Do positive things with your life

Edward Albert Heimberger was born in Rock Island, Ill. on April 22, 1908.
As a small child, Edward did not pay attention in school—he was more interested in looking at the girls than listening to the teacher. Consequently, he was a ‘D’ student.
But Edward was very enthusiastic about one subject—nature. When he was only six years old, he bought his first Audubon pin for a nickel. It was the beginning of a lifelong interest in the environment.
In his early years, Edward tried many jobs. He was a soda jerk, a singer in nightclubs and on the radio, a circus clown, and a trapeze artist. And, in spite of his inauspicious academic start, he eventually returned to school and graduated from the University of Minnesota.
Then at age 30, an age when many actors retire, Edward got his first movie role—starring in “Brother Rat” with Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman.
It was the beginning of a stellar acting career that would span more than 50 years, including a dozen Broadway shows, more than 100 films, and two Academy Award nominations.
But through it all, Edward maintained his love of nature. And eventually, an opportunity came along to play a character who shared that love. Today, we know Edward Albert Heimberger as Eddie Albert, the star of the popular television show “Green Acres.”
In that show, he played Oliver Wendell Douglas, a city lawyer who buys a run-down farm against the wishes of his beautiful, city-bred wife played by Eva Gabor.
“Green Acres is the place to be/Farm living is the life for me/Land spreading out so far and wide/Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.”
Eddie Albert sang that theme song from the heart. The premise of the show fit his belief that “to lose contact with nature is like throwing gold in the sea and losing it.”
Throughout his life, Albert has used his influence as a public figure to speak out on a wide variety of environmental issues.
For instance, after observing the absence of babies in the pelican population near his home, Albert spoke out against the use of DDT. He was invited to address 60 colleges and universities on the topic.
Soon, with public awareness raised, environmental agencies were able to orchestrate a ban on DDT.
And, true to his character on Green Acres, Albert has been a long-time supporter of the family farm—advocating higher farm prices and educating about topsoil depletion.
Because of Albert’s environmental work, he was selected to host the first Earth Day celebration in 1970. In fact, Earth Day is held each April 22 because that is Eddie Albert’s birthday.
Now a wise 95-year-old, Edward Albert Heimberger is just as fascinated by the wonders of nature as he was at six. And just as committed to preserving the natural environment as he was in 1970.
“I want very much to do positive things with my life,” Eddie Albert said in “The Ageless Spirit,” edited by Philip Berman and Connie Goldman. “If I look at my log at the end of the week and can say, ‘Hey, you did a good thing there,’ that’s enough.”
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at or visit

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