‘Dueling Banjos Boy in ‘Deliverance’

Celebrities, Celebrity Q&A, People
on May 6, 2007

Q Whatever became of the boy who played "Dueling Banjos" in the movie Deliverance?
—Ivan Pettit, Franklin, Pa.

Georgia native Billy Redden didn't have any speaking lines in the 1972 classic Deliverance, but he sure made quite an impression as the banjo-playing hillbilly kid who visually imprinted the film's musical signature. Redden, then 16, was selected from his Rabun County school for the part. But he didn't actually play the banjo, nor could he convincingly pretend to pick one. For the movie's "Dueling Banjos" scene, a real musician crouched behind him and reached around, and the camera framed the shot to make it appear as if Redden was playing. Now 51, Redden went on to appear in one other movie (he had a bit part in Big Fish in 2003), and today he works at a Wal-Mart in Clayton, Ga., not far from where he grew up.