Return to Homepage
... Dedicated to the TV Addict in All of Us

   The place to be....for the Characters, Places & Things on Television

What's New at TV Acres  
  Home > Index > Character Bios > Barnaby Jones  
 TV Character Bios

JONES, Barnaby
(Barnaby Jones)
( 555-7650 or 467-7935
Office # 615
3782 Clinton Avenue
Los Angeles, CA

Barnaby is a private detective. He is a senior citizen, sports a head of white hair and has a special laboratory at his office where he evaluates the clues from his crime scenes. Although Barnaby is aging, he still has what it takes to close a case and bring down the bad guys. He always solves his cases because he's a "long looker and a slow thinker."

Buddy Ebsen as Barnaby Jones
Barnaby Jones

Barnaby's easy-going, folksy charm duped many a criminal into thinking he was not up to the job, but they soon discovered otherwise. Once a female commented, "A man of your age, Mr. Jones? You're a new kind of private eye." Barnaby replied: "It's a nice way of saying I'm an old kind of private eye. Besides to me old age has always seemed to be 15 years older than I am."

Barnaby had retired as a private investigator to raise horses on his ranch in Sun Valley. He gave his private eye agency to his son, Hal Jones. Sadly, four years later, Hal was murdered while on a case in 1973.

Determined to find his son's killer, Barnaby came out of retirement to solve the murder with the help of fellow detective, Frank Cannon. After Barnaby succeeded, he reopened the firm and kept on his widowed daughter-in-law, Betty Jones to help run the office as his assistant and secretary.

Besides his skill as a private eye, Barnaby is also an expert in forensic chemistry as well as clinical psychology, forensic medicine, toxicology and criminology. Many of Barnaby's cases are routine claims for an insurance company (California Meridian).

To solve a case, Barnaby doesn't let a stone go unturned. He methodically collects clues from a crime site and places them in small plastic bags to be analyzed at a later time.

Barnaby in his lab
Barnaby checking clues in his lab.

In his spare time, Barnaby enjoys fishing. His favorite drink in milk. As Barnaby once said "I can eat anything as long as I can wash it down with a glass of cold milk."

In 1976 Jedediah Romano (J.R.) Jones, the charming and witty son of Barnaby's cousin Monroe from Chicago teamed up with Barnaby to solve the murder of his father and then joined Barnaby Jones Investigations. J.R. handled special assignments in between studying for the bar to become a lawyer.

Barnaby's police contacts were Lt. Joe Taylor and later Lt. John Biddle of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Lee Meriweather as Betty Jones

Mark Shera as JR Jones

John Carter as Lt. John Biddle

Betty Jones J.R. Jones Lt. Biddle

Some Classic Barnaby Quotes

  • At this moment I'm not looking for the needle in the haystack,
    I'm looking for a haystack.
  • Believing everything you see is nearly as badly as having
    to see everything you believe.
  • Betty, the answers are just as tough, but the questions are
    getting better all the time.
  • Dead people don't leave fingerprints.
  • I don't like coincidences.
  • In my business questions are like peanuts, you can't stop
    with one or two.
  • That boy is as loose with his purse-strings as a nimbus cloud
    is with rain.

Barnaby Jones Logo

TRIVIA NOTE: Another detective with a love of milk was Dan Tanna (Robert Urich) from the drama VEGA$/ABC/1978-81.

Buddy Ebsen died from pneumonia complications on July 6 July 2003 in Torrance, California, USA. He celebrated his 95th birthday on April 2nd of that year and passed away peacefully at the Torrance Memorial Hospital in the morning on July 6th, 2003 surrounded by his wife Dorothy, his children and grandchildren.

Born Christian Rudolph Ebsen, Jr. on April 2, 1908 in Belleville, Illinois, Buddy started his career as a dancer on Broadway (his father was a dance instructor) and appeared in numerous in musical films of the thirties.

In the early fifties he played Rex Allen's comic relief sidekick in five B western movies for Republic Pictures. Then he became famous as Davy Crockett's sidekick George Russel in Walt Disney's DAVY CROCKETT series filmed from 1954-56. Playing a similar frontiersman, Ebsen appeared as Sergeant Hunk Mariner, the sidekick of Major Robert Rogers on the TV series NORTHWEST PASSAGE/NBC/1958-59 - set during the French and Indian Wars (1754-1759).

In the 1960s, Ebsen achieved his most memorable success as Jed "Well Doggies!" Clampett on the rural situation comedy THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES/CBS/1962-71. After the BARNABY JONES series, Buddy appeared as Matt's Uncle Roy Houston during the third season (1984-85) of the detective drama MATT HOUSTON/ABC/1982-85.

In 1993, Buddy reprised the role of his popular geriatric detective Barnaby Jones when he did a comic cameo in the movie remake of "The Beverly Hillbillies" starring Jim Varney as Jed.

In 1994, Buddy's autobiography "The Other Side of Oz" was published by Donovan Publishing. In his book, Buddy shared these words of wisdom to all his readers and fans:

"Life's a brand-new ball game every day!
Remember that of all the elements
That comprise a human being,
The most important, the most essential,
The one that will sustain, transcend,
Overcome and vanquish all obstacles is Spirit!"

Lee Meriwether was born May 27, 1935 in Los Angeles, California. Related to Meriwether Lewis, the 19th century explorer, Lee laid claim to a number of beauty pageant titles including Miss San Francisco, Miss California and Miss America of 1955. She also became the first women's editor with Dave Garroway on the original TODAY SHOW in the 1950s.

Her other TV credits included scientist Dr. Ann McGregor on the sci-fi adventure TIME TUNNEL/ABC/1966-67; vampire Lily Munster on THE MUNSTERS TODAY/SYN/1988-91, and the role of Ruth Martin II on the daytime soap ALL MY CHILDREN in the 1990s. Lee also holds claim to playing Catwoman in the original 1966 "Batman" movie (currently held by actress Halle Berry in the 2004 film Catwoman).

For her role as Betty Jones on the Barnaby Jones series, the Golden Globes nominated Lee Meriwether as Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Drama for 1974 and 1975. Nowadays, Lee spends her time acting on stage and supporting charitable causes.

Mark Shera was born on July 10, 1949 in Bayonne, New Jersey. His early acting career began in the play "Godspell" in the role of Jesus. In 1975, he starred as Officer Dominic Lucas in the police series S.W.A.T/ABC/1975-76.

After his 1987 role as Roger in the TV movie "Right to Die" Mark played a number of TV roles on such shows as ALMOST HOME, BEVERLY HILLS 90210, BLACKE'S MAGIC, and MURDER SHE WROTE. In 2002, Mark played a radio caller (Bruce from Nebraska) in the mini-series Steven Spielberg Presents Taken (2002).


Buddy Ebsen as Barnaby Jones
Lee Meriwether as Betty Jones
Mark Shera as Jedediah Romano (J.R.) Jones
Vince Howard as Lt. Joe Taylor
John Carter as Lt. John Biddle

External Links


Back to Top

Home | Site Map | Search | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Archive
Copyright © TV Acres. 2000-2016 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. All photos are the property of their respective companies.