On the surface, there yes, really is no factor the classic TV household sitcom Leave It come Beaver should remain so renowned today, over 60 years after the debut (in fact, it’s at this time airing ~ above the MeTV network). Because that starters, the what friend could contact a “soft” comedy without any kind of genuine laugh-out-loud moments. There are some who might say the message instilled in young Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver (Jerry Mathers) and also his big brother Wally (Tony Dow) from your dad, Ward (Hugh Beaumont), can be thought about corny and also out of step with the times. And then there is matriarch June Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley), the butt of decades of jokes for being a housewife who cleans the homestead while put on dresses, high heels and also pearls. Yet you understand what? It just doesn’t matter.

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“I think the present is the most natural and also most realistic representation of the so late ‘50s, early on ‘60s the was ~ above the air,” Tony Dow told Fox News. “And most of the stories come from genuine life. I remember the writers would certainly come in through these fancy pitches. The producers would then say, ‘I don’t want to know any type of of that. Stop pitching us. Simply tell us the worst thing that’s ever before happened to you together a kid. Go write that.’ so they really tried to keep the display realistic and believable … ns a tiny biased, together all my other friends who are on other shows are. Lock think their shows are the best. However I really perform think ours was special, due to the fact that it to be written extremely well. We invested a little an ext money on it 보다 most, i believe, yet it was just more realistic.”


And to celebrate our very own enjoyment the the show, we’re taking a look at the lives and careers that Hugh, Barbara, Tony and also Jerry.

Please scroll down for much more.

Be certain to check out and also subscribe come our classic TV & movie Podcast because that interviews v your favorite stars.


Hugh Beaumont (Ward Cleaver)

The male who play the patriarch of the Cleaver family was born Eugene Hugh Beaumont on February 16, 1909 in Eudora, Kansas. His dad a traveling salesman, the household often moved around — despite they did work out down long enough in Tennessee because that him to graduate native Chattanooga’s Baylor School, complied with by the attending the college of Chattanooga. The would at some point transfer to the university of southern California where, in 1946, he graduated through a master of Theology degree. And also don’t think because that a second that he decided to step away from spiritual devotion because that a Hollywood career.


Dave Sundstrom, a YouTube user who videos administer insightful comment on TV, movies and also music indigenous the 1960s with the 1980s, says of Hugh in one of his videos, “He want to it is in an actor just around as much as he want to it is in a guy of God. So at some suggest he made decision he might do both; though, when offered the opportunity, he would certainly preach. In fact, during breaks in between jobs, Hugh and also his household — wife Kathy and their three children — would invest their time in Minnesota much away from the entertainment market and all of the trappings the came together with it. Hugh certain loved the time away. It enabled him to focus on being a better man, a better husband come Kathy and a much better father come his kids.”

Hugh’s Hollywood career started in 1931 through him performing on radio, in nightclubs and in theaters. He made the leap come the big screen in 1940’s Phantom Raiders in one uncredited role. In fact, he would play a most those until 1953, pour it until it is full the gaps in between with functions in i m sorry he played actual characters. In total, before Leave It to Beaver, he appeared in 86 movies. Surprisingly, complying with the series he only made one extr film appearance, in 1965’s The human being Duplicators. Television actually provided more opportunities for him as he showed up on dozens that TV shows, including anthologies and also episodics (among the latter the George Reeves TV collection The Adventures that Superman). But in 1957 he uncovered the function the windy would involved know him ideal as: Ward Cleaver, who always had the perfect words of advice because that both his sons, Wally and Beaver.

On his official website, Jerry Mathers offers, “I actually operated with Hugh Beaumont even before we began shooting Leave It to Beaver. I was actors with the in a promotional film for increased Hills Memorial Park. One thing I remember is that during a scene ns was supposed to cry on cue. Hugh asked me if ns had ever before done that before and also I told the no. The said, ‘Put your challenge into her hands and laugh yes, really hard. It’s an old actor’s trick because the sound the laughter and also crying are an extremely closely related.’ certain enough, i tried it and it worked! once we shot the pilot of Leave It come Beaver, Hugh was no the initial father. But, once they re-cast the role for the series, Hugh was one of several people lugged in because that an audition. My mother actually said for that to walk in because that the interview! when I witnessed him, i was for this reason happy since he to be the nice man that I functioned with top top the rose Hills shoot. So, once we read a brief scene together, we had a great chemistry and Hugh obtained the part of Ward Cleaver. I was very glad that he to be picked because that the role and we had a exorbitant friendship because that his entire life until he passed away in 1982 from a heart attack. Hugh and also my dad had end up being friends and he occasionally came to our home to beat cards with my father and some the his friends.”

Continues Jerry, “Hugh had actually a long and also illustrious career and also did numerous films and television collection in enhancement to Leave It come Beaver. One that his most famous characters was Michael Shayne, that he played in five films. He was a hard drinking, heavy cigarette smoking cigarettes detective in this part, in the layout of Mickey Spillane … i think he to be much much more comfortable together Ward Cleaver, since it fit his ‘real-life’ personality so much better.” Those Michael Shayne films were Murder is mine Business, Larceny in she Heart and Blonde because that a job (all 1946) and also Three top top a Ticket and Too many Winners (both 1947).

Following the end of Leave It come Beaver in 1963, Hugh made more TV guest appearances and also appeared in a variety of community theater productions. Gradually he moved away from display business and also actually ended up being a Christmas tree farmer in grand Rapids, Minnesota. The presumption is the the move away from exhilaration (as well together writing and directing, which the had begun to have some success with) was precipitated through a punch in 1972 native which the never totally recovered.

Hugh married Kathryn Adams Doty in 1941 and also they continued to be so till they divorce in 1974. They room the parental to 3 children: Hunter, Kristy and also Mark. Hugh died of a heart assault on may 14, 1982.

Comments Dave Sundstrom, “He believed that the God that he had studied all those years, the God the he had actually preached about, the God that had been over there to lull him, well, he thought that the God didn’t care much about Hugh Beaumont the movie and also TV star. He cared about Hugh Beaumont the man, and also even much more specifically what remained in that male heart. The passed away in 1982 from a heart attack. He to be with household visiting his enlarge son, Hunter, in Munich, Germany. As soon as word acquired out about his death, the man was remembered by his family and also friends, no for his onscreen accomplishments, yet rather for the overwhelmingly positive influence that he’d had on each among them. And also those feelings prolonged to his television household as well. They were best there, mourning alongside his family as one.”

Sadly, he didn’t live long sufficient to reprise his function of Ward Cleaver in the TV movie Still the Beaver, return the movie was devoted to his memory.

Barbara Billingsley (June Cleaver)

Next to maybe Jane Wyman in Father to know Best, over there is no various other actress who has actually represented the quintessential 1950s TV American housewife 보다 Barbara Billingsley, that was born Barbara Lillian Combes top top December 22, 1915 in Los Angeles. Years later she to visit Los Angeles small College for a year, however decided she essential a change and became component of a revue called Straw Hat. As soon as it moved to brand-new York and Broadway, for this reason did she. Regrettably the present closed after five performances, but she nonetheless decided to remain in brand-new York, wherein she discovered employment together a fashion model. In 1945 she secured a contract through MGM Studios and also moved come Los angle a year later.

Like Hugh Beaumont, Barbara discovered herself showing up in dozens of films in uncredited roles. It to be steady, however not yes, really fulfilling. Television, on the various other hand, offered her more to carry out in the shows she uncovered herself actors in. Most of it was single-episode appearances, though there to be multiple avenues on anthologies prefer Four Star Playhouse and Schlitz Playhouse that Stars. In 1955 she starred in the single-season sitcom Professional father and the following year in the comedy The Brothers. That was, of course, 1957 as soon as she would discover herself cast in the function of June Cleaver, which defined her and her job for numerous years.

Writing because that TV Guide, Matt Roush stated of her, “She embodied a post-war, pre-Stepford vision that unflappable suburban motherhood together the perfect attired and also coiffed June, who famously perform her household duties in a dress, heels and stylish pearl choker. She described June as ‘the ideal mother’ in a 1997 TV overview magazine interview. ‘Some world think she to be weakfish, however I don’t. She to be the love in that family. She collection a good example because that what a wife could be … ns think the character type of came to be me and vice versa. I have never recognized where one started and also where one stopped,’ stated Billingsley, who, like June, increased two sons.”

Writes Jerry Mathers top top his site, “Barbara Billingsley was a an excellent friend and also an even much better mentor. For me, she was prefer the favourite teacher that we all had actually in school. Ns was lucky sufficient to work-related with she for six years and have a life-long relationship with her. She was a very kind woman and a generosity philanthropist that supported plenty of charities, constantly ready to give anyone in require a helping hand. Barbara was even an ext sparkling and also fun 보다 June Cleaver. Every when in a if she would obtain frustrated or upset and we always knew once that was, since she would say, ‘Hell’s bells’ and then placed her hand over she mouth through her cutest ‘oops’ look. This to be the only ‘curse word’ the I ever before heard she say. And also she always looked flustered and also turned red once she realized the other people had heard her say that. She would certainly then apologize profusely.”

“Barbara was constantly eager come teach a rambunctious lad (i.e. Me) suitable civility and also manners,” the continues. “An example of this was when I would rush front of her to check out what was beyond the next door. She would certainly reach up and also grab me by the an extremely short hairs at the nape of mine neck and also pull me back really gently and say, ‘Jerry, ladies constantly go first.’ And, this is what she was — a important regal lady. I miss out on her really much.”

Following the finish of Leave It to Beaver, Barbara do guest appearances top top a selection of shows, yet found herself opened up to a whole new audience once she appeared in 1980’s Airplane together a passenger on the seemingly-doomed trip who announces come the stewardess, “I speak jive,” enabling her to connect with a pair the ill afri American passengers. The step is hysterical. “I to be cast due to the fact that I’d been June Cleaver,” Barbara regarded the save on computer of American Television. “I was sent the script and also I thought it to be the craziest script I’ve ever read. My part wasn’t written. It simply said ns talked jive. Ns met the producer and also I claimed I would carry out it. Ns met the 2 black fellows the taught me jive. … that wasn’t tough for me to learn.”

Elsewhere she added, “It got to a suggest where ns was also known for Airplane as i was for Leave It come Beaver. It restored my career.”

While she would make guest appearances ~ above TV until 2003, Barbara voiced the personality of Nanny ~ above the man Muppet Babies. She also found fame together June Cleaver everywhere again start in 1983 when she, in addition to Jerry Mathers and Tony Dow starred in the TV reunion movie Still the Beaver. The movie go so well in the ratings that it in reality spawned the collection The brand-new Leave It to Beaver, which ran native 1985 to 1989 because that a full of 101 episodes. It effectively took the gentle humor of the original and presented it come an all new generation on top of the original that ongoing to follow the Cleaver family.

In her personal life, Barbara to be the mother of 2 children and was married to Glen Billingsley native 1941 to 1947, Roy Kellino native 1953 until his death in 1956, and also William Mortensen from 1959 till his fatality in 1981. She died of polymyalgia on October 16, 2010. She was 94.

Tony Dow (Wally Cleaver)

The Beav’s older brothers Wally (or, an ext accurately, the actor that played him) to be born Tony Lee Dow on April 13, 1945 in Hollywood. Return his mother was a stunt mrs in early on Westerns, Tony wasn’t yes, really that right into the idea of a life in entertainment. In reality he more or less got into acting accidentally at the age of 11.

“I to be a swimmer ago then and also a pretty an excellent one,” the told Fox News. “I was a small diving champion and also held a national record at 9. I was working out at the Hollywood strong club and also there was a lifeguard there who was an actor. He told my mom, ‘I’m going to this interview for a display where they’re in search of a father and also son. Can Tony go with me due to the fact that we type of look at alike?’ he figured possibly that to be the only method to gain it. I put on my blue suit and went in. I didn’t understand what to be going on, but everything was new and interesting. And I was with him so i felt in ~ ease. However, I ended up obtaining the part and the didn’t, so that was unfortunate. The show was referred to as Johnny Wildlife and also it would’ve to be the an initial color collection on television about a wildlife photographer and his son. It was means ahead the its time.”

“The pilots we did,” that elaborates, “dealt v Japan going end the share of hunted whales and a agency dumping toxicity waste right into the ocean… however it didn’t work-related out, due to the fact that the share footage lock were making use of couldn’t be duplicated. However there was an additional show dubbed Wally and also The Beaver. The made the cut. It was later renamed Leave It to Beaver.”

On his blog, Jerry Mathers revealed an interesting story around how Tony obtained the component of Wally: “Tony to be a phenomenal athlete and had trained to be a swimmer and also diver from a very early age. The received plenty of accolades and awards through the Amateur athletic Union (AAU) consisting of Junior Olympics diving champion. Prior to Leave It to Beaver, he had hopes the someday completing in the Olympics. Back I had actually been one actor because the age of 2 years old, Tony’s only acting job prior to Leave It to Beaver was in tv pilot. Tony’s 2nd foray into acting on television was in Leave It come Beaver. He wasn’t in our original pilot which was referred to as It’s a tiny World. The boy that played Wally grew around 5 inches between the time the pilot to be filmed and we got in production that the series. That was nearly as tall together Hugh Beaumont, therefore the producers decided to placed out an additional casting speak to for a boy who was much more height proper for the age. Tony’s true life capacity as one athlete was a perfect fit because that Wally, the was actors for the part and the remainder is television history!”

Like his fellow castmates, when Leave It to Beaver finished the run, Tony started hitting the TV guest star circuit, and made a couple of film appearances. In 1977 that spoofed the whole Beaver thing in a clever courtroom minute from the movie Kentucky Fried Movie, written by the men who would certainly go ~ above to do Airplane. No doubt the figured there was no injury as that would never ever play Wally again but, that course, the did. Very first in the reunion TV movie and also then The brand-new Leave It to Beaver series. When the present ended, he began directing episodes of such mirrors as The new Lassie, Harry and also the Hendersons, Coach, Babylon 5 and Star Trek: Deep an are Nine. He also served together visual impacts supervisor on Babylon 5 and oversaw the results of a Doctor that TV movie aired on Fox.

In current years Tony, who has actually waged a battle with clinical depression, has end up being sculptor of summary bronze statues, which has actually grown into a true passion. In his personal life, he to be married to Carol Marlowe from 1969 come 1978 and Lauren Shukind in 1980. He had one boy with Carol and another v Lauren, the last of i beg your pardon has given them two grandchildren.

And Jerry Mathers (as The Beaver)

If you want to look in ~ a poster boy for the child actor that came the end of the suffer pretty lot unscathed, look at no farther than Jerry Mathers (OK, Ron Howard’s one more one). Born Gerald Patrick Mathers top top June 2, 1948 in Sioux City, Iowa, the kicked turn off his job at the ripe old age of 2 as soon as he became a model for a department keep ad. This was complied with by a commercial with vaudeville comedian Ed wynn in a pet Milk commercial.

Feature film appearances adhered to in the movie This is mine Love (1954), Men that the Fighting Lady (1954), The Seven little Foys (1955), and also Alfred Hitchcock’s The Trouble with Harry (1955). By the moment he was cast as Theodore Cleaver in Leave It to Beaver, showbiz in some methods was miscellaneous he’d gained used to. What can have been taken into consideration life transforming for other world seemed prefer a natural progression for him. In a previous comprehensive interview through Closer Weekly, Jerry debated the endure of Leave It to Beaver and the impact it had actually on his life and career.

Once he’d left (or therefore he thought) Leave It to Beaver behind him, Jerry attended Notre Dame High school in Sherman Oaks, California to have actually something that a typical teenage life. Over there he was part of a band dubbed Beaver and also the Trappers. While in high institution he additionally enlisted in the United says Air force Reserves, eventually achieving the location of sergeant. He never saw combat.

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In the 1970s Jerry functioned as a loan officer at a bank and also then chose to usage his well-invested Beaver savings come get affiliated in genuine estate. Towards the end of the te he chose to get ago into the to chat world, he and Tony Dow certification in a stage production of the comedy Boeing, Boeing, i beg your pardon ran because that 10 weeks in Kansas City. The duo followed that v a dinner theater tour of So Long, Stanley, i m sorry ran for 18 months. In 1981 he worked as a key jockey, and then Beaver Cleaver gotten in his life everywhere again.

For him, Still the Beaver and The brand-new Leave It to Beaver was a delight. “All of united state were established to execute the display the precise same way,” Jerry concerned us, “which meant every one of the illustration are, again, from actual life and also not case comedy. The display was an extremely easy for me to do, since I knew everybody. This are civilization that I flourished up with and liked. There wasn’t anybody wherein we said, ‘Oh, us don’t want that human being back.’ girlfriend know, we’d see each other every when in a while over the years, however it wasn’t like a day to day thing. For this reason it to be a wonderful reunion.”

Jerry continued to do guest appearances on TV shows but had a sidetrack in his life when, in 1996, he to be diagnosed with kind 2 diabetes. Since then he’s lost weight, gained healthier, came to be the first male spokesperson for Jenny Craig and led a fight to lug public awareness come the disease. Yet, with it all, there remains Leave It come Beaver, fans of which space springing up every the time. “It’s very gratifying,” he recently told us, “but it’s no me. The writers were so good and also so to be the whole cast. And also it’s a good show. I think it has sticking power, because everything currently is color and every one of a suddenly you view this black and white display that just catches your eye. It to be a great show with a good message.”