'Green Acres' — Glimpse inside Life and Death of the Actor Who Passed at 81

Tom Lester, best known for his role as Eb Dawson on "Green Acres," was raised on his grandfather's farm in Jackson, Mississippi, where he was born.

Growing up, he shucked corn, picked cotton, and went fishing and hunting. He later graduated with a degree in chemistry from the University of Mississippi.

Before making his way into Hollywood, Lester worked at a school in Purcell, Oklahoma as a science and biology teacher.

Tom Lester at the Burbank Airport Hilton Hotel in Burbank, California, picture created in August 2003. | Photo: Getty Images.

Tom Lester at the Burbank Airport Hilton Hotel in Burbank, California, picture created in August 2003. | Photo: Getty Images.

He was en route to becoming a doctor when he decided to chase his Hollywood dream. Under the tutelage of acting teacher Lurene Tuttle, he landed roles in plays opposite to Linda Kaye.

Kaye was the daughter of Paul Henning, who was then looking for actors for "Green Acres." The show was a spinoff of Henning's rural comedies, "The Beverly Hillbillies" and "Petticoat Junction."

During the auditions for the show, he stood out because he was the only actor who knows how to milk a cow, as reported by Variety.

The cast of the American TV comedy series "Green Acres," circa 1968. | Photo: Getty Images

The cast of the American TV comedy series "Green Acres," circa 1968. | Photo: Getty Images

Beating out the competition with his real-life farming skills, Lester was later hired for the CBS comedy, which ran from 1965 to 1971.

Being cast by the show forever changed his life and cemented his place in the world of comedy. He also showed off his knack of humor on "The Beverly Hillbillies" and "Petticoat Junction."

Lester died last April 20, 2020, at the age of 81 due to complications from Parkinson's disease.

Charo and Tom Lester appearing in "Charo and the Sergeant," circa 1976. | Photo: Getty Images

Charo and Tom Lester appearing in "Charo and the Sergeant," circa 1976. | Photo: Getty Images

"Green Acres" follows the journey of a New York City attorney and his wife as they attempt to live in Hooterville, a bizarre community, and make a living as genteel farmers.

Created by Jay Sommers, the show also starred Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor, who portrayed the couple Oliver Wendell Douglas and Lisa Douglas.

The couple built their new life with the help of Eb, played by Lester. Humble but a slightly slow hired hand, Eb helped the couple make their shack home on a run-down farm.

Tom Lester appearing in ABC TV movie "Charo and the Sergeant," circa 1976. | Photo: Getty Images

Tom Lester appearing in ABC TV movie "Charo and the Sergeant," circa 1976. | Photo: Getty Images

Lester also acted in movies, including "Benjie" (1974) and "Gordy" (1994). Other hit TV shows he appeared on include "Little House on the Prairie" and "Knight Rider."

Lester died last April 20, 2020, at the age of 81 due to complications from Parkinson's disease. He died at the Nashville home of his fiancée and caregiver Jackie Peters.

He was survived by Peters, his brother Michael, and his great nieces, Haleigh and McKenzie. He was laid to rest at the Hickory Grove Cemetery in Laurel, as reported by Hollywood Reporter.

Tom Lester as Eb Dawson on "Green Acres," circa 1966. | Photo: Getty Images

Tom Lester as Eb Dawson on "Green Acres," circa 1966. | Photo: Getty Images

Eddie Albert, Lester's co-star on "Green Acres," also lived a full life before his death in 2005 at the age of 99. Before starring on the hit TV show, he joined the movie industry in 1938.

He starred in the movie "Brother Rat," alongside Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman. Aside from his talent in acting, Albert was also recognized for his service in the military during World War II.

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