On April 20, 2020, “Green Acres” star Tom Lester died due to complications from Parkinson’s Disease. Lester played Ed Dawson on 150 episodes of “Green Acres.” Reports state that since he could milk a real cow, he won the part against 400 other people. The actor was 81 at the time of his death.
Lester’s Early Years
He was born in Jackson, Mississippi on Sept. 23, 1938. The actor was raised on his grandfather’s farm. He grew up hunting, fishing, cotton picking, and shucking corn. Lester majored in chemistry and biology at the University of Mississippi where he graduated in 1960.
After graduating he taught science and biology at a school in Purcell, Oklahoma for a year. Lester then decided to follow his dreams to be an actor and moved to Hollywood. Many people in Lester’s hometown felt that he was “too tall, too skinny, [and] too ugly,” to make it in show business.
His view was, “God never took the time to make nobody. People go through life wishing they had tried to do something, but they’re afraid to try because they’re afraid they’ll fail. The failure is not trying.”
Life in the Limelight and Spiritual Beliefs
In less than three years he was hired to act in “Green Acres,” which aired from 1965 to 1971. He played Ed Dawson in two other shows: “The Beverly Hillbillies” in 1962 and “Petticoat Junction” in 1963.
Deeply rooted in his Christian beliefs, he spoke at church every weekend. Lester had a few other roles including the movie “Benji,” in 1974. However, it became increasingly hard for him to accept a script. “I couldn’t go into a church and share my faith and be in a movie downtown that people in the church wouldn’t see because of the subject matter or language,” he stated in an interview.
He died in the home he shared with his loving fiancée and caregiver Jackie Peters. Lester shall be missed by her, his brother Michael, and his many friends. He was the last surviving member of the “Green Acres” cast. May he rest in peace.
By Sheena Robertson
People: Green Acres Star Tom Lester Dies of Complications from Parkinson’s Disease at 81
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IMDB: Tom Lester
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American Profile: ‘Green Acres’ Star Tom Lester
Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Joel Bedford’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License