‘Leave It to Beaver’: One Actor Also Wrote and Directed Some Episodes of the Show

by Joe Rutland
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It might be hard to believe that Hugh Beaumont did more on “Leave It to Beaver” than play fatherly Ward Cleaver. But he did.

Beaumont found himself writing and directing some during the show’s six-season run. Specifically, Beaumont wrote one credited episode, contributed to others without credit, and directed 23 episodes.

During his career, Beaumont also found himself acting in numerous small movie parts for 25 years. There also was a period of time after “Leave It to Beaver” finished its run in 1963 that he guest-starred on other TV shows. His appearances included those on “Mannix,” “Petticoat Junction,” “Wagon Train,” and “Marcus Welby, M.D.”

Obviously, he and “Marcus Welby” star Robert Young had something in common. Both played television fathers, Beaumont on “Leave It to Beaver” and Young as Jim Anderson on “Father Knows Best.”

Beaumont died on May 14, 1982, from a heart attack. He was visiting his son in Munich, West Germany, at the time.

His contributions, though, to the television industry remain on display through the power of reruns.

Tony Dow Dealt With ‘Leave It to Beaver’ Stardom

Being on a popular TV sitcom and seen by millions of people can put a lot of pressure on childhood actors. Take Tony Dow, who played “Wally” on “Leave It to Beaver,” as an example.

Thankfully, Dow had parents to did their best to make sure he had a normal lifestyle beyond the camera.

“When I wasn’t doing the show, I was at school,” Dow said in an interview with Fox News. “We had family vacations during the summers, and I had my group of friends. And I appreciated that.”

Dow did admit that making the transition from child actor to adult actor is difficult “because all sorts of things happen.”

Dow Had Level of Consistency During, After Show

“Your voice changes,” he said. “You’re no longer the cute little kid. You go through an awkward age and don’t get hired, so you quit… I wasn’t neglected by my family… I also started college and kept acting… Then I decided to stop and try other things, like directing, to keep things interesting.

“But my life was sort of consistently the same. So I didn’t have trouble with that transition. And I’m still keeping busy today.”

Tony Dow avoided the pitfalls so many child actors find themselves in later in life.

With a stable home life and understanding parents, he came out of “Leave It to Beaver” in pretty good shape.

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