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Tom Lester, last-surviving ‘Green Acres’ cast member, dies at 81

Tom Lester at the Burbank Airport Hilton Hotel in Burbank, California.
Tom Lester at the Burbank Airport Hilton Hotel in Burbank, California. Albert L. Ortega/WireImage

Tom Lester, best known for his role of Eb Dawson on Green Acres, died Monday from complications related to Parkinson’s disease. He was 81.

Lester’s death was confirmed by his brother Michael who posted an obit to the “Fan of Tom Lester” page on Facebook.

“Lester died of complications from Parkinson’s Disease on April 20, 2020 in the Nashville, Tennessee home of his fiancee and long term caregiver, Jackie Peters,” the obit read.

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Michael said that there will be “a graveside service attended by family and close friends” on April 24 at Hickory Grove Cemetery, Laurel, Miss.

“The service will be officiated by Dr. Randy Turner of the First Baptist Church, Laurel, Mississippi, where Tom was a member for most of his life. There will be a celebration of life service held at a later date to be determined,” Michael added.

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Lester landed the role of Eb Dawson on Green Acres in 1965 and starred on the show until its end in 1971. He was the last surviving actor of the original Green Acres cast.

(Original Caption) Publicity photo of the cast of Green Acres left to right: Pat Buttram as Mr. Haney, and Tom Lester as Eb Dawson, Alvy Moore as Hank Kimball (seated), Mother on series (unidentified), Eddie Albert as Oliver Douglas and Eva Gabor as Lisa Douglas.
(Original Caption) Publicity photo of the cast of Green Acres left to right: Pat Buttram as Mr. Haney, and Tom Lester as Eb Dawson, Alvy Moore as Hank Kimball (seated), Mother on series (unidentified), Eddie Albert as Oliver Douglas and Eva Gabor as Lisa Douglas.

Lester went on to appear in two related series, Petticoat Junction and Beverly Hillbillies, and also had roles in Benji (1974) and Gordy (1994).

The actor appeared in popular TV series such as Little House on the Prairie and Knight Rider.

According to Lester’s brother Michael, the actor “became a born-again Christian” in 1948 and “During and after his role as Eb, he became more involved travelling the nation, preaching a message of Christian faith and obedience.”

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Many people took to Twitter to share their condolences once news of his passing spread.

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Lester is survived by his brother Michael, his fiancée and caregiver Jackie Peters and extended family.