeared together in the movie Benji; the other "star" was Higgins, the unnamed "dog" from the sitcom, which portrayed the title role in the film. Higgins had been found in an animal shelter and trained by Frank Inn, who also trained Arnold Ziffel (the pig) and the other animals used on The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, and Green Acres.


Buchanan died from a stroke complicated by pneumonia in Palm Desert, California, and was interred in the Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.


Year Title Role Other notes
1974 Benji Bill
1969 Angel in My Pocket Axel Gresham
1967 Welcome to Hard Times Brown
1966 Gunpoint Bull
1965 The Man from Button Willow Sorry voice
The Rounders Vince Moore
1963 Move Over, Darling Judge Bryson
McLintock! Bunny Dull
A Ticklish Affair Captain Martin
Donovan's Reef Boston Attorney
1962 Ride the High Country Judge Tolliver
Devil's Partner Don Lucas
1961 The Comancheros Judge Thaddeus Jackson Breen
Tammy Tell Me True Judge Carver
1960 Cimarron Judge Neal Hefner
Chartroose Caboose Woody Watts
Four Fast Guns Dipper
1959 Hound-Dog Man Doc Cole
Edge of Eternity Sheriff Edwards
It Started with a Kiss Congressman Tappe
King of the Wild Stallions Idaho
Stump Run Buck Gaskin
1958 The Sheepman Milt Masters
Day of the Bad Man Sam Wyckoff
1957 Spoilers of the Forest Tom Duncan
1956 Come Next Spring Mr. Canary
1955 Wichita Doc Black
The Lonesome Trail Dan Wells
The Silver Star Will 'Bill' Dowdy
Rage at Dawn Judge
1954 Destry The Honorable Hiram J. Sellers, Mayor
Dawn at Socorro Sheriff Cauthen
Human Desire Alec Simmons
Make Haste to Live Sheriff Lafe
She Couldn't Say No Ed Meeker
1953 Shane Fred Lewis
It Happens Every Thursday Jake
1952 Toughest Man in Arizona Jim Hadlock
Wild Stallion John Wintergreen
Flaming Feather Sgt. O'Rourke
The Big Trees Walter 'Yukon' Burns
1951 Silver City Dutch Surrency
Cave of Outlaws Dobbs
Rawhide Sam Todd
The Great Missouri Raid Dr. Samuels
1950 Devil's Doorway Zeke Carmody
The Big Hangover Uncle Fred Mahoney
Cargo to Capetown Sam Bennett
Cheaper by the Dozen Dr. Burton
1949 Any Number Can Play Ed
Lust for Gold Wiser
Red Canyon Jonah Johnson
The Walking Hills Old Willy
1948 The Untamed Breed John Rambeau
The Man from Colorado Doc Merriam
Coroner Creek Sheriff O'Hea
The Black Arrow Lawless
Best Man Wins Jim Smiley
Adventures in Silverado Dr. Hendersonn, aka The Monk
The Wreck of the Hesperus George Lockhart
The Swordsman Angus MacArden
1947 Framed Jeff Cunningham
The Sea of Grass Jeff, Cook on Brewton Ranch
1946 If I'm Lucky Darius J. Magonnagle
Renegades Kirk Dembrow
The Walls Came Tumbling Down George Bradford
Perilous Holiday George Richards
The Bandit of Sherwood Forest Friar Tuck
Abilene Town Sheriff 'Bravo' Trimble
The Fighting Guardsman Pepe, bandit-valet
1944 Strange Affair Lt. Washburn
The Impatient Years Judge
Bride by Mistake Jonathan Connors
Buffalo Bill Sergeant Chips McGraw
1943 Destroyer Kansas Jackson
Good Luck, Mr. Yates Jonesey Jones
The Desperadoes Uncle Willie McLeod
City Without Men Michael T. Mallory
1942 The Talk of the Town Sam Yates
Tombstone, the Town Too Tough to Die Curly Bill Brocious
1941 You Belong to Me Billings, Groundskeeper
Texas Buford 'Doc' Thorpe
The Richest Man in Town Pete Martin
Her First Beau Elmer Tuttle
Penny Serenade Applejack Carney
1940 Arizona Judge Bogardus
When the Daltons Rode Narrator/Old-timer uncredited
The Seahawk Ben Rollins uncredited
The Doctor Takes a Wife Doorman uncredited
Escape to Glory Charles Atterbee
Tear Gas Squad Cousin Andy, a Policeman
Three Cheers for the Irish Party Guest uncredited
Too Many Husbands Det. Adolph McDermott
1939 My Son Is Guilty Dan, Bartender


Year Title Role Other notes
1973 Love, American Style Segment: Love and the Family Hour
1972 The Partridge Family Episode: M is for Many Things
1971–1972 Cade's County J.J. Jackson
1971 Yuma Mules McNeil
The Virginian Teddy Birdwell Episode: The Legacy of Spencer Flats
1963–1970 Petticoat Junction Joseph P. "Uncle Joe" Carson
1970 The Over-the-Hill Gang Rides Again Jason Fitch
The Mod Squad Hargis Episode: Welcome to the Human Race, Levi Frazee!
The Name of the Game Felson Episode: Little Bear Died Running
1965–1969 Green Acres Uncle Joe Carson There were many crossovers from Petticoat Junction castmembers in the series
1969 The Over-the-Hill Gang Jason Fitch
1968 The Beverly Hillbillies Uncle Joe Carson Episode: Granny Goes to Hooterville
Episode: The Thanksgiving Story
Episode: Christmas in Hooterville
Something for a Lonely Man Old Man Wolenski
1965 Luke and the Tenderfoot Luke Herkimer
1957–1963 Leave It to Beaver Captain Jack
William 'Uncle Billy' Cleaver
William 'Uncle Billy' Cleaver
Episode: Captain Jack
Episode: Uncle Billy
Episode: Uncle Billy's Visit
1962, 1963 Dr. Kildare Steve Devitt
Judge Manning
Episode: The Administrator
Episode: To Each His Own Prison
Gunsmoke Dan Witter
Dan York
Episode: Old Dan
Episode: Old York
The Lloyd Bridges Show Doc
Episode: Just Married
Episode: Tyrees of Capitol Hill
1960–1962 Laramie

Tully Casper
Cletus McBain

Episode: Saddle and Spur
Episode: Men of Defiance
Episode: Stolen Tribute
Episode: The Long Road Back
1958, 1962 Perry Mason Andy Templet
Judge Edward Daley
Episode: The Case of the Perjured Parrot
Episode: The Case of the Lurid Letter
1962 Dennis the Menace Mr. Meekin Episode: Dennis and the Hermit
The Wide Country Uncle Walt Guthrie Episode: Good Old Uncle Walt
Have Gun – Will Travel Cardiff Episode: Man in an Hourglass
Stoney Burke Dawes Episode: Fight Night
Alcoa Premiere Crab Holman Episode: Flashing Spikes
Thriller Doc O'Connor Episode: 'Til Death Do Us Part
The Twilight Zone Doc Bolton Episode: The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank
1958–1961 The Rifleman Doc Burrage
Grandpa Fogarty
Maverick Daddy Forge
Colonel Hamilton
Red Daniels
Episode: Island in the Swamp
Episode: Duel at Sundown
Episode: Easy Mark
Episode: Hadley's Hunters
Episode: The Cactus Switch
1957–1961 Tales of Wells Fargo Bob Dawson
1960, 1961 Bonanza Hallelujah Hicks
John Henry Hill
Episode: The Trail Gang
Episode: Sam Hill
1961 The Andy Griffith Show Henry Wheeler Episode: Aunt Bee's Brief Encounter
Bus Stop Judge Neal Episode: The Man from Bootstrap
The New Bob Cummings Show Episode: The Oxtail Incident
The Tall Man Archie Keogh Episode: The Judas Palm
The Barbara Stanwyck Show Judge Franklin Episode: A Man's Game
National Velvet Grandpa Harwell Episode: Grandpa
Episode: Grandpa Returns
Klondike Sam Perkins Episode: The Golden Burro
1957, 1960 Wagon Train The Tramp
Ben Mattox
Episode: The John Darro Story
Episode: The Jane Hawkins Story
1960 Riverboat Wingate Pardee Episode: Duel on the River
Route 66 Jack McConkle Episode: The Beryllium Eater
Outlaws Nulty Episode: Starfall (1)
Episode: Starfall (2)
Stagecoach West Lum Jensen Episode: Red Sand
Assignment: Underwater Charlie Noble Episode: Charlie Noble's Pearl
Bat Masterson Cactus Charlie Episode: Debt of Honor
Bronco Pop Owens Episode: Winter Kill
1958, 1959 The Californians Dutch
Episode: The Golden Bride
Episode: One Top of Peppercorns
1955–1959 General Electric Theater
1959 The Deputy Isbel Episode: Man of Peace
Alfred Hitchcock Presents Pops Episode: Coyote Moon
Wanted: Dead or Alive Pop Michaels
Chester Blake
Episode: Railroaded
Episode: Amos Carter
Trackdown Tully Saxon Episode: The Trick
Lawman Jess Miller Episode: The Captives
1958 Cimarron City Shanty Episode: Kid on a Calico Horse
26 Men Episode: Cross and Doublecross
The Gale Storm Show Jasper Stokes Episode: Hayride Ahoy
Studio One Dan Ferris Episode: Birthday Present
The Restless Gun Ethan Greenfield
Sheriff Gabe Starns
Episode: Aunt Emma
Episode: The Gold Star
The Adventures of Jim Bowie Ringtail Episode: Deaf Smith
1957 Climax! Spencer
Episode: Avalanche at Devil's Pass
Episode: Deadly Climate
The Christophers John Augustus Episode: Sentence Deferred
Whirlybirds Burton Episode: The Perfect Crime
1956 Crossroads Bart Alden Episode: The Lamp of Father Cataldo
Strange Stories Episode: Con Game
Judge Roy Bean Judge Roy Bean
1953, 1955 Cavalcade of America
Horace Greeley
Horace Greeley
Doc Mathew
Episode: The Tenderfoot
Episode: One Nation Indivisible
Episode: Petticoat Doctor
Episode: Stay On, Stranger
1955 Screen Directors Playhouse Sub Royal Episode: The Bush Roper
Ford Theatre Papa Mumby Episode: The Mumbysa
1952–1954 Hopalong Cassidy Red Connors
1954 Crown Theatre with Gloria Swanson Uncle Harry Episode: Uncle Harry
1953 Make Room for Daddy Captain Chris Episode: The Sea Captain


  1. Edgar Buchanan, Actor. (Retrieved March 10, 2013)
  2. "Edgar Buchanan: the frontier dentist who played one on TV". July 12, 2010. Oregon Health & Science University. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  3. "Actor Edgar Buchanan, TV's 'Uncle Joe,' is dead" April 5, 1979 Pittsburgh Post Gazette retrieved October 28, 2015
  4. Edgar Buchanan's gravestone, with Freemasonic Square and Compasses. (Retrieved Nov. 27, 2007)
  5. Billy Hathorn, "Roy Bean, Temple Houston, Bill Longley, Ranald Mackenzie, Buffalo Bill, Jr., and the Texas Rangers: Depictions of West Texans in Series Television, 1955 to 1967", West Texas Historical Review, Vol. 89 (2013), pp. 102-118

External links

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