Although most would now remember Eddie Albert as the actor who played the city-bred farmer on TV’s Green Acres in the late 1960s, some of us will also recall that he had a long career that stretched from big movie roles in the 1940s and 1950s to countless TV appearances well into the 1990s. But what you might not know is that he also tried his hand at singing for a while, and even had a hit record – sort of.
Edward Albert Heimberger was a native of Rock Island, Illinois, and even though he had some acting experience in school he didn’t really start out with a show business career in mind. He instead began his adult working life in the business world, but that ended when the stock market crashed and the depression began.
During the 1930s he tried a variety of jobs that in some cases seem almost apocryphal. Among his activities were singing on the radio as part of a trio (after dropping his awkward last name), and co-hosting a show in New York, where it’s said he also appeared in the first live test of a new technology — television. Additionally, he apparently spent some time sailing the coast off of Baja California and then working as a trapeze artist in a Mexican circus — but it was all as an undercover agent for the US government, worried about Axis activities in the area. He had a few other jobs too, but by the late 1930s, Eddie Albert was in Hollywood and finding parts in movies.
Although his film career was interrupted by his service in World War II (during which he was awarded a bronze star), Albert made a number of successful appearances in movies through the 1940s and into the 1950s. It was about then that he began returning to the medium he’d been a part of earlier — TV — where he found plenty of work, and he also began developing a singing career. He not only recorded a number of songs as a solo singer, but also enjoyed a lot of success paired up with his wife Margo in a night club act. But strangely enough his only charted record — “Little Child” — was a decidedly saccharin novelty song performed in a duet with the baby-voiced Sondra Lee.
Eddie Albert continued to find TV work well into the 1990s, and even though he developed Alzheimer’s in his later years he was always vibrant and physically active. And he was still that way right up until his death at age 99 in 2005. His son, actor/singer Edward Albert, took care of him in his last years and tragically died himself less than a year later.