‘Leave It to Beaver’: Which 2 Stars Were Father and Son In Real Life?

Leave It to Beaver is often remembered as one of the most beloved TV shows of the ‘50s and ‘60s. It told the story of a wholesome family, but it also featured a pair of actors — Stephen Talbot and his father, Lyle Talbot — who were related in real life and had recurring roles on the show.

The cast of 'Leave It to Beaver': Tony Dow, Hugh Beaumont, Jerry Mathers, and Barbara Billingsley dressed formally in a dinnertime scene
The cast of ‘Leave It to Beaver’: Tony Dow, Hugh Beaumont, Jerry Mathers, and Barbara Billingsley dressed formally in a dinnertime scene | Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives

‘Leave It To Beaver’ aired for six seasons

Leave It to Beaver premiered in 1957 and aired for six seasons until 1963. The series followed the adventures of 7-year-old Theodore ‘the Beaver’ Cleaver (Jerry Mathers) and his 13-year-old brother Wally (Tony Dow). 

Each episode centered on Wally and Beaver’s antics, many of which would land them in trouble. Then by the end of the episodes, their parents, June (Barbara Billingsly) and Ward (Hugh Beaumont), would sit them down and give them a lecture about what they did. 

Jerry Mathers as Beaver Cleaver, Hugh Beaumont as Ward Cleaver, Barbara Billingsley as June Cleaver and Tony Dow as Wally Cleaver in a promotional photo for 'Leave It to Beaver'
The cast of ‘Leave It to Beaver’ | Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

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The series earned two Primetime Emmy nominations in 1958. It has been on TV in syndication for years and is often lauded as one of the best shows of all time. 

Stephen Talbot and Lyle Talbot were recurring actors on ‘Leave It To Beaver’

On Leave It to Beaver, Stephen Talbot played Beaver’s young schoolmate and friend, Gilbert Bates. He first appeared on the season 2 episode, “Beaver and Gilbert,” in 1959. Initially, Gilbert, who was known for exaggerating the truth, would trick Beaver into doing things that would trouble him. But as the series continued, Gilbert became much nicer and ended up becoming Beaver’s best friend. 

(L-R) Stephen Talbot, Jerry Mathers, Lelani Sorensen appearing on 'Leave it to Beaver'
(L-R) Stephen Talbot, Jerry Mathers, Lelani Sorensen appearing on ‘Leave it to Beaver’ | Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Stephen’s father, Lyle Talbot was an established actor who appeared on shows like The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and The Lone Ranger. He joined the cast of Leave It to Beaver as Mr. Dennison, Beaver’s first girlfriend Linda’s father. Lyle was only featured on two episodes of the series and never appeared on screen with his son. 

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Stephen Talbot and Lyle Talbot also worked together on other shows

After appearing on Leave It to Beaver, Stephen went on to become a TV producer and reporter. He’s most known for his contributions to Frontline, for which he created award-winning documentaries like The Best Campaign Money Can Buy.

Lyle Talbot
Lyle Talbot | Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

In 2013, about 16 years after Lyle’s death, Stephen wrote a blurb for his old co-star Jerry Mathers’s website. In the passage, he reflected on his time acting alongside his dad. And looking back, he noted how meaningful it was. 

“One thing that seemed totally normal back then, but strikes me as pretty unusual now is that while I was your pal on Leave it to Beaver, my Dad (who was also in several Beaver episodes) was playing Ozzie’s best friend and neighbor, Joe Randolph, on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” Stephen wrote. “So, my Dad and I were sidekicks on two of the most iconic American shows about suburban life in the Eisenhower and Kennedy era.”