‘Green Acres’: What Happened to the Cast?
From Park Avenue penthouses to the farmhouses of rural America, Green Acres charmed viewers with its quirky and satirical take on country living. The show is a slice of classic Americana, with its portrayal of a New York City couple moving to fulfill husband Oliver Wendell Douglas’s (played by Eddie Albert) dreams of buying a farm and making a living working the land. As the New York attorney and wife Lisa (played by Eva Gabor) adjust to the different pace of rural life, fans were hooked by the show’s fourth-wall-breaking comedy and surprisingly poignant social satire. With much of its focus on character development and interpersonal comedy, many viewers wonder what happened to the actors from the beloved series.
Oliver Wendell Douglas was played by Eddie Albert
Eddie Albert was a rather accomplished actor before Green Acres, having numerous writing and acting credits to his name on TV, Broadway, and film. In 1971 when the show was canceled as part of CBS’s “rural purge,” Albert was openly upset. According to Closer Weekly, he told the Elmira, New York Star-Gazette at the time “The brass at CBS is more concerned about what their Madison Avenue friends think than what the public thinks.”
After the show, he returned to his prolific work in stage and screen. He returned to Broadway for 1973’s No Hard Feelings. Albert guest-starred in many TV shows including Murder, She Wrote, Colombo, and Kung Fu, and would be cast as the starring role in the crime adventure Switch in 1975. He also would garner plenty of big-screen credits over the years, in movies such as Escape to Witch Mountain, and The Longest Yard. Albert lived until the age of 99, dying of pneumonia in his California home in 1995.
Lisa Douglas played Eva Gabor
Eva Gabor’s portrayal of Hungarian socialite Lisa Douglas in Green Acres was arguably one of the most charming aspects of the show. Douglas’ reactions to being so out of place in her new life in Hooterville was a driving force for the comedy early on, but as the show progressed Gabor masterfully illustrated adaptation and growth in the character, while still keeping it light and comical.
Gabor would continue working after Green Acres, being a regular sight on the small-screen on shows like The Match Game, and Hollywood Squares. She would reunite with Albert on the stage in 1983’s You Can’t Take it With You. Her most notable works after Green Acres, however, came from her voice work for Disney, in such animated classics as The Aristocats, The Rescuers, and The Rescuers Down Under. In 1995, Gabor would develop pneumonia after a fall in a bathtub while on vacation in Mexico. As with Albert who also died in 1995, pneumonia would claim Gabor’s life later that year.
Mr Haney- Pat Buttram
As the dishonest small town salesmen, Mr. Haney, Pat Buttram crafted an iconic caricature of small-town salesmen and pushy sales practices. Haney’s mysterious and sudden appearances at the door of the farm whenever Mr. Douglas needed anything has become a recurring trope in much comedy. Buttram’s performance was a hilarious crowd-pleaser but was also a seething satire of a type of person that many viewers identified with.
Like Gabor, Buttram would go on to find great success in voice acting after Green Acres. He worked primarily for Disney as well, appearing as The Sheriff of Nottingham in Disney’s animated Robin Hood very shortly after the conclusion of the series. He would go on to play roles in The Rescuers, The Fox and the Hound, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and A Goofy Movie. The latter being dedicated to him as it released after his 1994 death due to kidney failure at the age of 78.
With Green Acres still finding its way into homes through streaming and syndication, it seems odd that the show ended nearly 50 years ago. The cast went on to do some great work that would continue to influence viewers for years in more ways than they knew. While the actors for the show may be gone, fans of the show and of their other work can treasure their performances forever, and always have a little piece of them to remember and appreciate.