‘Leave It to Beaver’ Star Jerry Mathers Described Show as ‘Timeless’

by Jennifer Shea
Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images

Leave It to Beaver star Jerry Mathers understands the show’s enduring appeal. It’s a universal coming-of-age story that most people can apply to their own lives, he said in a 2017 interview.

Speaking to Lisa Risom at an autograph signing event, Mathers described the show as “timeless” and went on to explain how it deals in universal tropes and archetypes that most will recognize from their own childhoods.

“It’s kind of a timeless story of a boy growing up in the United States of America,” Mathers said. “It’s things that happened to kids in the fifties, forties, thirties, are still happening today, happened in the fifties, sixties, seventies and eighties. So, it’s a timeless story about a child growing up in America.”

“You have Wally, his big brother, who really knows the ropes and kind of guides him through,” Mathers went on. “You have Eddie Haskell, he’s – not the villain, but – he’s kind of the wise guy who always gets Beaver in trouble. I think it’s something all children can relate to. Everyone knows what it’s like to be the little kid, and have your parents tell you to do something that maybe you don’t want to. Lot of them have a friend… who’s always telling you, ‘Your parents told you to do that, but this’ll be a lot more fun.’ So it’s kind of a timeless story… about kids growing up all over the world, and it plays out all over the world.”

Watch the full interview here:

Leave It to Beaver Star Enjoyed Being a Child Star

Mathers didn’t suffer from the typical curse of child stardom: an unhappy adulthood, often marred by substance abuse. On the contrary, he said his stardom was mostly a blessing, and it doesn’t seem to have prevented him from growing into a happy, well-adjusted adult.

“Being in the ‘spotlight’ wasn’t anything different for me,” he explained to Closer Weekly in 2019. “I’ve been an actor since I was two years old. I worked with Hitchcock, I did two movies with Bob Hope. I worked as much before Leave It to Beaver as I did during it. Plus, people don’t pay a lot of attention to kids. Some people would recognize me on the street, but not that many. It was just a really good life. I had a great education and I got to do some fabulous things, like getting a private tour of the Smithsonian. Any place we went, we were singled out pretty much and got great treatment. Just a fantastic life for a kid.”

As an adult, Mathers worked as an Air Force Reserve sergeant, a loan officer at a bank, a real estate developer, a disc jockey and a national spokesman for PhRMA, in addition to his show business roles. He credits the adults around him in his youth for helping to make his childhood so happy, and as an adult, he says he’s grateful for the fans that Leave It to Beaver has brought him.