Actor Tom Lester, star of American ’60s sitcom “Green Acres” has died aged 81 from complications related to Parkinson’s disease.
Tom, who played farmhand Eb Dawson in the popular sitcom which aired between 1965 and 1971, is the last surviving actor of the original cast.
The Mississippi-born actor and evangelist appeared in every episode of the sitcom which followed the lives of a New York lawyer and his socialite wife who give up life in the big apple to live on a farm.
His brother Michael confirmed the sad news on the Fan of Tom Lester Facebook page saying he died on April 20 in the Nashville, Tennessee home of his fiancée and long term caregiver, Jackie Peters.
Charting the life of his brother, Michael wrote: “In 1948, Lester became a born-again Christian. During and after his role as Eb, he became more involved traveling the nation, preaching a message of Christian faith and obedience.
“Lester was a conservationist and spent many enjoyable years on his farm in Jasper County, Mississippi, where in 1997, he was the recipient of Mississippi’s “Wildlife Farmer of the Year” award.”
Tom grew up working on his grandfather’s farm, experience that would serve him well in later life when he auditioned for the role as farmhand in Green Acres and beat his competition thanks to his cow-milking skills.
The farmer turned actor also tried his hand at teaching in Oklahoma after earning his degree in chemistry but gave it all up to move to Hollywood and pursue his dream.
Tom also appeared in the shows “Petticoat Junction” and “Beverly Hillbillies.” He went on play supporting roles in the movies Benji in 1974 and Gordy in 1994. In the ’80s, he had a guest spot on Knight Rider.
Watch him in action in his much-loved role as the smart-aleck farmhand Eb Dawson in the clip below.
May he rest in peace.
Please share with all the “Green Acre” fans you know.