Edgar Buchanan

William Edgar Buchanan II (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,[1] Green Acres, and The Beverly Hillbillies television sitcoms of the 1960s. 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 1969, in the episode "Kathy Jo's First Birthday Party", he appeared with his real-life son, Buck (who had a cameo as an ice cream vendor). Edgar Buchanan is also particularly noted for a key supporting role almost three decades earlier in Penny Serenade (1941) starring Irene Dunne and Cary Grant.

Edgar Buchanan
Buchanan circa 1971
William Edgar Buchanan II

(1903-03-20)March 20, 1903
DiedApril 4, 1979(1979-04-04) (aged 76)
OccupationDentist, Actor, Singer
Years active1939–74
Spouse(s)Mildred Marguerite Spence (1928–1979; his death)


Early life

The son of Dr. and Mrs. William Edgar Buchanan, he was born in Humansville, Missouri, and moved with his family to Oregon when he was seven.[2][3] In 1928, he earned a DDS degree from North Pacific College School of Dentistry, which later became Oregon Health & Science University School of Dentistry.[4] 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.[5] In 1939, they moved from Eugene, Oregon, to Altadena, California, where they relocated their dental practice. He joined the Pasadena Playhouse as an actor.[6] 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[7] and a Freemason.[8]


Buchanan appeared in more than 100 films, including Texas (1941) where he played a dentist and starred with William Holden and Glenn Ford and later in 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 (1949), 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 Cimarron City, The Californians, 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).,[9] as Jed Christianson in the episode "Duel at Sundown" on 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, 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,[10] and J.J. Jackson in the CBS crime drama Cade's County.[1]

In 1956, Buchanan portrayed the lead in the 39-episode syndicated Western television series, Judge Roy Bean,[10] 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.[11] From 1960 to 1962, he appeared four times on the NBC Western series Laramie, 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 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. 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.

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


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


Year Title Role Notes
1939My Son Is GuiltyDan, Bartender
1940Too Many HusbandsDet. Adolph McDermott
Three Cheers for the IrishParty GuestUncredited
Tear Gas SquadCousin Andy, a Policeman
Escape to GloryCharles Atterbee
The SeahawkBen RollinsUncredited
When the Daltons RodeNarrator / Old-timerUncredited
ArizonaJudge Bogardus
1941Penny SerenadeApplejack Carney
Her First BeauElmer Tuttle
The Richest Man in TownPete Martin
TexasBuford "Doc" Thorpe
You Belong to MeBillings, Groundskeeper
1942Tombstone, the Town Too Tough to DieCurly Bill Brocious
The Talk of the TownSam Yates
1943City Without MenMichael T. Mallory
The DesperadoesUncle Willie McLeod
Good Luck, Mr. YatesJonesey Jones
DestroyerKansas Jackson
1944Buffalo BillSergeant Chips McGraw
Bride by MistakeJonathan Connors
The Impatient YearsJudge
Strange AffairLt. Washburn
1946The Fighting GuardsmanPepe, bandit-valet
Abilene TownSheriff 'Bravo' Trimble
The Bandit of Sherwood ForestFriar Tuck
Perilous HolidayGeorge Richards
The Walls Came Tumbling DownRev. George Bradford
RenegadesKirk Dembrow
If I'm LuckyDarius J. Magonnagle
1947The Sea of GrassJeff
FramedJeff Cunningham
1948The SwordsmanAngus MacArden
The Wreck of the HesperusGeorge Lockhart
The Black ArrowLawless
Adventures in SilveradoDr. Hendersonn, aka The Monk
Best Man WinsJim Smiley
Coroner CreekSheriff O'Hea
The Untamed BreedJohn Rambeau
1949The Man from ColoradoDoc Merroan
The Walking HillsOld Willy
Red CanyonJonah Johnson
Lust for GoldWiser
Any Number Can PlayEd
1950Cheaper by the DozenDr. Burton
Cargo to CapetownSam Bennett
The Big HangoverUncle Fred Mahoney
Devil's DoorwayZeke Carmody
1951The Great Missouri RaidDr. Samuels
RawhideSam Todd
Cave of OutlawsDobbs
Silver CityDutch Surrency
1952The Big TreesWalter 'Yukon' Burns
Flaming FeatherSgt. O'Rourke
Wild StallionJohn Wintergreen
Toughest Man in ArizonaJim Hadlock
She Couldn't Say NoEd Meeker
1953The War of the WorldsSquare dance musicianUncredited
It Happens Every ThursdayJake
ShaneFred Lewis
1954Make Haste to LiveSheriff Lafe
Human DesireAlec Simmons
Dawn at SocorroSheriff Cauthen
DestryThe Honorable Hiram J. Sellers, Mayor
1955Rage at DawnJudge
The Silver StarWill "Bill" Dowdy
The Lonesome TrailDan Wells
WichitaDoc Black
1956Come Next SpringMr. Canary
1957Spoilers of the ForestTom Duncan
1958Day of the Bad ManSam Wyckoff
The SheepmanMilt Masters
1959King of the Wild StallionsIdaho
It Started with a KissCongressman Richard Tappe
Edge of EternitySheriff Edwards
Hound-Dog ManDoc Cole
Stump RunBuck Gaskin
1960Four Fast GunsDipper
CimarronJudge Neal Hefner
Chartroose CabooseWoody Watts
1961Tammy Tell Me TrueJudge Carver
Devil's PartnerDon Lucas
The ComancherosJudge Thaddeus Jackson Breen
1962Ride the High CountryJudge Tolliver
1963Donovan's ReefBoston Attorney Francis X. O'Brien
A Ticklish AffairCaptain Martin
McLintock!Bunny Dull
Move Over, DarlingJudge Bryson
1965The RoundersVince Moore
The Man from Button WillowSorryVoice
1967Welcome to Hard TimesBrown
1969Angel in My PocketAxel Gresham
1974BenjiBill(final film role)


Year Title Role Notes
1953Make Room for DaddyCaptain ChrisEpisode: "The Sea Captain"
1954Crown Theatre with Gloria SwansonUncle HarryEpisode: "Uncle Harry"
1952–1954Hopalong CassidyRed Connors
1955Ford TheatrePapa MumbyEpisode: "The Mumbysa"
Screen Directors PlayhouseSub RoyalEpisode: "The Bush Roper"
1953, 1955Cavalcade of AmericaHorace Greeley / Doc Mathew4 episodes
1956Judge Roy BeanJudge Roy Bean
Strange StoriesEpisode: "Con Game"
CrossroadsBart AldenEpisode: "The Lamp of Father Cataldo"
1957Whirlybirds BurtonEpisode: "The Perfect Crime"
The Christophers John AugustusEpisode: "Sentence Deferred"
Climax!Spencer2 episodes
1958The Adventures of Jim BowieRingtailEpisode: "Deaf Smith"
The Restless GunEthan Greenfield / Sheriff Gabe Starns2 episodes
Studio OneDan FerrisEpisode: "Birthday Present"
The Gale Storm ShowJasper StokesEpisode: "Hayride Ahoy"
26 MenEpisode: "Cross and Doublecross"
Cimarron CityShantyEpisode: "Kid on a Calico Horse"
1959LawmanJess MillerEpisode: "The Captives"
TrackdownTully SaxonEpisode: "The Trick"
Wanted Dead or AlivePop Michaels / Chester Blake2 episodes
Alfred Hitchcock PresentsPopsEpisode: "Coyote Moon"
The DeputyIsbelEpisode: "Man of Peace"
1955–1959General Electric Theater
1958, 1959The CaliforniansDutch / Major2 episodes
1960BroncoPop OwensEpisode: "Winter Kill"
Bat MastersonCactus CharlieEpisode: "Debt of Honor"
Assignment: UnderwaterCharlie NobleEpisode: "Charlie Noble's Pearl"
Stagecoach WestLum JensenEpisode: "Red Sand"
OutlawsNulty2 episodes
Route 66Jack McConkleEpisode: "The Beryllium Eater"
RiverboatWingate PardeeEpisode: "Duel on the River"
1957, 1960Wagon TrainThe Tramp / Ben Mattox2 episodes
1961KlondikeSam PerkinsEpisode: "The Golden Burro"
National VelvetGrandpa Harwell2 episodes
The Barbara Stanwyck ShowJudge FranklinEpisode: "A Man's Game"
The Tall ManArchie KeoghEpisode: "The Judas Palm"
The New Bob Cummings ShowEpisode: "The Oxtail Incident"
Bus StopJudge NealEpisode: "The Man from Bootstrap"
The Andy Griffith ShowHenry WheelerEpisode: "Aunt Bee's Brief Encounter"
1960, 1961BonanzaHallelujah Hicks / John Henry Hill2 episodes
1957–1961Tales of Wells FargoBob Dawson / Doc Dawson6 episodes
1958–1961MaverickDaddy Forge / Jed / Colonel Hamilton / Red Daniels5 episodes
The RiflemanDoc Burrage / Grandpa Fogarty
1962The Twilight ZoneDoc BoltonEpisode: "The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank"
ThrillerDoc O'ConnorEpisode: 'Til Death Do Us Part
Alcoa PremiereCrab HolmanEpisode: "Flashing Spikes"
Stoney BurkeDawesEpisode: "Fight Night"
Have Gun – Will TravelCardiffEpisode: "Man in an Hourglass"
The Wide CountryUncle Walt GuthrieEpisode: "Good Old Uncle Walt"
Dennis the MenaceMr. MeekinEpisode: "Dennis and the Hermit"
1958, 1962Perry MasonAndy Templet / Judge Edward Daley2 episodes
1960–1962LaramieTully Casper
Cletus McBain
4 episodes
1962-1963The Lloyd Bridges ShowDoc / Tyree2 episodes
GunsmokeDan Witter / Dan York2 episodes
Dr. KildareSteve Devitt / Judge Manning2 episodes
1957–1963Leave It to BeaverCaptain Jack / William 'Uncle Billy' Cleaver3 episodes
1965Luke and the TenderfootLuke Herkimer
1968Something for a Lonely ManOld Man WolenskiTV movie
The Beverly HillbilliesUncle Joe Carson3 episodes
1969The Over-the-Hill GangJason FitchTV movie
1965–1969Green AcresUncle Joe CarsonThere were many crossovers from Petticoat Junction cast members in the series
1970The Name of the GameFelsonEpisode: "Little Bear Died Running"
The Mod SquadHargisEpisode: "Welcome to the Human Race, Levi Frazee!"
The Over-the-Hill Gang Rides AgainJason FitchTV movie
1963–1970Petticoat JunctionJoseph P. "Uncle Joe" Carson
1971"The Men From Shiloh" (rebranded name of The Virginian)Teddy BirdwellEpisode: "The Legacy of Spencer Flats"
YumaMules McNeilTV movie
1971–1972Cade's CountyJ.J. Jackson
1972The Partridge FamilyJudge McElwreathEpisode: "M is for Many Things"
1973Love, American StyleSegment: Love and the Family Hour


  1. Terrace, Vincent (January 10, 2014). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). McFarland. p. 151. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  2. "Buck Comes Home". The Eugene Guard. May 18, 1959. p. 11. Retrieved July 28, 2017 via Newspapers.com.
  3. Edgar Buchanan, Actor, Matineeclassics.com; retrieved March 10, 2013. Archived December 19, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  4. "Edgar Buchanan: the frontier dentist who played one on TV". Oregon Health & Science University. July 12, 2010. Retrieved June 10, 2013.
  5. "Actor Edgar Buchanan, TV's 'Uncle Joe,' Is Dead". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. April 5, 1979. p. 12. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  6. 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 29 July 2017.
  7. The Rattle of Theta Chi. Theta Chi Fraternity Inc. 1942. p. 13. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  8. 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.
  9. "Secrets Of TV's The Rifleman: More Than Just Guns And Good Times". Trend-chaser.com. 1970-01-01. p. 66. Retrieved 2017-07-13.
  10. Erickson, Hal (1989). Syndicated Television: The First Forty Years, 1947-1987. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 97. ISBN 978-0-8995-0410-0.
  11. Hathorn, Billy. "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
  12. 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 29 July 2017.
  13. Ellenburger, Alan R. (May 1, 2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-5019-0.
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