On the surface, there really is no reason the standard TV family sitcom Leave It come Beaver should stay so famous today, end 60 year after that debut (in fact, it’s currently airing ~ above the MeTV network). For starters, the what you could contact a “soft” comedy without any type of genuine laugh-out-loud moments. There space some who could say the messages instilled in young Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver (Jerry Mathers) and also his big brother Wally (Tony Dow) from their dad, Ward (Hugh Beaumont), deserve to be thought about corny and out of step with the times. And then over there is matriarch June Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley), the target of years of jokes because that being a housewife that cleans the house while put on dresses, high heels and also pearls. However you recognize what? It just doesn’t matter.

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“I think the present is the most natural and most realistic representation of the so late ‘50s, at an early stage ‘60s the was on the air,” Tony Dow told Fox News. “And many of the stories come from genuine life. I remember the writers would certainly come in through these sophisticated pitches. The producers would certainly then say, ‘I don’t desire to know any kind of of that. Avoid pitching us. Just tell us the worst point that’s ever before happened come you together a kid. Go write that.’ for this reason they really tried to keep the show realistic and also believable … ns a small biased, as all my other friends who room on other shows are. Castle think their reflects are the best. However I really do think our was special, because it to be written exceptionally well. We spent a little much more money ~ above it than most, ns believe, yet it to be just much more realistic.”


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

Please scroll down for lot more.

Be sure to examine out and subscribe come our standard TV & movie Podcast for interviews with your favorite stars.


Hugh Beaumont (Ward Cleaver)

The male who play the patriarch of the Cleaver family was born Eugene Hugh Beaumont top top February 16, 1909 in Eudora, Kansas. His father a traveling salesman, the family often moved around — despite they did settle down long enough in Tennessee because that him come graduate indigenous Chattanooga’s Baylor School, followed by that attending the university of Chattanooga. The would at some point transfer come the college of southern California where, in 1946, the graduated with a master of Theology degree. And don’t think for a second that he determined to action away from religious devotion for a Hollywood career.


Dave Sundstrom, a YouTube user whose videos carry out insightful commentary on TV, movies and also music from the 1960s v the 1980s, says of Hugh in among his videos, “He wanted to be an gibbs just around as much as he want to it is in a guy of God. So at some point he made decision he could do both; though, when given the opportunity, he would absolutely preach. In fact, throughout breaks between jobs, Hugh and also his family members — wife Kathy and also their three children — would invest their time in Minnesota far away native the entertainment market and every one of the trappings that came along with it. Hugh certain loved the time away. It allowed him to emphasis on gift a better man, a far better husband to Kathy and also a much better father come his kids.”

Hugh’s Hollywood career began in 1931 through him performing top top radio, in nightclubs and in theaters. He made the leap to the huge screen in 1940’s Phantom Raiders in one uncredited role. In fact, he would certainly play a many those until 1953, filling the gaps in in between with functions in i beg your pardon he played actual characters. In total, prior to Leave It to Beaver, he appeared in 86 movies. Surprisingly, complying with the series he just made one additional film appearance, in 1965’s The human Duplicators. Television actually listed more opportunities for him together he showed up on dozens of TV shows, including anthologies and also episodics (among the last the George Reeves TV series The Adventures of Superman). Yet in 1957 he discovered the duty the windy would concerned know him best as: Ward Cleaver, who constantly had the perfect native of advice for both his sons, Wally and Beaver.

On his official website, Jerry Mathers offers, “I actually functioned with Hugh Beaumont even prior to we began shooting Leave It come Beaver. Ns was cast with that in a promotional film for rose Hills Memorial Park. One point I psychic is that during a scene ns was supposed to cry ~ above cue. Hugh request me if ns had ever before done that before and I told him no. The said, ‘Put your face into your hands and also laugh really hard. It’s an old actor’s trick since the sound of laughter and crying are really closely related.’ certain enough, ns tried it and also it worked! as soon as we shooting the pilot the Leave It to Beaver, Hugh was no the original father. But, when they re-cast the duty for the series, Hugh was one of several people lugged in because that an audition. My mother actually suggested for the to go in because that the interview! as soon as I observed him, i was therefore happy due to the fact that he to be the nice man that I operated with ~ above the increased Hills shoot. So, when we read a quick scene together, we had a good chemistry and Hugh obtained the part of Ward Cleaver. I was really glad that he was picked because that the duty and we had a exorbitant friendship for his whole life until he passed away in 1982 indigenous a love attack. Hugh and also my dad had come to be friends and he occasionally concerned our home to pat cards v my father and some that his friends.”

Continues Jerry, “Hugh had a long and also illustrious career and also did numerous films and television series in addition to Leave It to Beaver. One the his most famous personalities was Michael Shayne, who he played in 5 films. He to be a hard drinking, heavy cigarette smoking detective in this part, in the style of Mickey Spillane … i think he was much more comfortable together Ward Cleaver, because it to the right his ‘real-life’ personality so much better.” Those Michael Shayne movies were Murder is mine Business, Larceny in her Heart and Blonde because that a day (all 1946) and also Three ~ above a Ticket and Too countless Winners (both 1947).

Following the end of Leave It to Beaver in 1963, Hugh made more TV guest appearances and also appeared in a variety of community theatre productions. Slowly he relocated away from show business and actually became a Christmas tree farmer in grand Rapids, Minnesota. The assumption is the the move away from exhilaration (as well together writing and also directing, which that had started to have actually some success with) to be precipitated through a hit in 1972 native which that never fully recovered.

Hugh married Kathryn Adams Doty in 1941 and they stayed so till they divorced in 1974. They space the parental to 3 children: Hunter, Kristy and also Mark. Hugh died of a heart strike on might 14, 1982.

Comments Dave Sundstrom, “He believed that the God that he had actually studied all those years, the God the he had actually preached about, the God that had been there to comfort him, well, he thought that that God didn’t care much about Hugh Beaumont the movie and TV star. The cared around Hugh Beaumont the man, and even much more specifically what remained in that man’s heart. He passed away in 1982 native a heart attack. He to be with family members visiting his older son, Hunter, in Munich, Germany. When word got out around his death, the man was psychic by his family and friends, not for his onscreen accomplishments, but rather because that the overwhelmingly positive influence that he’d had on each one of them. And those feelings prolonged to his television family as well. Castle were right there, mourning alongside his family members as one.”

Sadly, he no live long enough to reprise his duty of Ward Cleaver in the TV movie Still the Beaver, return the movie was specialized 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 than Barbara Billingsley, who was born Barbara Lillian Combes top top December 22, 1915 in Los Angeles. Years later on she attended Los Angeles junior College for a year, yet decided she essential a change and became component of a revue dubbed Straw Hat. When it moved to new York and also Broadway, for this reason did she. Unfortunately the show closed after 5 performances, however she nonetheless decided to continue to be in brand-new York, wherein she discovered employment as 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 movies in uncredited roles. It to be steady, yet not really fulfilling. Television, ~ above the other hand, gave her more to do in the reflects she found herself cast in. Most of it was single-episode appearances, though there to be multiple avenues on anthologies choose Four Star Playhouse and Schlitz Playhouse of Stars. In 1955 she starred in the single-season sitcom Professional father and the complying with year in the comedy The Brothers. It was, the course, 1957 when she would discover herself cast in the function of June Cleaver, which identified her and also her career for countless years.

Writing because that TV Guide, Matt Roush said of her, “She embodied a post-war, pre-Stepford vision that unflappable suburban motherhood as the perfect attired and also coiffed June, who famously carry out her family members duties in a dress, heels and also stylish pearl choker. She described June as ‘the appropriate mother’ in a 1997 TV guide magazine interview. ‘Some world think she to be weakfish, but I don’t. She to be the love in that family. She collection a an excellent example because that what a wife might be … i think the character kind of came to be me and also vice versa. I’ve never known where one started and also where one stopped,’ stated Billingsley, who, prefer June, raised two sons.”

Writes Jerry Mathers top top his site, “Barbara Billingsley to be a an excellent friend and an even better mentor. For me, she was like the favourite teacher that we all had in school. Ns was lucky enough to occupational with she for six years and also have a life-long relationship with her. She was a really kind woman and also a generous philanthropist that supported many charities, constantly ready to offer anyone in require a help hand. Barbara was even more sparkling and also fun than June Cleaver. Every as soon as in a while she would acquire frustrated or upset and we always knew once that was, due to the fact that she would certainly say, ‘Hell’s bells’ and then put her hands over she mouth v her cutest ‘oops’ look. This was the only ‘curse word’ the I ever before heard she say. And she constantly looked flustered and also turned red as soon as she realized that other world had heard she say that. She would certainly then apologize profusely.”

“Barbara was always eager to teach a rambunctious lad (i.e. Me) proper civility and manners,” that continues. “An instance of this was when I would rush ahead of her to view what was past the following door. She would certainly reach up and also grab me by the really short hairs at the nape of my neck and also pull me back very gently and also say, ‘Jerry, ladies constantly go first.’ And, this is what she to be — a important regal lady. I miss out on her very much.”

Following the finish of Leave It to Beaver, Barbara make guest appearances top top a range of shows, but found herself opened up up come a whole new audience when she appeared in 1980’s Airplane together a passenger top top the seemingly-doomed flight who announces to the stewardess, “I speak jive,” enabling her to interact with a pair the ill african American passengers. The step is hysterical. “I was cast due to the fact that I’d been June Cleaver,” Barbara regarded the archive of American Television. “I was sent out the script and I assumed it was the craziest script I’ve ever read. My component wasn’t written. It just said i talked jive. I met the producer and also I said I would perform it. Ns met the 2 black fellows the taught me jive. … that wasn’t tough for me to learn.”

Elsewhere she added, “It reached a point where i was too known for Airplane as ns was because that Leave It come Beaver. It restored my career.”

While she would certainly make guest appearances on TV till 2003, Barbara voiced the personality of Nanny ~ above the man Muppet Babies. She likewise found fame as June Cleaver anywhere again start in 1983 once she, together with Jerry Mathers and also Tony Dow starred in the TV reunion movie Still the Beaver. The movie walk so well in the ratings that it in reality spawned the collection The brand-new Leave It come Beaver, which ran native 1985 to 1989 for a full of 101 episodes. It successfully took the gentle feeling of the original and also presented it to an all new generation on peak of the initial that ongoing to monitor the Cleaver family.

In her an individual life, Barbara was the mommy of two children and was married to Glen Billingsley from 1941 come 1947, Roy Kellino from 1953 till his death in 1956, and also William Mortensen from 1959 until his death in 1981. She died of polymyalgia on October 16, 2010. She was 94.

Tony Dow (Wally Cleaver)

The Beav’s older brothers Wally (or, more accurately, the actor that played him) to be born Tony Lee Dow ~ above April 13, 1945 in Hollywood. Although his mother was a stunt woman in early Westerns, Tony wasn’t really that right into the idea the a life in entertainment. In fact he much more or less acquired into exhilaration accidentally in ~ the period of 11.

“I to be a swimmer ago then and also a pretty an excellent one,” he told Fox News. “I was a small diving champion and held a nationwide record in ~ 9. I was working out at the Hollywood athletic club and also there to be a lifeguard there who was an actor. The told my mom, ‘I’m going to this interview for a display where they’re searching for a father and also son. Have the right to Tony go v me due to the fact that we kind of watch alike?’ that figured maybe that to be the only method to get it. I put on mine blue suit and went in. Ns didn’t recognize what to be going on, but everything was brand-new and interesting. And also I was with him so i felt at ease. However, I finished up obtaining the part and the didn’t, so the was unfortunate. The display was referred to as Johnny Wildlife and also it would’ve been the an initial color series on television about a wildlife photographer and his son. That was means ahead the its time.”

“The pilots we did,” he elaborates, “dealt v Japan going over the quotas of hunted whales and a agency dumping toxicity waste right into the ocean… yet it didn’t occupational out, since the share footage lock were making use of couldn’t it is in duplicated. However there was an additional show referred to as Wally and The Beaver. That made the cut. The was later renamed Leave It come Beaver.”

On his blog, Jerry Mathers revealed an exciting story around how Tony acquired the part of Wally: “Tony was a phenomenal athlete and had trained to it is in a swimmer and diver from a very early age. That received plenty of accolades and awards with the Amateur athletic Union (AAU) including Junior Olympics diving champion. Before Leave It come Beaver, he had actually hopes the someday competing in the Olympics. Return I had been an actor because the period of 2 year old, Tony’s only acting job before Leave It to Beaver to be in television pilot. Tony’s 2nd foray right into acting on television was in Leave It to Beaver. He no in our initial pilot i m sorry was referred to as It’s a tiny World. The boy that played Wally grew about 5 inches in between the time the pilot was filmed and we went into production that the series. That was almost as tall together Hugh Beaumont, therefore the producers chose to put out another casting speak to for a boy that was an ext height appropriate for the age. Tony’s true life capability as an athlete to be a perfect fit for Wally, he was cast for the part and the remainder is television history!”

Like his fellow castmates, once Leave It to Beaver finished that is run, Tony started hitting the TV guest star circuit, and made a couple of film appearances. In 1977 the spoofed the entirety Beaver thing in a clever courtroom moment from the movie Kentucky Fried Movie, written by the males who would go ~ above to do Airplane. No doubt that figured there was no injury as that would never play Wally again but, that course, he did. An initial in the reunion TV movie and also then The new Leave It come Beaver series. When the display ended, he started directing illustration of such mirrors as The new Lassie, Harry and also the Hendersons, Coach, Babylon 5 and Star Trek: Deep an are Nine. He additionally served together visual effects supervisor ~ above Babylon 5 and supervised the results of a Doctor that TV movie aired on Fox.

In current years Tony, who has waged a battle with clinical depression, has come to be sculptor of summary bronze statues, which has actually grown right into a true passion. In his an individual life, he was married come Carol Marlowe indigenous 1969 come 1978 and Lauren Shukind in 1980. He had one son with Carol and another with Lauren, the last of i beg your pardon has offered them 2 grandchildren.

And Jerry Mathers (as The Beaver)

If you desire to look at a poster son for the kid actor that came out of the suffer pretty much unscathed, watch no farther 보다 Jerry Mathers (OK, Ron Howard’s one more one). Born Gerald Patrick Mathers top top June 2, 1948 in Sioux City, Iowa, he kicked turn off his career at the ripe old age of 2 once he came to be a version for a department store ad. This was adhered to by a commercial through vaudeville comedian Ed win in a pet Milk commercial.

Feature film appearances followed in the movie This is my Love (1954), Men that the Fighting Lady (1954), The Seven little Foys (1955), and Alfred Hitchcock’s The Trouble with Harry (1955). By the time he was cast as Theodore Cleaver in Leave It to Beaver, showbiz in some ways was miscellaneous he’d gotten used to. What might have been thought about life an altering for other human being seemed choose a organic progression because that him. In a previous thorough interview through Closer Weekly, Jerry debated the experience of Leave It to Beaver and the influence it had on his life and also career.

Once the left (or so he thought) Leave It to Beaver behind him, Jerry attended Notre Dame High college in Sherman Oaks, California to have something of a normal teenage life. There he was component of a band referred to as Beaver and the Trappers. When in high institution he additionally enlisted in the United claims Air pressure Reserves, at some point achieving the rank of sergeant. He never saw combat.

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In the 1970s Jerry worked as a loan officer at a bank and then made decision to usage his well-invested Beaver savings come get connected in genuine estate. Towards the end of the te he chose to get earlier into the entertainment world, he and also Tony Dow certification in a stage manufacturing of the comedy Boeing, Boeing, which ran because that 10 main in Kansas City. The duo followed that through a dinner theater tour of So Long, Stanley, i m sorry ran for 18 months. In 1981 he operated as a key jockey, and then Beaver Cleaver gotten in his life all over again.

For him, Still the Beaver and The new Leave It come Beaver was a delight. “All of united state were determined to perform the show the specific same way,” Jerry regarded us, “which meant every one of the illustration are, again, from actual life and also not case comedy. The display was really easy because that me to do, since I knew everybody. This are people that I grew up with and also liked. Over there wasn’t anybody wherein we said, ‘Oh, us don’t desire that human being back.’ girlfriend know, we’d check out each various other every once in a while over the years, but it wasn’t like a day to day thing. For this reason it was a wonderful reunion.”

Jerry ongoing to make guest appearances ~ above TV shows but had a sidetrack in his life when, in 1996, he to be diagnosed with kind 2 diabetes. Due to the fact that then he’s lost weight, obtained healthier, ended up being the first male spokesperson because that Jenny Craig and led a fight to bring public awareness come the disease. Yet, through it all, there continues to be Leave It to Beaver, fans of which space springing up every the time. “It’s really gratifying,” he newly told us, “but it’s no me. The authors were so good and so to be the whole cast. And it’s a great show. Ns think it has actually sticking power, due to the fact that everything now is shade and all of a sudden you view this black and also white present that just captures your eye. It was a good show through a good message.”