Tom Lester

Tom Lester

Highest Rated: 86% Benji (1974)

Lowest Rated: 20% Gordy (1995)

Birthday: Sep 23, 1938

Birthplace: Jackson, Mississippi, USA

If ever there was an actor almost solely identified for playing one role, it would be Tom Lester, whose lean and lanky farmhand Eb Dawson was used on three separate 1960s television sitcoms and unsurprisingly popped up in a 1990 reunion special for his most successful series. The Mississippi native became a Born Again Christian as a child and was convinced that God wanted him to become a famous actor. After earning a B.A. in Chemistry and Biology at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Lester spent one year teaching in Oklahoma before heading out to Hollywood. Fortune was on his side when he appeared in a play alongside Linda Kaye, the daughter of CBS producer Paul Henning, who was looking to fill the role of Eb Dawson on his new series, "Green Acres." Lester wound up having the best chemistry with series star Eddie Albert and beat out 400 other actors. The Dawson character went from a semi-recurring role to a series regular and wound up in crossover episodes of "The Beverly Hillbillies" and alongside Kaye in "Petticoat Junction." After "Green Acres" was canceled in 1971, Lester was a typecasting victim and spent the next two decades landing only occasional roles in episodes of "Little House on the Prairie" and "Santa Barbara." Lester later transitioned into evangelism and motivational speaking, his most notable latter-day roles coming in the 1991 biopic "Pistol: The Birth of a Legend" and 1995's "Gordy." Tom Lester died on April 20, 2020 in Nashville, TN at the age of 81.

Highest rated movies





20% 24% Gordy Cousin Jake (Character) $3.3M 1995
No Score Yet 79% The Pistol: The Birth of a Legend Pete (Character) - 1991
No Score Yet No Score Yet Return to Green Acres Eb Dawson (Character) - 1990
86% 55% Benji Riley (Character) - 1974


No Score Yet 90% Knight Rider Unknown (Guest Star) 1982
No Score Yet 92% Little House on the Prairie Mr. Wilder (Guest Star) 1981
No Score Yet No Score Yet Green Acres Ed Dawson (Character) 1965-1971
No Score Yet 100% The Beverly Hillbillies Unknown (Guest Star) 1968
No Score Yet No Score Yet Petticoat Junction Unknown (Guest Star) 1966-1967