Jump to content

Edgar Buchanan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Edgar Buchanan
Buchanan circa 1971
William Edgar Buchanan II

(1903-03-20)March 20, 1903
DiedApril 4, 1979(1979-04-04) (aged 76)
EducationNorth Pacific College (DDS)
  • Dentist
  • actor
  • singer
Years active1939–1974
Mildred Marguerite Spence
(m. 1928⁠–⁠1979)

William Edgar Buchanan II (March 20, 1903  – April 4, 1979) was an American actor with a long career in both film and television. He is most familiar today as Uncle Joe Carson from the Petticoat Junction,[1] Green Acres, and The Beverly Hillbillies television sitcoms of the 1960s.


Early life[edit]

The son of Dr. and Mrs. William Edgar Buchanan, he was born in Humansville, Missouri, on March 20, 1903.[2] He moved with his family to Oregon when he was seven.[3][4] In 1928, he earned a DDS degree from North Pacific College School of Dentistry, which later became Oregon Health & Science University School of Dentistry.[5] His wife Mildred (1907–1987) and he, classmates in dental school, were married in 1928, the year he graduated. They had one child, a son named Buck.[6] In 1939, they moved from Eugene, Oregon, to Altadena, California, where they relocated their dental practice. He joined the Pasadena Playhouse as an actor.[7] 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[8] and a Freemason.[9]


Buchanan appeared in more than 100 films, including Texas (1941), in which he played a dentist and appeared with William Holden and Glenn Ford and later in Penny Serenade (1941) with Irene Dunne and Cary Grant, Tombstone, the Town Too Tough to Die (1942), The Talk of the Town (1942) with Ronald Colman, Cary Grant and Jean Arthur, The Man from Colorado (1948), Cheaper by the Dozen (1950), Shane (1953), 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 Cimarron City, The Californians, and The Rifleman. Edgar appeared in six episodes of The Rifleman, playing Grandpa Fogerty in "The Long Goodbye" (episode 119) and Doc Burrage in the other five: "The Pet" (episode 15), "The Second Witness" (episode 23), "The Trade" (episode 24), "The Deadly Wait" (episode 26), and "The Angry Man" (episode 31).[10] In addition to several other widely varying roles on the series (running the gamut from sympathetic parts to vicious villains), he portrayed Jed Christianson in the episode "Duel at Sundown" on Maverick with James Garner and Clint Eastwood. He was on 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 (in 1962 as the title character “Old Dan” - S7E18), Route 66, Bringing Up Buddy, Bus Stop, and The Lloyd Bridges Show.

Buchanan's roles as a regular cast member in television programs included Red Connors in the syndicated Western Hopalong Cassidy,[11] and J.J. Jackson in the CBS crime drama Cade's County.[1]

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,[1]: 416  and three episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies. On Petticoat Junction, he took over as proprietor of the Shady Rest Hotel following the 1968 death of show star Bea Benaderet, who had played Kate Bradley; Buchanan had starred as second lead since the series' inception. In the 1966 episode "The All-Night Party" and in the 1969 episode "Kathy Jo's First Birthday Party", he appeared with his real-life son, Buck (who had a cameo as a party goer and an ice cream vendor, respectively). Another star from Petticoat Junction and he appeared together in the 1974 movie Benji; the other "star" was Higgins the dog, which portrayed the title character.

Buchanan appeared in multiple episodes of "Tales of Wells Fargo," starring Dale Robertson. He had the recurring role of a rascally ex-outlaw named Doc Dawson.

In 1967, Dot Records released "Phantom 309" (Dot #17047), a narration by Buchanan. The 45-rpm single was backed with "Cotton Picker".[12]

A "crossover" episode: Irene Ryan as "Granny" from The Beverly Hillbillies and Edgar Buchanan as "Uncle Joe" on Petticoat Junction (1968)


Buchanan died from a stroke complicated by pneumonia in Palm Desert, California in 1979,[12] and was interred in the Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.[13]


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


Year Title Role Notes
1953 Make Room for Daddy Captain Chris Season 1 Episode 8: "The Sea Captain"
1952–1954 Hopalong Cassidy Red Connors 40 episodes
1954 Crown Theatre with Gloria Swanson Uncle Harry Episode: "Uncle Harry"
1953, 1955 Cavalcade of America Horace Greeley
Doc Mathew
4 episodes
1955 Ford Theatre Papa Mumby Season 3 Episode 38: "The Mumbysa"
Screen Directors Playhouse Sub Royal Season 1 Episode 8: "The Bush Roper"
1955-1956 Judge Roy Bean Judge Roy Bean 39 episodes
1956 Strange Stories Episode: "Con Game"
Crossroads Bart Alden Season 2 Episode 10: "The Lamp of Father Cataldo"
1957 The Christophers John Augustus Episode: "Sentence Deferred"
Climax! Spencer /
Season 3 Episode 25: "Avalanche at Devil's Pass"
Season 3 Episode 42: "Deadly Climate"
1958 The Adventures of Jim Bowie Ringtail Jack Season 2 Episode 23: "Deaf Smith"
The Restless Gun Ethan Greenfield
Sheriff Jeb Barnes
Season 1 Episode 30: "Aunt Emma"
Season 1 Episode 35: "The Gold Star"
Studio One Dan Ferris Season 10 Episode 43: "Birthday Present"
The Gale Storm Show Jasper Stokes Season 3 Episode 4: "Hayride Ahoy"
26 Men Season 2 Episode 4: "Cross and Doublecross"
Cimarron City Shanty Season 1 Episode 7: "Kid on a Calico Horse"
1955–1959 General Electric Theater Buckskin /
Colonel Starbottle /
Preacher Bailey
Parson Meachum /
Doctor /
Timothy Dwight
7 episodes
1958-1959 The Californians Dutch /
Season 1 Episode 33: "The Golden Bride" (1958)
Season 2 Episode 30: "One Ton of Peppercorns" (1959)
1959 Lawman Jess Miller Season 1 Episode 15: "The Captives"
Trackdown Tully Saxon Season 2 Episode 30: "The Trick"
Wanted Dead or Alive Pop Michaels /
Chester Blake
Season 1 Episode 28: "Railroaded"
Season 1 Episode 36: "Amos Carter"
Alfred Hitchcock Presents Pops Season 5 Episode 4: "Coyote Moon"
The Deputy Isbel Season 1 Episode 14: "Man of Peace"
Whirlybirds Burton Season 3 Episode 13: "The Perfect Crime"
1957, 1960 Wagon Train Thaddeus Briscoe /
Ben Mattox
Season 1 Episode 8: "The John Darro Story" (1957)
Season 4 Episode 10: "The Jane Hawkins Story" (1959)
1960 Bronco 'Pop' Ben Owens Season 2 Episode 19: "Winter Kill"
Bat Masterson Cactus Charlie Season 3 Episode 1: "Debt of Honor"
Assignment: Underwater Charlie Noble Season 1 Episode 7: "Charlie Noble's Pearl"
Stagecoach West Lum Jensen Season 1 Episode 7: "Red Sand"
Riverboat Wingate Pardee Season 2 Episode 11: "Duel on the River"
1957–1961 Tales of Wells Fargo Bob Dawson /
Doc Dawson
6 episodes
1958–1961 Maverick Daddy Forge /
Jed Christianson /
Colonel Hamilton /
Sheriff Hadley /
Red Daniels
5 episodes
1959-1961 The Rifleman Doc J. Burrage /
Grandpa Fogarty
6 episodes
1960-1961 Bonanza Hallelujah Hicks
John Henry Hill
Season 2 Episode 11: "The Trail Gang" (1960)
Season 2 Episode 34: "Sam Hill" (1961)
1961 Klondike Sam Perkins Season 1 Episode 13: "The Golden Burro"
National Velvet Grandpa Harwell Season 1 Episode 24: "Grandpa"
Season 1 Episode 30: "Grandpa Returns"
The Barbara Stanwyck Show Judge Franklin Season 1 Episode 36: "A Man's Game"
The Tall Man Archie Keogh Season 2 Episode 7: "The Judas Palm"
The New Bob Cummings Show Episode: "The Oxtail Incident"
Bus Stop Judge Neal Season 1 Episode 9: "The Man from Bootstrap"
The Andy Griffith Show Henry Wheeler Season 2 Episode 9: "Aunt Bee's Brief Encounter"
1958, 1962 Perry Mason Andy Templet /
Judge Edward Daley
Season 2 Episode 11: "The Case of the Perjured Parrot" (1958)
Season 6 Episode 10: "The Case of the Lurid Letter" (1962)
1960–1962 Laramie Calico /
Doc /
Tully Casper /
Cletus McBain
4 episodes
Outlaws Nulty /
Season 1 Episode 7: "Starfall: Part 1" (1960)
Season 2 Episode 24: "All in a Day's Work" (1962)
Route 66 Jack McConkle /
Magistrate Abe Chumley
Season 1 Episode 10: "The Beryllium Eater" (1960)
Season 3 Episode 2: "Journey to Nineveh" (1962)
1962 The Twilight Zone Doc Bolton Season 3 Episode 23: "The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank"
Thriller Doc O'Connor Season 2 Episode 24: 'Til Death Do Us Part
Alcoa Premiere Crab Holman Season 2 Episode 1: "Flashing Spikes"
Stoney Burke Vernon Dawes Season 1 Episode 2: "Fight Night"
Have Gun – Will Travel Noah Cardiff Season 6 Episode 12: "Man in an Hourglass"
The Wide Country Uncle Walter 'Walt' Guthrie Season 1 Episode 12: "Good Old Uncle Walt"
Dennis the Menace Mr. Meekin Season 4 Episode 13: "Dennis and the Hermit"
1957–1963 Leave It to Beaver Captain Jack /
William 'Uncle Billy' Cleaver
3 episodes
1962-1963 The Lloyd Bridges Show Doc Lawton /
Andrew Jackson Tyree
Season 1 Episode 6: "Just Married" (1962)
Season 1 Episode 28: "The Tyrees of Capitol Hill" (1963)
Gunsmoke Dan Witter /
Dan York
Season 7 Episode 18: "Old Dan" (1962)
Season 8 Episode 34: "Old York" (1963)
Dr. Kildare Steve Devitt /
Judge Manning
Season 1 Episode 16: "The Administrator" (1962)
Season 2 Episode 32: "To Each His Own Prison" (1963)
1965 Luke and the Tenderfoot Luke Herkimer
1968 Something for a Lonely Man Old Man Wolenski TV movie
The Beverly Hillbillies Uncle Joe Carson Season 7 (3 episodes)
1965–1969 Green Acres Uncle Joe Carson 16 episodes (There were many crossovers from Petticoat Junction cast members in the series)
1969 The Over-the-Hill Gang Jason Fitch TV movie
1963–1970 Petticoat Junction Joseph P. "Uncle Joe" Carson 222 episodes
1970 The Name of the Game Felson Season 3 Episode 8: "Little Bear Died Running"
The Mod Squad Hargis Season 3 Episode 8: "Welcome to the Human Race, Levi Frazee!"
The Over-the-Hill Gang Rides Again Jason Fitch TV movie
1971 "The Men From Shiloh" (rebranded name of The Virginian) Teddy Birdwell Season 9 Episode 17: "The Legacy of Spencer Flats"
Yuma Mules McNeil TV movie
1971–1972 Cade's County J.J. Jackson 24 episodes
1972 The Partridge Family Judge McElwreath Season 3 Episode 2: "M is for Many Things"
1973 Love, American Style Judge Brockmerton Season 4 Episode 14 (Segment: Love and the Family Hour)


  1. ^ a b c Terrace, Vincent (January 10, 2014). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). McFarland. p. 151. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  2. ^ "Rites pending for actor Edgar Buchanan, 76". Chicago Tribune. United Press International. April 5, 1979. p. 51. Archived from the original on March 17, 2023. Retrieved March 16, 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ "Buck Comes Home". The Eugene Guard. May 18, 1959. p. 11. Retrieved July 28, 2017 – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
  4. ^ Edgar Buchanan, Actor, Matineeclassics.com; retrieved March 10, 2013. Archived December 19, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Edgar Buchanan: the frontier dentist who played one on TV". Oregon Health & Science University. July 12, 2010. Archived from the original on October 20, 2010. Retrieved June 10, 2013.
  6. ^ "Actor Edgar Buchanan, TV's 'Uncle Joe,' Is Dead". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. April 5, 1979. p. 12. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  7. ^ Monush, Barry (2003). Screen World Presents the Encyclopedia of Hollywood Film Actors: From the silent era to 1965. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-5578-3551-2. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  8. ^ The Rattle of Theta Chi. Theta Chi Fraternity Inc. 1942. p. 13. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  9. ^ Karg, Barb; Sutherland, Rick (May 18, 2010). Secret America: The Hidden Symbols, Codes and Mysteries of the United States. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4405-0723-6.
  10. ^ "Secrets Of TV's The Rifleman: More Than Just Guns And Good Times". Trend-chaser.com. November 14, 2016. p. 66. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  11. ^ Erickson, Hal (1989). Syndicated Television: The First Forty Years, 1947-1987. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 97. ISBN 978-0-8995-0410-0.
  12. ^ a b Leszczak, Bob (2015). From Small Screen to Vinyl: A Guide to Television Stars Who Made Records, 1950-2000. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 35–36. ISBN 978-1-4422-4274-6. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  13. ^ Ellenburger, Alan R. (May 1, 2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-5019-0.

Further reading[edit]

  • Maltin, Leonard (2015) [First published 1969]. "Edgar Buchanan". The Real Stars : Profiles and Interviews of Hollywood's Unsung Featured Players (softcover) (Sixth / eBook ed.). Great Britain: CreateSpace Independent. pp. 13–37. ISBN 978-1-5116-4485-3.

External links[edit]