What many people don’t know is that the character Gus (Burton Mustin) began his professional acting career at the age of 67 after director William Wyler cast him in the 1951 film Detective Story. And, did you know that he spent most of his early working years as an insurance salesman and he also had a degree in Engineering? Burt played Gus the Fireman on our show Leave it to Beaver and he was one of my favorite supporting characters.
In 1957, he made his first appearance as “Gus the Fireman” on Leave It to Beaver. He continued in the role until 1962 making a total of 15 appearances on our show. In 1960, he made his first guest appearance on The Andy Griffith Show as Jud Fletcher. Burt appeared in the role until 1966. He also portrayed “Old Uncle Joe” on two episodes of The Lucy Show in 1967. The following year, Mustin guest starred as “Grandpa Jenson” on Petticoat Junction in three episodes.
During the 1970s, Burt continued with guest roles on Love, American Style, Adam-12, and Emergency!. Known for his quick wit and song-and-dance abilities, Mustin was a frequent closing act on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson during the 1970s. From 1971 to 1976, he had a recurring role as “Justin Quigley” in five episodes of All in the Family
Burt was a very kind and gracious man and I enjoyed working with him very much. On January 28, 1977, he died in Glendale, California at the age of 94.