My mother’s memories of Hugh Beaumont…

marilynI marvel at all the Internet can accomplish. It has risen historical research to unbelievable heights and refreshed as well as restored memories to people today that past generations could not even have conceived possible. That’s how the wonder of it all struck me when I saw that a small, commercial film Jerry did about 55 years ago about Rose Hills Memorial Park had been retrieved and I could view it on this website.

It brought back memories of a pleasant summer morning when Jerry and I walked into the Jerry Fairbanks Studio in Hollywood to work in a small commercial film.

During the day, as there were break times in the filming, I became acquainted with the actor, Hugh Beaumont, who was playing the role of Jerry's father. He was a nice looking, very personable man and soon we began an interesting conversation about the state of things in Hollywood at the time.

To digress a bit - this was a time, that today seems to be forgotten, when television was just entering into the average home and families were wildly excited to get their entertainment right in their own living rooms.  Prior to this phenomenon of TV they went frequently to a neighborhood theater to watch movies. This lack of audiences for movies was devastating to the film industry and resulted in the big studio lots being empty of production and millionaire movie moguls going bankrupt.  Working actors were devastated as there just wasn't any work to be had.

Hugh lamented how bad things were for him as he had a wife and three children to support. He said he was thinking of getting out of acting and into some other line of work. Well, as providence would have it, I had something very interesting to tell him.  I told him my son, Jerry, had done a pilot which had sold and was going into production very soon and that they were replacing the original father and holding auditions. I said, "It might be too late. They may have already cast someone but here's the information where the interviews are being held."

That night, when Jerry was saying his bedtime prayers, he ended with, "Please God make the actor I worked with today my father in the new series."

When Jerry walked into that very first day of rehearsals for Leave it to Beaver he was overjoyed to see his prayers were answered and Hugh Beaumont was cast as Ward Cleaver!

                                                                                    Marilyn Mathers

Here is the commercial…


82 Responses to My mother’s memories of Hugh Beaumont…

    • Rhonda Cole says:

      Watching on Netflix from beginning to end and loving every second! I grew up in the same era, so I see much to relate to. I had a teacher like Miss Landers. We played outdoors all day with neighborhood kids, just like the Beav. Your school rituals are familiar. Your parents’ insistence on obedience was well established fact in our home. I am 57 years old and have used the internet to keep with all the Beaver charectors in their adult endeavors. So happy to find most doing so well. Jerry, I also really enjoy reading your “Memories” blog.

      Best wishes…Rhonda

  • Oh, thank you so much for this wonderful story. I can’t imagine anyone else playing Ward’s part. Your son played a significant roll in my life as a child growing up, and Ward was a wonderful father figure for all of us baby boomers.

    Your story also encourages those of us who are “late bloomers” to the film industry — that nothing is impossible.

    It’s incredible to be able to connect on facebook with Jerry and others, something we never would have ever realized before.

    Thank you.
    Jane Fitzpatrick

  • Gerald Van Slyke says:

    I didn’t realize that every episode of “Leave It To Beaver” had a moral to it. Not until I had children of my own and with them, I watched the reruns. It was at that time I discovered I was now wearing Wards pants; the kind with a stretch band at the waist. 🙂

    We watched the New LITB with the family, too. Actually got to meet Ken Osmond and his son, whom my daughter wanted to see. That was in Madison Wisconsin. I cried during the first episode when June went to the cemetery to visit with Ward.

    Thanx for the memories, Jerry. And for being able to read your mom’s blog.

  • Pamela says:

    This story is so sweet, it was” DESTINY ” that Hugh Beaumont play Ward, know one could have done it better !!! Love Him and all the Cast!!!! Sincerely Pamela Arnone
    God Bless Him !!

  • Dave Compton says:

    A lovely story, and a what a blessing to see the power of prayer. Thank you Marilyn for sharing this story! God is so wonderful to us.

  • Vince Iuliano says:

    a terrific memory from your good looking Mom! 🙂 thanks to you both!
    Hugh was the perfect fit for this role – i still enjoy his performances thanks to the miracle of home DVD.
    Beaver was a perfect show for me because i was the same age and could identify with Jerry, but also because the show was well cast and especially well written! The jokes and situations are still fresh and laugh out loud funny! When Wally wrote the apology note to Beaver’s teacher : “I whipped Beaver, his father whipped Beaver..” I literally had to stop the dvd recently until my wife and i stopped laughing… the show is ever-fresh.
    Thanks for the memories and wonderful laughs you’ve given generations and thanks to your Mom for pushing Hugh to audition for the role! He was a great TV father and the show would have been much changed with anyone else in that pivotal role! Can’t even imagine anyone else in it (well the pilot with a very different cast shows how the casting would have affected the PH of the whole series)..That’s Kismet!

  • Linda Jean Limes Ellis says:

    Thank you for posting the story about your mother, Jerry. And, the link to that video really brought on some tears. Thank you for keeping the legacy of “Beaver” alive for those of us who were so fortunate to have been about your age in the late 1950’s and early 1960s, and to the younger generations who are learning about you and “Beaver” and lessons he learned for the first time.

  • katherine st john says:

    How can we ever thank you for STILL being there. I purchased copies of the Leave It To Beaver series for my young grandchildren and they really love them. I didn’t realize that even my own children, who are in their 30s, weren’t familiar with the series. So, we are all enjoying the simple beauties of being human and of being a family. It’s a great change from the loud, self serving and exaggerated entertainment available for children today. Is there any way to bring our young people into the world of respect and good manners? We try by example, but the world offers so many bad options. I’m hopeful though. Much love from Salt Lake City.

  • Cindi Bauer says:

    Marilyn, thank you for sharing your memories of Hugh Beaumont. And Jerry, thank you for including Mr. Beaumont in your prayers. Glad to see your prayer was answered, and that Hugh was selected to play the part of your father on Leave it to Beaver. I don’t think anyone could of played Ward Cleaver better than Hugh Beaumont.

  • I grew up watching Leave it to Beaver. Hugh was perfect as your dad! You were the most adorable little guy and we got to watch you grow up to be a handsome teenager! I used to love how polite Wally was to all of his girlfriends and I too prayed! I prayed that God would bring me a husband just like Wally! Everyone laughed at me. But God answered that prayer. And brought me a man as polite and kind as Wally! My family call him Wally! Last summer we had a Fabulous 50’s party here in Fresno, Ca. and guess who was there! Tony Dowe! So I got to get my picture taken between my two Wally’s! I was really hoping you would have been there. Tony signed all of my Beaver video’s for me! Anyway, thank you for the nice article and the many happy memories. We watch you everyday on tv. You are a national treasure! Love you lots! Annie Stephens

  • Kathy says:

    Thanks to the power of prayer it produced a wonderful tv show with great chemistry — Thank you Marilyn for giving the info to Hugh — You have a wonderful son who has brought much joy to the hearts of so many then and now. Thank You and God Bless !

  • Ryan says:

    Thanks for sharing your memories. I thoroughly enjoy the stories shared on Jerry’s site. It is comforting to know you have great memories from the show.

  • Renato says:

    What an awesome story, I can not picture anyone else in the role of Ward Cleaver. It’s great how things worked out and from seeing the commercial you could feel the connection between the two actors. Thanks for sharing this story with us.

  • John says:

    I absolutely thought Hugh was the best TV dad. I am so glad your mother stepped in as I never cared much for the guy
    in the original pilot. Hugh was meant to play Ward…….I would love to hear more about Hugh after the show ended up until his death. I don’t recall seeing him in the 70s? I don’t even think I have seen pictures of him in those years. I would love to see them if you or Jerry have any. Thank you for sharing your story about such a pleasant man.

  • Anthony says:

    That’s an amazing story that brought a tear to my eye. Jerry, I love your work. I watched “The Trouble With Harry” the night I met my wife, in 1999, and every night we and our six year old daughter watch Leave it to Beaver on Netflix.

  • Strawberry says:

    This is a very lovely touching story, one that brings tears, I thank you for sharing. I never missed Leave it to Beaver when it was on. I was just a kid then but I really miss that kind of family television, ones with morals & values.

  • Mary Ellen Lloyd says:

    Very nice touch, your mom’s memories along with Hugh’s “pre-pilot” episode for the eventual LITB series. . . on his death anniversary. The weird part was watching you as a young boy (like in LITB) and then projected into the future, supposedly, as a young husband and father – we all expect to see you as you actually were/are, instead of the bogus actor who you did NOT turn out to resemble!! So bizarre.

    Guess your mom was a real go-getter to get you into films so early. Good for her. Guess living in CA was the pay-off for it all!!

  • Marie Scott says:

    WOW! What wonderful memories. Thank you Marilyn for sharing. I’m a really big LITB fan!…I grew up cherishing all of the episodes week after week… and still over the years, all of the re-runs… and, dvds. You mentioned that Jerry prayed for Hugh Beaumont to become his TV Dad, I’m so thankful that he did, and I thank God for Jerry too! My oldest daughter is 30, and my other 2 daughters are in their late 20’s, and they still love to watch episodes with me, and I’m sure my little grandbabies will grow up watching as well! Thanks for the memories Marilyn! and, thank God for you!

  • Karen says:

    Lovely story! I loved LITB as a child! I wanted to be in a family as warm and kind as the Cleavers. When I watch reruns today, it brings back so many happy memories! Thanks for being part of my life!

  • Toby Russo says:

    Happy Birthday Mrs Mathers, (MOM)….You must be very proud of your son Jerry. and RIP Hugh Beaumont….

  • Patty says:

    What an awesome story. My whole family just loves “Leave it to Beaver”. My favorite episodes are the time Ward brings home a piggy bank for the boys and they end up surprising him by purchasing a hunting jacket at Abernathy Potts (an expensive sporting goods store) instead of putting the money in their bank account at school. Another favorite is when “Beaver” brings home apet monkey(Stanley) …historical!
    Thank you to the whole cast and Mrs.Mathers for sharing her son all these precious years with us. You have lifted our spirits and brought joy into our lives each time we watch an episode! God bless all of you.

  • sherri says:

    Thank you for the story. I am still watching” Leave It To Beaver” and enjoying it even more now. God bless

  • Stephanie says:

    My favorite show of all times…. Why? Beside the family issues we all can relate to, I love the morals after the end of each show. Even though the typical family is not quite that perfect , we all can apply a little special something to our familes today.

  • Rob says:

    I am the same age as Jerry. I had watched every single episode of the “Leave it to Beaver” show. Jerry was my hero. Even to this day I will sit and enjoy a show or two. I once road my bike many mikes as a young boy because someone told me Jerry was visiting someone in my town. No, I did not get to see Jerry, but what a time I had sitting for hours on end in hopes of getting to meet my hero. Thanks for the warm memories Jerry.

  • Susan Berry says:

    Beautiful. Makes me happy reading this but sad at the same time with the state of television today. I have read Hugh was a man of God and so glad He intervened to bring this wonderful show to us all.

  • Tim Engel says:

    Jerry – Thanks so much for all your hard work over the years! For kids growing up in the 50s and 60s wwe truly enjoyed Leave it to Beaver!

  • Neil Facci says:

    Loved Hugh and Barbara as well . They made such a nice couple being your tv parents. Wonderful letter written by your mother . I remember when Hugh also appeared on the adventures of superman tv show. These two were my favorites. On superman he also played a fatherly role and ex-con . It was great to hsR from you and your mother . My mom is still here too.


  • Mark says:

    What a wonderful story. I watched the episodes growing up and as a 57 year old man with a family continue to watch as this is my favorite tv show of all time . Life was simpler in those days- not to trivialize issues that existed. But even today, with all of our challenges and issues, all I need to do is watch an episode of LITB and I feel so much better. Hugh and Barbara were perfect as your parents and Tony as your brother. Thank you to your mother for sharing such a wonderful story and to you for all you do to educate about Diabetes. Thanks Jerry.

  • stephen sannicandro says:

    Hugh was born to play Ward Cleaver. The chemistry between the entire cast was so great. That was when family shows were family shows and people had talent!

  • Susie says:

    What a heartwarming story. I DVR Leave it to Beaver and watch a show a day. It is so nostalgic, and makes me happy. I love seeing the scenery, and all,of the lovely people. Life was like that, and it brings back memories. I think Hugh Beaumont was a very handsome man. Thank you for sharing.

  • Leslie says:

    What a wonderful, sweet story! Hugh Beaumont was the perfect man for the job, too. Class act as are all the cast. They just don’t make good television like that anymore, sadly. Love you all!

  • Cathy says:

    I really enjoy watching Leave it to Beaver on my DVD’s. My favorite actor is and will always be Hugh Beaumont.
    He was a great actor. Hugh reminds me of my father they looked very much alike.

  • Richard Bestard says:

    What a great story….I was and still am a big fan of Leave it to Beaver…Jerry and I are the same age…Well I’m a day older…As I look at the show now I realize that the casting was perfect…Except I always wondered why Wally and the Beav’s ears were different…Funny what kids notice and think about….I remember reading somewhere that Hugh Beaumont wasn’t in the new Still the Beaver series because he had passed away shortly before it was filmed…That made me sad…Hugh Beaumont was the perfect father for Wally and the Beaver….Those were wonderful and innocent times..Too bad it isn’t like that now…Thanks for the sweet memories…..

  • Pamela Wiser says:

    So interesting! Loved knowing the “rest of the story!” Please tell more! By the way, Thank you for giving Jerry to us in “Leave it to Beaver” it is one of my top 5 favorite shows! I’m 57 & my 2 girls (in their 30’s) said that one day I will have a tombstone that says, “here lyea a woman who loved Leave it to Beaver” so much! I did & still do! Own seasons but now that a collector set has come out, hoping to get that too! Thank you Jerry & mom!

  • Tom says:

    Thank you for sharing such an interesting story about how Hugh Beaumont became the famous Ward Cleaver. It was most insightful!

  • Jimmy Garcia says:

    I’m a true fan of Leave it to Beaver watch it almost every morning on MeTV…this kind of show stands alone of what American boyhood should be….i never knew my father…would have been proud to have Ward Cleaver as a role father….thanks for the show….

  • Ron Gatlin says:

    Jerry, I am about one year younger than you. I grew up watching Leave It To Beaver. I am busier than I have ever been, but I am not too busy each morning to watch the show on Me TV. Thanks for the memories. Thanks for sharing the story about Hugh Beaumont. He was the perfect dad on TV. An answer to your prayers.

  • Tom Winegar says:

    I’m 61 and grew up with the Beav’. Amazing how many of the moral one-liners that we heard Ward use came out of my dad’s mouth too and he never watched the show as far as I can remember. LITB was on about the same time my parents and I would go grocery shopping so they moved the shopping trip back to accommodate my favorite show. My job was to put canned goods away which I did like a speeding bullet so as not to miss a single second. All of the adult regulars on the show have passed away and including to of the younger cast members, Frank Bank (Lumpy) and Stanley Fafara (Whitey). I wonder if kids 100 years from now will be watching the show, if not it will be their loss.

  • Tom Fuller says:

    The best episode I think was when Beaver went to an adoption agency and asked for new parents. Then Ward and June walked in. If you can make it through that without a tear in your eye, you’re a cold hearted person. The funniest was falling into the soup bowl…….kids, whatta ya gonna do?

  • Janice Connelly says:

    What a nice memory! Hugh Beaumont was the perfect Father…very real! He had the best expressions of astonishment! Love The Show!

  • Larry says:

    Ward, was a wonderful tv dad in fact tv these days is in need of a Ward Cleaver dad.Ward gives good excamples for being a fine dad and husbands for young boys.Nice to know Jerry Mathers was taught to pray.Leave It To Beaver is a classic tv series and one of tv’s best!.

  • Jeanne says:

    I agree with Larry, TV isn’t what it used to be, no imagination anymore so go back to the basics. We watched Bev as a family and even though we’re 5 sisters we enjoyed the lessons too. Thanks for sharing!

  • Tom Kovalak says:

    I just love the LITB show! I am 46, so remember watching re-runs as a kid in the 70’s and 80’s. Now that I’m older, I am enjoying watching it again more than ever. I am on season 6, episode 10 right now after almost 3 weeks of watching it every day. I can’t believe how much better life was back then. Even though it’s only a show, I would do anything to go back to that time before self-centered, “selfie”, fake, plastic surgery obsessed freakazoids of today! I am so glad this show is still available to watch and until I’m through with E39 of season 6, I’m watching nothing else 🙂

  • Jamie says:

    Hugh was Hollywood — but still a model father men of America could strive to be like. We need more Ward Cleavers and a Hollywood that is once again devoted to making America great again.

  • Tom says:

    Thank you Jerry for sharing such wonderful stories and memories. Leave to Beaver was a big part of my TV experience growing up (you and I are about the same age). The characters on the show reminded me and my friends of people we actually knew. Makes me sad that future generations will probably not know the simpler times that we experienced during that time in our nation. God bless.

  • Karen Caddle says:

    I love your mother’s memories. I loved this show as a child and still my favorite today. Thank you for posting!

  • Dawn Sevening says:

    How wonderful! God is good and he cares about all the details of our lives. What a precious gift the Leave it to Beaver show has been in my life. I watched throughout my childhood and I still do at 58 years old. I record the show and anytime I want to be transported back to the carefree days of my childhood I watch an episode. It takes me away from the stresses of every day life and refreshes my soul. Wally and Beaver still feel like old friends and Ward still feels like the dad I always wished I had. I learned valuable life lessons from this wholesome, entertaining show. I still have a crush on Wally! I’m thankful for the happy memories that come back every time I view another episode.

  • Patricia G, Osborne says:

    Back in 1984/5. My Husband was Stationed in Charleston, SC! We Lived in Navy Housing & they put a Marathon of LITB & my neighbor had NEVER Seen it Before! She Loved the episode where Beaver Kept loosing his Haircut money, and he had too get his hair cut or a school play……..So Wally Cut it For him! I Can still hear my neighbor Laughing!

  • Kathy Weber says:

    I LOVE reading these stories. Leave It To Beaver was a show I never missed. It’s a huge part of my growing. Wish this would be placed again in the 8:00 hour for all the kids these days to see. No one goes digging for tv shows…..I think this could solve the worlds problems if we’d just start showing these shows again. 🙂

  • Steve Tompkins says:

    We all wish we could have a family like that on Leave it to Beaver. So much love and caring between the family members. Hugh and Barbara were the perfect role models. The family unit is one of the most important things for making our country great.The present generation doesn’t know how good they could have had it.

  • VC says:

    One of the all time classic TV series from bygone days. Watching it gives one a warm comfortable feeling and a wanting to return to a simpler time when people respected and cared for one another.I wish the younger generation will pick up on the series and learn the lessons contained in each episode as well as be entertained . It truly is a great show. I’m 62 and still watch when I can. Thanks Jerry.

  • Ross w. says:

    I have to agree, I don’t think anyone else could have ever been Ward Cleaver. He was the dad every kid wanted, the dispenser of advice and the backbone of the Cleaver family. He taught Wally and the Beaver honesty, ethics, morals and right from wrong. Thank you, Hugh.

  • Mike Styles says:

    I was born in 1950. I had a very good childhood. I was able to watch “Leave It To Beaver”, and that made it better because I kinda grew up with you, on accounta I lived in a town a lot like your TV town, had a great mom and dad, but I was the older brother. I had a friends like Whitey, Larry Mondello, and a couple of goofy girls that liked me. Thank You Jerry, I wouldn’t trade that time growing up then for anything. It was the best time in America so far…not perfect…but all around the best I know of. To this day, me and my friends still talk about your TVshow and we’re still laughing. Can anyone put a price on that?

  • Todd koch says:

    Just wanted to thank you for your hard work and dedication to helping other people and being a great person,I have enjoyed watching leave it to beaver for years,it would be great to meet you someday,take care and God bless.

  • Jerry you and your TV FAMILY Made the world we live in that much better . Jerry so many people love you bring so many beautiful memories I can’t
    Tell you enough.Back in 1976 l got to meet your TV mom Barbra . She and her husband were traveling around Fresno and Reedly area, I used to date
    her niece Susan. That’s when we met pretty thrilling . The love you have 4 others. Really stand out . I can tell you Jerry YOU have been a shinning
    Star that that really stands out in GODS eyes. You should feel so happy in life. You and your TV. Family are in my heart Forever. Roger C.

  • raymond weeks says:

    I just can,t imagine the show without Hugh Beaumont he was the perfect actor and father. I am 58 years old and still enjoy watching leave it to beaver. In my opinion it was one of the best shows that was produced with real morals and values. The world could use more shows like it

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