Maxwell Emmett “Pat” Buttram was an American actor, best known for playing the sidekick of Gene Autry and the character of Mr. Haney in the TV series Green Acres. He had a distinctive voice which, in his own words, “. never quite made it through puberty. It has been described as sounding like a handful of gravel thrown in a Mix-Master”.
Buttram was born in Addison, Alabama, to Wilson McDaniel Buttram, a Methodist minister, and his wife Mary Emmett Maxwell. He had an older brother named Augustus McDaniel Buttram, as well as five other elder siblings. When “Pat” Buttram was a year old, his father was transferred to Nauvoo, Alabama. Buttram graduated from high school in Jefferson County, then entered Birmingham Southern College to study for the ministry. He performed in college plays and on a local radio station, before he became a regular on the “WLS National Barn Dance” in Chicago.
Buttram went to Hollywood in the 1940s to become a “sidekick” to Roy Rogers. However, since Rogers already had two regulars, Buttram was soon dropped. He was then picked by Gene Autry, recently returned from his World War II service in the Army Air Force, to work with him. Buttram would co-star with Gene Autry in more than 40 films, and in over 100 episodes of Autry’s television show.
Buttram’s first Autry film was Strawberry Roan in 1948. In the late 1940s, Buttram joined Autry on his radio show, Melody Ranch and then on television with The Gene Autry Show. During the first TV season, Buttram went by “Pat” or “Patrick”, with a variety of last names. From the second season on, he used his own name.