‘Leave It to Beaver’ Star Jerry Mathers Described One Star’s Work in Ministry

by Joe Rutland
(Photo by SGranitz/WireImage/Getty Images)

Life beyond Leave It to Beaver might be a mystery to some viewers about its cast members. Did you know one of them was in the ministry?

Well, it’s not Jerry Mathers or Tony Dow. Sure, it could have been Barbara Billingsley.

Nope. That leaves us with only one starring cast member left and that’s Hugh Beaumont. He played Ward Cleaver opposite Billingsley’s June Cleaver.

Mathers talked about this in an interview.

“Hugh Beaumont was really interesting because what he really was was a Methodist minister,” Mathers says. “He had a very, very poor congregation in one of the words parts of LA. And he started a character called Michael Shane in the early ’50s B movies.

‘Leave It to Beaver’ Actor Appeared In B Movies To Support Him, Family

“His church could not support a minister so he was known as Michael Shane,” Mathers says. “He is a really tough guy and always has a bottle of bourbon in his pocket. And beats up people if they don’t give him the right answer so, as a minister that’s not really what he wanted to be remembered for so when he got on Leave It to Beaver it was like, ‘Oh this is great.'”

Take a look at Mathers and his co-star Tony Dow chatting about the show and their lives in this interview with a radio station.

Now there is a little more to know about this actor with a heart for people.

Did you know that Beaumont wrote and directed episodes during the show’s six-season run?

It’s true.

And he appeared in movies, too, as we mentioned his B movie work.

One of his guest-starring turns later in his career was on Marcus Welby, M.D. that starred Robert Young.

Beaumont and Young also played TV fathers in the 1950s. Young starred on Father Knows Best as Jim Anderson.

Beaver Actor Pointed Out Stark Difference In Shows and His Sitcom

What might be the differences between Mathers’ show and others today?

He makes a point, Outsiders.

“A lot of shows today are joke shows,” he says in this interview. “They are set-up-set-up-joke. Leave It to Beaver‘s always a story and they’re several stories in it. It’s something you can watch over and over again. And obviously, people have for over 60 years.”

Episodes of Leave It to Beaver almost appeared to have lessons within the half-hour timeframe.

So, where would these script ideas come from for their shows?

Well, they would come from the lives of creators Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher. All those crazy storylines would have a place of origin and, yeah, it was from the kids of these creators.