‘Leave It to Beaver’: A Main Cast Member Blamed the Show for a Tragic Death in His Family
Viewers who grew up in the ’50s adored the classic television show Leave It to Beaver. The show ran until the early ’60s and featured the character of Theodore “The Beaver” Cleaver getting into plenty of shenanigans in his neighborhood.
While fans adored Theodore who was played by Jerry Mathers, they also had a fondness for the rest of the Cleavers. Hugh Beaumont played the iconic Mr. Ward Cleaver. But something occurred when Beaumont was filming the show that had him allegedly blaming the series for a tragic death in his family. Here’s what happened.
Hugh Beaumont played Mr. Cleaver on ‘Leave It to Beaver’
Leave It to Beaver is full of memorable characters, and no one could’ve played Mr. Cleaver like Beaumont. According to Fox News, Beaumont’s work on the show was one of his crowning achievements, and he didn’t always have the goal of making it big in Hollywood. He initially studied theology in school before pursuing acting. And when he finally became successful, his daughter, Kristan Beaumont, noted he never got too in his head about fame.
“He had a lot of input into the character,” Kristan explained to Closer Weekly, according to Fox. “When we got into trouble, we usually had a talk with dad, just like on the show. He’d never yell or get upset.”
Kristan added that her father took the show “very seriously” so he could use all the funds to support his family.
Beaumont blamed the show for contributing to a tragic family death
While Beaumont was committed to his role on the show, it seems he wasn’t always a fan of working on the set. Mental Floss notes Beaumont had a “deep sadness” from the show. He spent a lot of time away from his family in Minnesota to commence with filming in Los Angeles. And one particular incident haunted him.
The publication notes filming for Leave It to Beaver happened quickly once the pilot episode was sold, and Beaumont had to fly out to California on a tight schedule. He left his son, Hunter, to drive Beaumont’s wife and her mom west, but Hunter lost control of the car. Beaumont’s wife’s mother was killed in the car accident.
The Life & Times of Hollywood notes Beaumont harbored some resentment toward the show in regards to the accident because filming prevented him from being the one to drive the car in the first place.
Beaumont was 72 years old when he died
While Beaumont had reservations about the show, he still did a lot to make it stand as one of the most iconic shows on television. And he ultimately died at 72 years old. According to The New York Times, Beaumont died of a heart attack in 1982, nearly 20 years after the show’s end.
Leave It to Beaver co-star Jerry Mathers wrote incredibly kind and thoughtful words about Beaumont years after Beaumont’s death, too.
“When they re-cast the role for the series, Hugh was one of several people brought in for an audition,” Mathers noted on his website. “I was very glad that he was picked for the role and we had a wonderful friendship for his entire life until he passed away in 1982 from a heart attack. Hugh and my dad had become friends and he occasionally came to our house to play cards with my father and some of his friends.”
Check out Showbiz Cheat Sheet on Facebook!