‘Leave It To Beaver’: One Actor Ditched Acting After Playing Iconic ‘Bad Guy’ Role

by Will Shepard

Leave It to Beaver is an iconic show. The show ran from 1957 to 1963, creating loyal fans from many generations. While the show itself is amazing, one actor, in particular, found it tough to get work after the show.

Frank Bank played Clarence “Lumpy” Rutherford. On the show, he was the bully, and in every episode that he was involved in, he was picking on the Cleaver boys. He played his role astoundingly well, getting fans to hate his character.

As any villain who is played excellently, they will often find that people despise the character. This means that they are doing their job well. However, once the show’s finale was over, the Leave It to Beaver actor found unexpected consequences.

“Leave It to Beaver” Actor Struggled to Find Work After Show

There are a lot of great characters on Leave It to Beaver, but having the foil of Lumpy was essential. He was the perfect guy to hate.

In an interview with Dispatch, Gary Mathers – who played “Beaver” – explains what he meant to the show. His presence on set was irreplaceable and all of the other actors were thankful he was there.

“Lumpy was the ultimate bully, but Frank was a very, very kind and gentle person and a very good actor to play it so well. The show was about all the people you knew growing up and throughout your life, and Frank brought that perspective to the show.”

His role on the show was that of an unintelligent bully. When he wasn’t getting away with messing with the “Beaver” and “Wally,” he himself was getting pranked. Ultimately, this role on Leave It to Beaver would define his entire acting career.

Frank Bank’s Work after The Show Finished in 1963

Despite his success with Leave It to Beaver, his luck getting acting gigs afterward was not good. Frank Bank could never shake the role of “Lumpy” and was therefore forever known as that bullying, dimwitted character.

In fact, later on, he was offered a role in a pilot for a show about the Archie Comic books. But, one of the higher-ups on the show nixed the idea because they believed he would only be thought of as “Lumpy.” He even went on record, voicing his opinion about Bank.

“I love the show, but I can’t get it out of my head that that’s Lumpy on screen, not Archie.”

So, with this in mind and an unshakable association as “Lumpy,” the Leave It to Beaver left Hollywood. He didn’t go far, sticking in Los Angeles, where he found success as a stock broker.

Bank passed away at the age of 71 in 2013. The Leave It to Beaver actors were devastated by the news. So, Mathers took to Facebook to share a heartfelt message about the actor.

“I was so sad to hear today of the passing of my dear friend and business associate Frank Bank, who played Lumpy on Leave it to Beaver. He was a character and always kept us laughing. My deepest condolences to Frank’s family.”

Despite never acting again, his children were incredibly proud of their father for the role he played in the iconic show.