Actors Credits

The Quick Biographies

  • Hugh Beaumont


  • Barbara Billingsley


  • Tony Dow


  • Jerry Mathers


  • Rest of Cast


Hugh Beaumont

Born February 16th, 1909 in Lawrence, Kansas
Died May 14th, 1982 in Munich, Germany of a heart attack
Beaumont began his career in show business by performing in theaters, nightclubs, and on the radio in 1931. He attended the University of Chattanooga, but left when his position on the football team was changed. He later attended the University of Southern California, and graduated with a Master of Theology degree in 1946. He was visiting his son Eric, a Psychology Professor in Munich, at the time of his sudden death. Hugh was an ordained minister as was active in church groups and community theater later in life.

From Time magazine: “May 31, 1982: DIED: Hugh Beaumont, 72, journeyman Hollywood actor whose name was etched into the public consciousness through the longevity of a TV hit series, when for 234 half hour performances in the 1950’s and 1960’s, he was Ward Cleaver, the All-American suburban father on the still repeated Leave It to Beaver, of an apparent heart attack during a visit to Munich, West Germany.”

From Beaumont, Hugh (Eugene Hugh Beaumont) b. February 16, 1909. d. May 3, 1982. Television and movie actor. Played Ward Cleaver on “Leave It to Beaver”. Ashes scattered at his summer retreat, not far from the Twin Cities in Minnesota, Cremated. Cause of Death: Heart attack.

From the Tim Brooks directory of Prime Time TV Stars:

Born Feb 16th, 1909-Lawrence, Kansas. Died May 3rd, 1982. Beaumont is warmly remembered as the perfect father of Wally and Beaver Cleave on TV’s Leave It To Beaver. Actually he didn’t like the role much at all, feeling that it had typecast him and had all but obliterated recall of his many other roles in movies and on TV. He had been in films since 1941 usually as a supporting player in action films but also starred as Detective Michael Shayne in several.
In the 1950’s, he was a frequent actor in TV dramas, with multiple appearances in Four Star Playhouse, Calvacade Theatre and The Loretta Young Show. After Beaver, Beaumont appeared in a scattering of series episodes, Mannix, The Virginian, Petticoat Junction, continuing to act until he suffered a stroke in 1972.
His death 10 years later was a blow to many viewer’s memories of childhood as well as to the producers of the 1983 TV film, Still the Beaver. In that bittersweet reunion of the TV regulars, his TV wife June spent a good deal of time beside Ward’s gravestone thinking aloud about her grown son’s problems and asking, “Ward, shat would you do?”


Hugh kissing his wife, Kathryn Adams.

From the Lawrence Journal World, 5/19/82

LAWRENCE NATIVE, BEAUMONT DIES One of Lawrence’s famous sons died suddenly Thursday, May 13. Hugh Beaumont, best known for his role as Ward Cleaver on the old “Leave it to Beaver” television series, succumbed to a heart attack while visiting his oldest son, Eric, 40, a college psychology professor, in Munich, West Germany. Born in Lawrence, Beaumont was 72.
In making the announcement, Mrs. Gloria Bussman, Beaumont’s sister who lives in the Los Angeles suburb of Woodland Hills, said that the death was quite sudden. He was at his son’s house when the attack came.
Beaumont had suffered a stroke about a decade ago which left his face partially paralyzed and was told by doctors that he would never walk or talk again. But he went on to do some directing and community theater group work in Los Angeles and in Aiken, South Carolina where his youngest son Mark, 32, lives.
Beaumont, a minister turned actor, played the role of Ward Cleaver on “Leave it to Beaver”. Stern faced but patiently, he guided his two sons, Beaver and Wally, through their awkward years. Beaumont’s film credits include: “Flight Lieutenant”, 1942; “The Seventh Victim”, 1943; “Objective: Burma”, 1945; ” The Blue Dahlia”, 1946, “Bury me Dead”, 1947; “Railroaded”, 1949; “Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell”, 1952; “Mississippi Gambler”, 1953 and “The Mole People” in 1957.

From the Lawrence Journal World, 5/20/82

AP Press Release:

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Hugh Beaumont, a clergyman-turned actor who played a stern father in the popular television series “Leave It to Beaver,” has died of an apparent heart attack at age 72, his sister said Friday. Gloria Bussman said Beaumont, who two months ago was reunited with the “Beaver” cast, was visiting his oldest son, Eric, 40, a college psychology professor in Munich, West Germany, when he was stricken Thursday night. “We understand it was quite sudden,” said Mrs. Bussman, who lives in the Los Angeles suburb of Woodland Hills. “He was at his son’s house when he had the attack. By the time the doctor arrived he was dead.” About a decade ago, Beaumont suffered a stroke that left his face partially paralyzed. “They (doctors) told us he would never walk or talk again after the stroke,” Mrs. Bussman said. “But he fooled them and he went to do some directing with community theater groups here and in Aiken, S.C.” Beaumont’s youngest son lives in Aiken. Beaumont a native of Lawrence, Kan., is best known for his role as Ward Cleaver, who patiently guided his two sons, Beaver (Jerry Mathers) and Wally (Tony Dow), through their awkward years. Beaumont’s wife on the series, June Cleaver, was played by Barbara Billingsley. About two months ago, Beaumont appeared on a local television news show with several members of the “Leave It To Beaver” cast

Barbara Billingsley

Born December 22cd, 1922
After the series ended, traveled around the world on a freighter. Has two boys.

From the Tim Brooks directory of Prime Time TV Stars:

Born Dec 22, 1922, Los Angeles, California. A pleasant, somewhat proper woman who gained her greatest fame as the idealized mother on Leave It To Beaver. Earlier she had played a very similar role but with less winsome kids on Professional Father.
Barbara made a number of films in the early 1950’s Shadow on the Wall, Pretty Baby, and did a good deal of TV work on the 1950’s TV drama series such as Shlitz Playhouse of Stars and Four Star Playhouse. She also made a few appearances on The Comedy Brothers as Gale Gordon’s girlfriend the year before Beaver premiered.
After Beaver left the air, she was seen only rarely, turning up infrequently in series episodes, The FBI, in movies – Airplane, and of course in the Beaver revival of the 1980’s.
She has two sons of her own and lives quietly with her physician husband in Malibu. Often recognized by fans of her classic series, she has fond memories of those days.

Tony Dow

Born April 13th, 1945
1965: joins National Guard
60’s – 80’s: Suffered from clinical depression.
70’s: attends journalism school, works in contracting and construction
1984: Has second wife and 10 year old son, Christopher, from first marriage

From the Tim Brooks directory of Prime Time TV Stars:

Born April 13, 1945-Hollywood, California. Tony Dow, the good looking if somewhat bland teenager on Leave It To Beaver came to his famous role with almost no prior experience. He was, however, a star athlete. A junior Olympics diving champion and he became a favorite among kids as Beaver’s understanding older brother.
After the classic series left the air, Tony continued his acting career, with mixed results. He had guest shots on 11th hours and Dr. Kildare and a recurring part as a student – George Scheros on Mr. Novak. From 1965-1966 he starred in Never to Young, ABC’s unsuccessful attempt to launch a youth oriented daytime soap opera. He was quoted in the mid-1960’s as saying he had been urged to become a teenage singing idol. “I tell them I can’t sing, but they say that doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t do anything like that though. If you can sing, fine. I can’t, and I’d feel wrong being screamed over for nothing.”
Tony eventually finished his education and entered the construction business but show business remained closest to his heart. In the 1970’s he made personal appearances with Beaver costar Jerry Mathers in a kind of living nostalgia show. He also had small roles in occasional TV movies.
Then in the early 1980’s there something of a Leave It To Beaver boom brining Tony work in the TV reunion movie Still the Beaver and a spin-off series that ran on cable television.

Jerry Mathers

Born June 2cd, 1949
1963 – 1966: Attended High School
1966 – 1972: Served in Air National Guard
1972 – 1976: Earned philosophy degree from Berkeley
1976 – 1979: Bank loan officer / Real Estate Salesman
1979 – 1980: With Tony Dow, toured in Dinner theater of the farce, So Long, Stanley.
1980 – 1981: Deejay in Anaheim, “Jerry Mathers Gathers, Rock ‘n Roll for the Mind, Body, and Soul”
1984: Has a second wife and three children, ages 10 to 1.

From the Tim Brooks directory of Prime Time TV Stars:

Born June 2cd, 1949-Sioux City, Iowa, raised in Tarzana, California. Arguable America’s most famous TV kid of the 50’s and 60’s. He had an active show business career in the half dozen years before his famous role but practically none afterward until he became the center of a major nostalgia craze in the 1980’s.
Jerry made his TV debut in 1950 at the age of two on The Ed Wynn Show and had small roles in dramatic series such as Lux Video Theatre after that. He had parts in five movies between 1954-1957 including Hitchcock’s The Trouble with Harry and was an acting pro by the time he auditioned for the role of Beaver.
It was his little boy innocence that won him the part, however. Reportedly he told the producers he hoped the audition wouldn’t run too long, so he wouldn’t miss his Cub Scout meeting. After six happy years on Beaver, Jerry now in his awkward teens found the acting pickings slim. He played a few roles on Batman, Lassie and My Three Sons but spend the majority of his time completing his college education and trying to establish himself as a businessman.
During the mid and late 1970’s, Jerry and his TV brother Tony Dow made personal appearances around the country. Then, in the early 1980’s there were suddenly thrust back into the spotlight via books, “The Beaver Papers,” articles, and the 1983 reunion special, Still the Beaver, which later became a cable TV series. Beaver and Wally even found themselves staring out from the front panels of cornflake boxes. Jerry’s adult acting left something to be desired. However, the revival and interest seemed unlikely to lead to anything more than nostalgia appearances, but then nostalgia jobs were better than none at all.

Ken Osmond

Born June 7th, 1943
1965 – 1966. Started helicopter business with his brother, ended when he crashed the copter
1969: Is married
1970: Joins Los Angeles Police Department as traffic officer
1980: shot three times in the line of duty, saved by bullet proof vest and metal belt buckle
1983: two sons, 8 and 11


Frank Bank (Lumpy)

1980’s: Is a successful bonds broker, drives a DeLorean with license plate, “IMLUMPY”


Robert Rusty Stevens (Larry):

1980’s: Lives in New Jersey, married, works as a insurance salesman.


Steven Talbot (Gilbert)

Documentary film maker.
In 1980, won Peabody Award for Broken Arrow. Also filmed The Case of Dashiell Hammett.


Richard Correll (Richard)

Still a close friend of Jerry Mathers.
Graduated from USC with degree in cinema.
Produces many TV shows, including Happy Days.


Jeri Weil (Judy)

In 1980’s, was working as a hairdresser



Max Showalter (The original Ward Cleaver)

Bet you didn’t remember this guy! He played Ward Cleaver in the pilot, “It’s a small world.” Actor Max Showalter learned his craft at the Pasadena Playhouse. An adroit, quick-witted comic performer, Showalter was one of the earliest participants in the infant medium known as television. He was an ensemble player on 1949’s The Swift Show, and that same year was a panelist on the “charades” quiz show Hold It Please. 20th Century-Fox chieftan Darryl F. Zanuck was a fan of Showalter’s work; the producer hired Showalter as a Fox featured player, but not before changing his name to the more “box-office” Casey Adams. While there were a few leading roles, notably as Jeanne Crain’s obtuse husband in Niagara (1953), for the most part Showalter/Adams’ film career was confined to brief character parts (e.g. Return to Peyton Place [1958] and The Music Man [1962]). While still traveling under the alias of Casey Adams, Showalter appeared in a half-hour pilot film titled It’s a Small World (1956); on this one-shot, the actor originated the role of Ward Cleaver, a role that would ultimately be assumed by Hugh Beaumont when Small World matriculated into Leave It to Beaver. Shedding the Casey Adams alias in the mid ’60s, Max Showalter remained a busy character player into the ’80s, appearing as a regular on the 1980 sitcom The Stockard Channing Show.

Jerry Mather’s Singing Career

Every time a cute young actor gets hot on TV, his or her management invariably tries to cash in by foisting a record onto the star’s hormone-crazed fans. Once, this work out spectacularly well (Ricky Nelson). On a few rare occasions, it’s yielded some decent one-shot surprise hits, such as Shelley Fabares’ (the wife on Coach) number-one hit, “Johnny Angel.” (Although Shelley was such a lousy singer, they had to patch the vocal together from eighteen different takes.) But mostly, it’s given us albums full of instantly forgettable bubblegum tunes, which can be played as the fans sigh over the dreamy photos of their idols on the LP jackets (Scott Baio, Kristy and Jimmy McNichol, etc.).

But poor Jerry Mathers never even made it to the throw-away album stage. His entire recorded oeuvre consists of this one pitiful single, released during the waning days of Leave It To Beaver in a futile attempt to jump-start a slipping show. In 1962, Leave It To Beaver was in its next-to-last season, and not only was Jerry outgrowing his cuteness, he also seemed to be outgrowing his acting talent (we call this “Tatum O’neal Syndrome”). He had made a noteworthy debut in Hitchcock’s The Trouble With Harry (1955), and went on to captivate America as the adorable Beaver Cleaver. But by 1962, he was losing interest in the show and just wanted to devote himself to school sports. Eventually, his acting style deteriorated to the pointer where he was delivering every line by squinting his eyes and scrunching up his face, as if he were trying to read his part off a cue card from two hundred yards away. Making him a singing sensation was the show’s last, desperate hope.

To put it kindly, Jerry wasn’t equipped to be a singer, but the material didn’t help matters. “Don’t ‘Cha Cry” is a lame retread of “Spanish Harlem,” and Jerry’s attempts to sound soulful make it abundantly clear the he never met a black person ins Mayfield. But the flip side is even more obnoxious. The insidiously annoying twist ditty, “Wind-Up Toy” (“Wind-up Toy! Wind-up Toy! Say, when you gonna treat me like a real live boy?”), is just catchy enough to stick in your head, where its grating, nasal inanity will soon drive you into a homicidal rage. Both songs are rendered in the same mush mouthed whine that Jerry applied to all his TV dialogue during his awkward teen years, and no amount of studio wizardry could defeat the power of the Beav’s adolescent adenoids. He also sounds a bit angry, as if he wanted to be anyplace other than a recording studio. But we’d hate to have June tell us we were being to hard on the Beaver, so we should also mention that white bread accompaniment was provided by the Jimmie Haskel Orchestra, who no doubt got a kickback from Cousin Eddie.

Jerry never recorded again, but he can take heart in knowing that while he’s not a great singer like the Chipmunks, at least he’s still the Beav!