Heavyweight champ Max Baer, whose heyday was the 1930s, made appearances in late vaudeville as well as Hollywood films, including The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933) with Myrna Loy and Walter Huston, and (alongside his boxer brother Buddy) in the 1949 Abbott and Costello film Africa Screams. Half Jewish, he was much loved (along with Joe Louis) for being a foil to the Nazi boxer Max Schmeling. But his best remembered legacy today is probably his son Max Baer, Jr. who played “Jethro” on the Beverly Hillbillies with Buddy Ebsen. The elder Baer would not live long enough to see that come to pass. He passed away in 1959.
To find out more about the history of vaudeville, please consult my critically acclaimed book No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other fine establishments.