Jerry Mathers (Actor) - Leave It to Beaver
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Updated: 6/26/23

Name: Jerry Mathers

Birth Name: Gerald Patrick Mathers

Born: June 2, 1948 in Sioux City, Iowa, USA

Nickname: The Beav, The Beaver

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Claim To Fame: Jerry Mathers is an American actor best known for his role as Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver in the television sitcom Leave It to Beaver, originally broadcast from 1957 to 1963.

Family Life: Mathers has been married three times. In 1974, he married Diana Platt, and later divorced. Mathers met his second wife, Rhonda Gehring, while touring in the production of So Long, Stanley. They have three children: Noah, Mercedes, and Gretchen. They divorced in 1997. Mathers married his third wife, Teresa Modnick, on January 30, 2011.

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Info: The son of a high school principal, and grew up in the San Fernando Valley, California.

Mathers has one sister and two brothers, including Jimmy Mathers.

Graduated from Notre Dame High School, in Sherman Oaks, California, in 1967.

Attended the University of California, Berkeley and graduated with a BA degree in philosophy in 1973.

His younger brother Jimmy Mathers was also a television actor who had spots on Bewitched, The Munsters, My Three Sons and Adam-12.

In the late 1990s, he owned and operated a sideline catering company in Santa Clarita, California called, "Cleaver's Catering."

During high school, Mathers had a band named Beaver and the Trappers.

Earned his BA in Philosophy and worked in banking and real estate in 1970s.

While still in high school, Mathers joined the U.S. military. From 1966 to 1969, he was a member of the 146th Airlift Wing, nicknamed The Hollywood Guard, of the California Air National Guard in Van Nuys, California.

In December 1969, a rumor began that Mathers was killed in action in the Vietnam War. Although the origin of the rumor is unclear, Mathers never saw action and was never stationed outside the United States.

After college, Mathers worked as a commercial loan officer.

In 1996, Mathers was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Mathers later enrolled in a weight loss program with Jenny Craig in May 1997 and lost over 40 lbs. and later became the company's first male spokesperson.

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Trivia: He began his career at the age of 2 when he appeared as a child model for a department store ad.

Starred in a commercial for PET Milk opposite vaudeville comedian Ed Wynn.

Mathers states that he got the role of Beaver Cleaver after telling the show's producers he would rather be at his Cub Scout meeting than to do an audition for the part. The producers found his candor appealing and perfect for the role.

He played the Beaver for six years, appearing in all 234 episodes of the series. He was the first child actor to have had a deal made on his behalf to get a percentage of the merchandising revenue from a television show.

In 1962, near the end of the run of Leave It to Beaver, Mathers recorded two songs for a single 45 rpm: "Don't 'Cha Cry," and for the flip side, the twist ditty "Wind-Up Toy".

Mathers remained friends with Barbara Billingsley, who played his TV mother June Cleaver, and he remembered her after her death as "a good friend and an even better mentor. For me she was like the favorite teacher that we all had in school."

In 1981, he worked as a disc jockey at KEZY radio in Anaheim, California.

In 1983, Mathers reprised his role in the television reunion film Still the Beaver, which featured the majority of the original cast from Leave It to Beaver. The success of the TV movie led to the development of a series. It began airing on the Disney Channel in 1984, then aired on TBS and broadcast syndication, where it was retitled The New Leave It to Beaver and ran until 1989.

In 1998, he released his memoir "And Jerry Mathers as The Beaver."

In 2007, he made his Broadway debut with a starring role as Wilbur Turnblad in the musical Hairspray at the Neil Simon Theatre.

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Where Are They Now: Mathers hasn't been on TV since 2019, when he promoted Leave It to Beaver and other classic television shows on MeTV. Could it be that he's quietly retired from showbiz? Could he be working on another reboot of Leave it to Beaver? Could the Bev be coming back? Oh, I sure hope so!


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