‘Leave It To Beaver’ Star Stephen Talbot Revealed Why He Quit Acting at 14

by Joe Rutland
(Photo Courtesy Getty Images)

Stephen Talbot appears as Gilbert in the classic TV show Leave It To Beaver and is one of Beaver’s closest, best friends. Yet the child actor would leave the acting world behind at 14 years old. His career in show business would come to an end. Talbot’s face was very recognizable when younger. Sports, though, would intercede and lead him in a different direction.

“I liked sports, and I started to play JV football in high school,” Talbot said in an interview with Best Classic Bands. “The last professional show I ever did was an episode of The Lucy Show, with Lucille Ball. But because of that show, which [was] taped in front of a live audience, I missed a game or, more likely, a practice of some kind.”

Stephen Talbot of ‘Leave It To Beaver’ Would Find Success In Documentaries

“I came back to practice and the coach, who I admired tremendously—he was also my English teacher—said, not in a harsh way, ‘Look, man, if you want to play football, you’ve got to show up. You’ve got to be here.’ So I said OK, that’s it, and I went home and told my parents [I was quitting acting] and my parents said, ‘Cool, that’s great.’ My agent was like, ‘What?'”

And that was that for Talbot’s acting career. But he would find his way to working for PBS station KQED in San Francisco. Talbot was an on-air reporter and producer for the station. He says that he was there for 10 years. Talbot worked on local documentaries and ones for PBS. So, while his acting career ended, Talbot’s life in front of the camera did keep him going. His interests would also bend toward politics and filmmaking during college.

Tony Dow Remembers That Show Did Not Want Him Watching It As A Kid

The one-time child actor has gone on to find great success in his career. While we’re talking about Leave It To Beaver, let’s bring up something about Tony Dow. He, of course, played Wally Cleaver opposite Jerry Mathers’ Beaver. Dow was not allowed to watch the show as a kid. “They actually asked our parents not to let us watch the show on TV so we wouldn’t get a big head,” Dow tells Fox News in an interview.

“I think the show is the most natural and most realistic representation of the late ’50s, early ’60s that was on the air,” Dow says. “And most of the stories came from real life.” Talbot also said that he has a lot of respect for Dow. He adds that when he was on the show, there were two groups, one for the older actors and one for younger ones.