‘Leave It To Beaver’: Beaver Actor Jerry Mathers Got Huge Break with Alfred Hitchcock Thanks to Cup of Water

by Katie Maloney

Who knew being thirsty could land you a lifetime of fame and success? Leave It To Beaver actor, Jerry Mathers shares the details.

The iconic sitcom, Leave It To Beaver entertained audiences from 1957 to 1963. Viewers tuned in to watch the daily lives of the Cleaver family. However, there was one character who stood out the most, Beaver Cleaver. Beaver was a rambunctious yet often naive kid whose misadventures captured the hearts of viewers. So, how did actor Jerry Mathers land such an iconic role?

Apparently, it all started with a cup of water. Mathers first got his start in the entertainment world after going clothing shopping with his mother. While at the store, a modeling agent noticed Mathers and asked his mother if he could model for a clothing catalog. He did so well during the shoot, that little Jerry’s career grew from there. But if it weren’t for a cup of water and Alfred Hitchcock, Jerry never would have landed the role of Beaver in Leave It To Beaver.

Jerry Mathers as Beaver in Leave It To Beaver.

Alfred Hitchcock Helped Start Jerry’s Leave It To Beaver Career

During an interview, Jerry said it wasn’t until he was filming a commercial at the same time as Alfred Hitchcock that his acting career really took off. At the time, commercials were filmed live. So, Jerry had just finished acting for a commercial when he was told to stand off-stage and be quiet while filming for other commercials continued. But, Jerry was thirsty. So he tugged at his mother’s dress and asked her to get him some water. Jerry’s mother shh-ed him and told him he could drink water after the filming was over.

Famous movie director, Alfred Hitchcock saw the whole thing and motioned to Jerry to come over so that Hitchcock could give him a glass of water.

“He got me to come over and my mom knew it was Alfred Hitchcock. So he got me the water very quietly and gave it to me.”

For whatever reason, that interaction left an impression on Hitchcock. Within a week, Paramount called the Mather’s family and asked that Jerry come in to audition for Hitchcock’s new film, The Trouble With Harry. Jerry met with Hitchcock and was hired on the spot.

During the same interview, Jerry recalled seeing Hitchcock onset years later while filming Leave It To Beaver.

“I would see him around the lot and he would always come up to me, I’d see this big Rolls-Royce,” said Jerry. “He always had a chauffeur and he’d always pull up, the window would go down and he’d kind of lean out and say [imitating Hitchcock’s voice], ‘Oh, hello Mr. Mathers.’ And that just blew me away. Because to everybody else, I was either Beaver or Jerry. He was the only one who called me ‘Mr. Mathers.'”

Jerry Mathers in The Trouble With Harry