JERRY MATHERS Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Jerry Mathers                                                                               
Born: 2 June 1948 Sioux City, Iowa, U.S.                                                           
Jerry Mathers (born June 2, 1948 in Sioux City, Iowa) is an American television,                   
film and stage actor.                                                                             
The brown-headed Mathers is best known for his role in the television sitcom                       
series Leave it to Beaver (1957-1963), in which he played Theodore "Beaver"                       
Cleaver, the younger son of archetypal suburban couple June and Ward Cleaver (Barbara             
Billingsley and Hugh Beaumont), and the brother of Wally Cleaver (Tony Dow).                       
Mathers's acting career began early. At the age of two, in a commercial, he                       
walked into a barroom wearing diapers, six guns, cowboy boots and a big cowboy                     
hat. Ed Wynn, the vaudeville comedian, was behind the bar and several cowboy                       
actors began portraying a bar fight. At this point, Mathers walks through the                     
fighting cowboys and one of them picks him up and they all say, “Why are you                     
here?” Mathers responds, “I’m the toughest hombre in these parts. You better                 
have my brand,” while he pounds on the bar. It was a commercial for PET Milk.                   
His early movies included This Is My Love (1954), Men of the Fighting Lady (1954),                 
The Seven Little Foys (1955) and The Trouble with Harry (1955).                                   
As he moved into his teenage years, Mathers retired from acting to concentrate                     
on school.                                                                                         
In 1978, he reentered the entertainment industry. He has since starred in                         
Playing Patti (1998) and Better Luck Tomorrow (2002). He has also been in It's                     
Howdy Doody Time (1987), Down the Drain (1990) and Sexual Malice (1994).                           
Mathers reportedly got the role of Beaver Cleaver when he told the show's                         
producers he'd rather be at his cub scout meeting than auditioning for the part.                   
The producers found his candidness appealing and perfect for the role. Mathers                     
got the job.                                                                                       
Mathers played the role of Beaver for six years. When the show ended in spring                     
1963, Beaver was looking forward to entering Mayfield High School. Mathers                         
appeared in all 234 episodes of the series.                                                       
Mathers was the first child actor ever to make a deal to get a percentage of the                   
merchandising revenue from a television show. The Leave It to Beaver show still                   
generates merchandise revenue today, almost 45 years after its original                           
production run ended.                                                                             
The original sitcom has been shown in over 80 countries in 40 languages. Mathers                   
has noted that the Leave It to Beaver phenomenon is worldwide. "I can go                           
anywhere in the world, and people know me," Mathers has said. "In Japan the show’s               
called 'The Happy Boy and His Family.' So I’ll be walking through the airport in                 
Japan, and people will come up and say, 'Hi, Happy Boy!'"                                         
In 1962, near the end of the run of the original show, Mathers recorded two                       
songs for a single 45rpm: Don't 'Cha Cry, a retread of Spanish Harlem; and for                     
the flip side, the twist ditty, Wind-Up Toy ("Wind-up Toy! Wind-up Toy! Say,                       
when you gonna treat me like a real live boy.") During his high school years,                     
following the production of the original show, Mathers had a band called "Beaver                   
and the Trappers." They made some records for Atlantic Records, including one                     
called Happiness is Havin', which was the number one single in Hawaii and Alaska                   
for a while. The song was co-written by Mathers and Richard Correll, who played                   
Richard Rickover in the original sitcom. Mathers's band recorded for about three-and-a-half       
years and played sock-hops and parties in southern California.                                     
In his first venture on Broadway, Mathers joined the musical cast of a                             
production of Hairspray for a three-month run, between June and September of                       
2007. He played the part of Wilbur Turnblad. Mathers is the second cast                           
member of the original Leave It to Beaver show to appear on Broadway. In 1936,                     
Barbara Billingsley appeared in the Broadway play Straw Hat, which closed after                   
only five shows.                                                                                   
Mathers became the subject of an urban legend when it was falsely reported that                   
he died in Vietnam. While he did serve in the Air National Guard during the                       
Vietnam War, he remained in the United States. In 1969 (or 1968; sources differ)                   
incorrect reports of his death were put out by Associated Press and United Press                   
International when a similarly-named soldier was killed. The rumor was so                         
widespread and believable that Tony Dow, a co-star from the Beaver sitcom, sent                   
flowers to the Mathers family upon hearing the news.