‘Leave it to Beaver’: Jerry Mathers Revealed His Mother Was Integral to Casting of Ward Cleaver

by Will Shepard
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Jerry Mathers, who played the “Beaver” on Leave it to Beaver, has an amazing relationship with his mother. When the show began, he was only nine years old. So, his mother was still calling almost all of the shots in his life.

In an interview with Classic Film and TV Café, Jerry Mathers talks about the influence that his mother had on Leave it to Beaver. In all, her influence helped to create an amazing show with her son at the center.

While she is 93-years-old now, the two’s relationship appears as strong as ever. Moreover, when the show was being cast, Jerry Mathers’ mother stepped in to help choose who was going to play Ward Cleaver.

Jerry Mathers’ Mother Played a Big Role in Hugh Beaumont Being on “Leave it to Beaver”

So, during the interview, he was asked about the role she had in getting Hugh Beaumont the role. To which he says she played a massive role in getting him cast as his dad in Leave it to Beaver.

“Yes, she did play a big part in Hugh Beaumont getting the role of Ward. I worked with Hugh before Leave it to Beaver when we filmed a promotional commercial for Rose Hills Memorial Park. My mom liked Hugh very much and told him at that time the producers of a television series that I had just been hired for, Leave it to Beaver, were looking to cast the father.”

Jerry Mathers’ mother, after introducing him to television, decided to take matters into her own hands. Because the two had worked together before, and she was comfortable with him, she got to work.

“She thought Hugh would be perfect for the part and encouraged him to audition. And as they say, the rest is history! What many people don’t know is that Hugh Beaumont wasn’t really an actor, he was a Methodist minister. Before Leave It to Beaver, his most famous role was as private detective Michael Shayne in a series of “B” movies that played before feature-length films.”

Hugh Beaumont Fit the Show Perfectly

Leave it to Beaver is the epitome of the 1950s. The sitcom was such that anyone watching could relate to it almost instantly. That is in part because of how well the characters were cast for the show.

“Michael Shayne was a very mean character. To get people to talk, he would pound them against a wall. He was a very aggressive private detective. That wasn’t really what Hugh Beaumont’s personality was. So when he got to Leave It to Beaver and would take Beaver into the library or den and tell Beaver that he shouldn’t have done something–that was much more Hugh Beaumont reverting to the preacher that he really was.”

All in all, Jerry Mathers and Hugh Beaumont’s on-screen chemistry was amazing. It seemed like the two were actually father and son. Together the two of them made for a memorable six seasons of television.

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