Eight years ago today, Leave It to Beaver actor Frank Bank died at age 71.
Frank Bank was best known for his character Clarence “Lumpy” Rutherford on the sitcom Leave It to Beaver. He later reprised the character in the 1980s series The New Leave It to Beaver as well as in a 1983 TV movie, Still the Beaver. Additionally, he had a cameo as “Frank” in the 1997 movie Leave It to Beaver. Bank played a ruthless bully on the show. But his co-star Jerry Mathers said in an interview in 2013 that Bank was a “kind and gentle person.”
“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,” said Mathers. “The show was about all the people you knew growing up and throughout your life, and Frank brought that perspective to the show.”
Bank died on April 13, 2013 and was survived by his wife, Rebecca, his four daughters, and his five grandchildren.
Lumpy Was so Popular ‘Leave It to Beaver’ Dedicated an Entire Episode to His Character
Frank Bank may have played the ultimate bully. But Lumpy was still popular. He was definitely the character that everyone loved to hate. So much so, that Leave It to Beaver creators decided to dedicate an entire episode of the show to Lumpy.
The show first introduced Lumpy during an episode in the first season titled “Lumpy Rutherford.” During the episode, it’s revealed that the Rutherfords live near the Cleavers. And Lumpy is first introduced when he teases Wally and Beaver as they walk to school. The boys tell Ward about the bully. So, Ward tells the boys about a prank he used to play. The Cleaver boys decide to recreate the prank and get a little revenge on Lumpy. They set a trap for Lumpy, then taunt him until he comes outside.
Beaver shouts, “Lumpy, Dumpy, you big ape!” Then Wally calls Lumpy a “Meathead.” Unfortunately, the prank fails when Lumpy’s dad gets caught in the trap. But it doesn’t seem to cause too much of a problem because the Rutherfords and the Cleavers play bridge together that night. Eventually, Lumpy befriends the Cleaver brothers, and the bullying stops.
Frank Bank was never able to escape his Leave It to Beaver character, even after the show ended. Eventually, he quit acting and found a successful career as a stockbroker.