What happened to the cast of Leave It to Beaver after the show ended?

After the show's finale, the cast went on to become voice actors, directors and even police officers.

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Leave It to Beaver is a special show. It was an incredible challenge to schedule for both networks that aired it, and it never landed in the Neilsen ratings top 30 during its initial run. However, something changed when Leave It to Beaver began airing in re-runs. The sitcom became a stand-in for a version of mid-century America. Leave It to Beaver's characters never faced problems left unresolved for longer than a half-hour. The Cleavers lived a picket-fenced middle-class life that was adopted as a collective recollection of the late-'50s and early-'60s. For many, the show and its characters were representative of "simpler times."

Just like that era, though, Leave It to Beaver came to an end. The show's six seasons were re-aired, in perpetuity, all over the world. But the actors involved moved on to other roles and into other lives. Here is the story of what happened to each of Leave It to Beaver's principal actors when the show came to an end. 

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1. Jerry Mathers (Beaver)

Leave It to Beaver ended when its star was 15 years old. By then, Jerry Mathers had already recorded and released a single titled "Don't Cha Cry." Throughout high school, Mathers played with his band Beaver and the Trappers. From 1966 to 1969, he was a member of the military, serving in the 146th Airlift Wing of the California Air National Guard. Mathers returned to the limelight in 1978, reuniting with co-star Tony Dow in a few theatrical productions before starring in The New Leave It to Beaver from '83-'89. Later, Mathers became the first male Jenny Craig spokesperson. In 2007, he appeared on Broadway as Wilbur Turnblad in Hairspray.

2. Tony Dow (Wally)

When Beaver ended, Tony Dow, like his onscreen brother, served his country during the Vietnam War. He continued acting, parodying his role as Wally in the 1977 comedy Kentucky Fried Movie. In addition to his onscreen work, Dow is a gifted director, helming episodes of shows like Harry and the Hendersons, Babylon 5, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Tony Dow was an outspoken advocate for mental health, revealing in the '90s his struggles with clinical depression while also chronicling his story in a series of self-help videos. 

3. Barbara Billingsley (June)

Following Leave It to Beaver, the show's matriarch struggled with typecasting, and Billingsley, disillusioned, stepped away from her career for much of the '70s. Her triumphant return to the public eye came in a cameo appearance in the 1980 classic Airplane!, where she spoofed her image, much as Dow had years prior. Billingsley voiced the Nanny in Muppet Babies, keeping the cuddly creatures safe and sound for 107 headless episodes.

4. Hugh Beaumont (Ward)

After leaving his post as the dad on Beaver, Hugh Beaumont mostly starred in guest roles. Before gradually leaving the entertainment business, he popped up on shows like Wagon Train, Mannix and Petticoat Junction. In his later life, Beaumont had a second career as a Christmas tree farmer in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Beaumont officially retired from acting in 1972.

5. Ken Osmond (Eddie Haskell)

Here's a direct quote from Ken Osmond in a 2008 interview with radio host Stu Shostak: "I was very much typecast. It's a death sentence. In Hollywood, you get typecast. I'm not complaining because Eddie's been too good to me, but I found work hard to come by. In 1968, I bought my first house, in '69 I got married, and we were going to start a family and I needed a job, so I went out and signed up for the LAPD." In 1980, while in pursuit of a suspected car thief, Osmond was shot three times. The bulletproof vest Osmond was wearing protected him from two of the bullets. The third ricocheted off his belt buckle. 

6. Frank Bank (Lumpy)

Frank Bank did not appear in any non-Beaver shows or movies after his time as Lumpy came to an end. Instead, Bank leaned into his surname and became a bond broker in Los Angeles. He'd later star again in The New Leave It to Beaver, reprising his earlier role. In 1997, Bank released his memoir, "Call Me Lumpy: My Leave It To Beaver Days and Other Wild Hollywood Life." 

7. Richard Deacon (Fred Rutherford)

Deacon was easily the most prolific of his Beaver co-stars, appearing in dozens of films and shows after the sitcom ended. In addition to starring in The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Jack Benny Program, Deacon showed up in both The Munsters and The Addams Family. Deacon wasn't just an actor, he was also a gourmet chef, releasing several cookbooks throughout his career. 

Who did it: Wally or Beaver Cleaver?

Wally and the Beaver did a lot of silly things that got them in trouble. Can you remember who did what?

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45 Comments

WGH 9 months ago
Hugh Beaumont play Jesse James and an entire episode of the Tales of Wells Fargo.

I just couldn't believe it because I kept thinking about Ward Cleaver. I kind of get the typecasting thing.
WGH 9 months ago
Barbara Billingsley was headless in Muppet Babies only because they never showed her head. She was much taller than the babies and they always "cut her head off" from the shot. It was cute.
ReneDelgado 9 months ago
Say what you want, without a doubt the good old days.
nancycalabrez 9 months ago
Did you know that Barbara Billingsly is the aunt of Peter Billingsly from "A Christmas Story"? I think the family is connected somehow.
nancycalabrez 9 months ago
One of my favorite shows : I am right in between Wally and Beaver in age. Was so sad to hear that Wally and Eddie both died .
trogg888 10 months ago
Still like the show.beav and i are about the same age.i noticed a while back that barbara billingsly got first mention in the opening credits.i wonder if that was a first.


kaitiura 11 months ago
Beaver got a ticket also, while driving Larry around the block in his go kart.
Jimjr5560 11 months ago
Hugh Beaumont also played in Mole People movie. Barbara Billingsley was really funny on the part she played in Airplane.
CLLewis 11 months ago
If the show had went on past season 6 it would have been interesting to see Beaver in high school and Wally in college. I hope Beaver would have gotten a little bit smarter! I guess Jerry Mathers preferred to go to high school in person instead of acting like it.
forthekids 11 months ago
Only Ms.Weil,Mr.Correll and Mr.Mathers are still with us..Mr.Correll is now a successful tv and movie producer..and he is the son of the co-creator of"The Amos & Andy Radio & TV Shows"..Mr.Charles Correll.
CLLewis forthekids 11 months ago
What about Rusty Stevens who played Larry? Is he still alive?
forthekids 11 months ago
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forthekids 11 months ago
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Chuck74Roger80Fan 11 months ago
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nancycalabrez forthekids 9 months ago
Lumpy's still around.
kwlcat 11 months ago
Richard Deacon was also on the second season of the Mother’s-In-Law and oddly enough on the game show Tattletales.
Jaxter14 kwlcat 11 months ago
He was in the closing minutes of the original Invasion Of The Body Snatchers
nancycalabrez kwlcat 9 months ago
He is on the Match Game on ME TV.
jamesj75pet 11 months ago
One notable omission regarding Tony Dow is that he had a brief role on General Hospital in 1974-1975, playing detective Ross Jeanelle who investigated the murder of Phil Brewer. This was one of the first soap murders that involved several suspects, each of whom was a main (popular) character, and the storyline was well hyped at the time, including a promotional photo that featured the five main suspects. Dow was quite appealing in the role.
Marcia 11 months ago
Tony Dow was also a talented and accomplished sculptor.
MikeSR78 11 months ago
I have to say and I'm sure I'm in the minority here but I am not a Leave it to Beaver fan. I can watch it a little here and there but it doesn't take long before Mather's character gets on my last nerve.
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Coldnorth MikeSR78 10 months ago
I don’t think I have ever watched a whole episode of Leave it to Beaver. I don’t think it was the actors, maybe it just was the characters. Even the commercials for it was not inviting to watch.
Pacificsun BuckeyeBeth 10 months ago
Not trying to dissuade you from your opinion. But for the sake of balance:

Not sure how often these points about LITB need to be repeated, but oh well. Guess there are always newer readers. It's tough to plug-in a nearly 60 year old series into the present day. Unless viewers (fans) are looking for a couple of things. One, is simplicity, aka escapism. The literal plots were incidental to the greater significance of the story being told. No kid ever got stuck in the 3-dimensional coffee cup hanging onto a billboard. But it would be kind of boring to hear a kid say they left their bike unlocked in front of store where it was stolen. The purpose is the same however. Because the Series was about relationships. And in particular, about how they were exaggerated from a kid's point of view. We can't see it in this day, because nobody teaches (or learns) respect now. But that was the core (value) of the moral tales being showcased back them. Where incidents and people seemed larger than life. If kids seemed dumb, it was because they thought they were dumb. But nobody would find one in a million today, who thinks in that fashion. LITB is clearly a period piece (no longer being fashionable entertainment). But is the equivalent of looking through a window into the past of some peoples' (and not even the majority) experience. Or at least how they felt it to be (for right or for wrong). Because it was written and produced by Connelly and Mosher, who illustrated how it "seemed" to come across to them anyway, as they were growing up. If looked at carefully, they tried to avoid overly contrived plots (unlike the BB) while still earning viewers' interest.

In fact, it was correct, wise, and sensible for JM (and the Production Co.) to quit before entering High School. Where a young person's point of view (naivete) could no longer be sustained. Eddie Haskell (character) was the intentional counter-point for the benefit of casual viewers who could only see a saccharine approach to living. But the show wasn't about Eddie, and given his pattern of behavior, he wouldn't have lasted for more than a season. Unless they turned him into another Fonzie. Producers very intentionally decided on actors not well-known in that day, again so as not to distract attention from a sense of normalcy.
CLLewis 10 months ago
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why doesn't June ever wear pants and a sweater ? Even Ward wears a suit in his house .
CoreyC 11 months ago
Both Jerry Mathers and Tony Dow guest starred on My Three Sons. Jerry played Robbie and Katie's neighbor and Tony played a guest named Gilbert in the B&W era.
Runeshaper 11 months ago
GREAT article, MeTV! Thanks for sharing (-:
tootsieg 11 months ago
I enjoy the “What Ever Happened to ……..” stories. Thanks for the info.
Bapa1 11 months ago
Billingsley, Dow and Mathers all appeared in the movie 'Back to the Beach' and on a Love Boat.
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