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Sioux City, Iowa, USA
Claim to Fame
"Leave it to Beaver"
Actor/Actress, Director, Soundtrack
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Profile Bio Text
Jerry Mathers (born June 2, 1948 in Sioux City, Iowa) is an American television, film and stage actor. 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).
The son of a high-school counselor, 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 played the Beaver for six years. When the show ended in 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, 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 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, a rumor unknowingly spread by actress Shelley Winters during an appearance she made on The Tonight Show in the late 1960`s. While Mathers 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 sent flowers to the Mathers family upon hearing the news.
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Gerald Patrick "Jerry" Mathers (born June 2, 1948) is an American television, film, and stage actor. 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 (played by Barbara Billingsley and Hugh Beaumont), and the brother of Wally Cleaver (played by Tony Dow).
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