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filmways presentation, dahling
Green Acres
...Steve Cox
 
 
(Written April 3, 2001)
 
It's hard to believe that Eddie Albert is in his nineties. Buddy Ebsen, yes, I can believe that. (Buddy always looked a bit older because they grayed his hair on The Beverly Hillbillies, and when he emerged from the mansion, his hair was stark white on Barnaby Jones.) For some reason, though, Eddie Albert has one of those faces that seems ageless.

He's a grandfatherly type now, very devoted to his grandchildren in fact. In May 2001, he'll be feted with a new A&E Biography produced by Kevin Burns at Van Ness Films in Los Angeles. Burns is a professed admirer of Green Acres. He promises some rare treats in this Biography, along with interviews with cast members and Eddie's children, rare footage, et al.

When I was writing the book on Green Acres ("The Hooterville Handbook: A Viewer's Guide to Green Acres" / St. Martin's Press), Eddie Albert was one of the most supportive of the cast. He granted me several interviews, although his memory wasn't what it used to be. But that didn't matter. One of the most important things he wanted to make sure I established was his love for the actors who surrounded he and Eva Gabor. "They were jewels," he said. He respected all of the actors who supported him on the program because they made him look funny, and he knew it.

Today, Eddie is fully retired and still enjoys his gardens at home and makes only few personal appearances. He moves a little slower, but with confidence. His hair is snow white, and he has that gentle look on his face, outlined by deep laugh lines. So recognizeable, this Oscar-nominee stopped everything cold with his mere presence recently when he was meeting some friends at lunch at a Beverly Hills hotel. I witnessed this. Eddie came into the hotel's posh lobby with his son, Edward at his side. The lobby was crammed with equipment and people and crews and actors, as it was the sight for filming an episode of "Ally McBeal" that afternoon. When Eddie walked through the mess, everyone stopped and stared in amazement. I heard many of them saying, "Isn't that Eddie Albert?" and some smiling with affection at this old pro. The thirty-something directors had lost control of the contained madness as this elder actor walked through the lobby toward the restaurant. It was a sight. And Eddie was none the wiser, because his hearing is not what it used to be. He didn't hear the sudden hush of people recognizing him as he walked on by, minding his own business. Eddie just moved slowly and went on his way, nodding and gleaming that terrific wide, genuine smile he has.

Steve Cox
 
Eddie Albert and Sid Melton, 1998
 
Alvy Moore and Frank Cady

(Taken in Palm Springs, just a few weeks before Alvy died)