The actor who is best known for his role as banker Mr. Drysdale from the Beverly Hillbillies was born today in 1904. Now WE know em

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Raymond Thomas Bailey was born May 6, 1904 in San Francisco.

His dream was to become a movie star, so as a teenager Bailey moved to Hollywood.

He found it was harder than he had thought, so ended up taking a variety of short-term jobs.

At one point, Bailey worked as a day laborer at a movie studio in the days of silent pictures. One day while a mob scene was being filmed, he sneaked onto the set, got caught as was fired.

Having no success getting any kind of movie roles, Bailey moved to New York to try his luck at stage acting. His luck was no better in theatre, and eventually went to work on a freighter, traveling around the world to port countries such as China, Japan, the Philippines and various ports around the Mediterranean.

Then, Bailey decided to work on a pineapple plantation in Hawaii, while acting in community theatre and singing for local radio.

By 1938, Bailey decided to give Hollywood another try. This time he actually began getting some bit parts in movies, but after the U.S. entered World War II, he joined the Merchant Marine and went back to sea.

After the war, Bailey returned to Hollywood for a third time, and eventually began getting minor character roles.

Broadway plays

Bailey also got his shot at acting on the Broadway stage. He appeared as Howard Haines in Last Stop (1944), played an unknown man in The Bat (1953), appeared as A.J. Alexander in Sing Till Tomorrow (1953), and got the role of Captain Randolph Southard in The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial (1954–1955), which starred Henry Fonda.

Movie roles

Bailey’s movie roles included playing a member of the board in the 1954 comedy/romance Sabrina starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn and William Holden.

He played Mr. Benson in the 1955 drama Picnic starring William Holden and Kim Novak.

Bailey played a doctor in Hitchcock’s 1958 drama/thriller Vertigo starring James Stewart and Kim Novak.

He was cast as a Colonel in the 1958 comedy No Time for Sergeants starring Andy Griffith.

Bailey played Lawyer Brancato in the 1959 crime drama Al Capone starring Rod Steiger.

Television roles

In the 1950s, Bailey was cast for many character roles for television series.

During its 1960-1961 season, Bailey had a regular role on My Sister Eileen and guest starred on Pat O’Brien’s ABC sitcom Harrigan and Son.

He also appeared as Dean McGillis on CBS’s The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis, starring Dwayne Hickman.

Mr. Drysdale on The Beverly Hillbillies

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Raymond Bailey was cast as Milburn Drysdale, a greedy bank president, for the 1962 hit TV sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies.

In The Beverly Hillbillies, Nancy Kulp portrayed Bailey’s ever loyal and “by the book” secretary, Miss Jane Hathaway.

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Banker Drysdale managed the millions of dollars in oil money royalties in the bank account of country gentleman Jed Clampett (portrayed by Buddy Ebsen).

Often, Mr. Drysdale would be required to talk with Clampett about how strange “city life” and “city folk” are (when compared to Mr. Clampett’s view of “normal” country folk).

On occasions when Mr. Clampett was considering withdrawing all his funds and returning to the country, the miserly Mr. Drysdale would often panic and work to try to convince him (and his unusual family) to remain in Beverly Hills (to great comedic effect).

After the show went off the air in 1971, Bailey acted in a few less-noteworthy movie roles.

He reportedly began suffering symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, which visibly affected his performance in the last episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies, and he was completely unable to work after 1975.

In his final years he divided his time between a condo and a houseboat in Laguna Niguel, California, keeping in touch with former co-star Nancy Kulp (who he nicknamed ‘Slim’) and became mostly reclusive.

Raymond Bailey died April 15, 1980 of a heart attack, at the age of 75 in Irvine, California.

His body was cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea.

He was survived by his wife, Gaby Aida George (1914-1985).

Now WE know em

 

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