|Born:||September 16, 1911|
|Location:||Independence, Missouri, USA|
|Deathplace:||Burbank, California, USA|
Paul Henning (September 16, 1911 - March 25, 2005) was an American producer and writer. Most famous for the successful sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies, he was crucial in the development of several "rural" comedies for CBS.
Henning was born on a farm and grew up in Independence, Missouri. While working in a drugstore as a teenager, he met future President Harry S. Truman, who advised him to become a lawyer. Although he did attend the Kansas City School of Law, his ambition was to be a singer on the radio. When the local radio station had no money for writers to create the "filler" between songs, he became a writer as well as a singer. Writing proved the more lucrative of the two and he abandoned singing, eventually writing for such series as Fibber McGee & Molly and the The Burns & Allen Show, and later such television series as The Real McCoys and The Andy Griffith Show. Henning was also the writer and producer of The Bob Cummings Show, where he first met many of the actors who were subsequently to appear in his later series. He also wrote or co-wrote such feature films as Lover Come Back in (1961) and Bedtime Story in (1964).
In 1962 Henning created The Beverly Hillbillies, a sitcom based on his past experiences while camping in the Ozarks. He also wrote the music and lyrics for the theme song, The Ballad of Jed Clampett, which became as popular as the show. The Beverly Hillbillies was one of the highest-rated series of all time, even becoming a feature film about three decades later. Henning had a hand in developing Green Acres and created Petticoat Junction, which had a starring role for his daughter (who shared a September 16th birthday with Paul) Linda Henning (billed as "Linda Kaye", portraying Betty Jo Bradley). The latter two shows were set in the small town of Hooterville and Petticoat had, particularly its later seasons, frequent crossovers with Hillbillies. All three programs were popular, but changing times led their parent network, CBS to look down on the so-called "ruralcoms" and move in a more "adult", sophisticated direction with series such as All in the Family. Thus in 1971, in spite of continued high ratings, The Beverly Hillbillies was cancelled.
Later in life Henning and his wife Ruth donated land to a conservation area near Branson, Missouri. Henning retired to Toluca Lake, California, dying in a Burbank hospital on March 25, 2005 at the age of 93. His daughter Carol said he had been ill for some time.
Henning was survived by two daughters, a son, and two grandsons.