Jerry Mathers developed diabetes during his time in catering
Cleaver Catering raised Beaver's blood sugar.
Sometimes, you're in a sitcom as a child that's so successful you get to star in a reboot decades later. Or maybe that's just the case for you if you're one Gerald "Jerry" Patrick Mathers, famous for playing young Theodore Cleaver on Leave It to Beaver. That show was so culturally significant that the character returned 20 years after it was canceled. The New Leave It to Beaver, while not as critically prestigious, was a big enough deal to last for four seasons and 101 episodes.
That newer spinoff wasn't just successful for the network. It also provided a fresh revenue stream for many stars of the original series. One such benefactor, Jerry Mathers, was thrilled for a steady income, having struggled for two decades to find regular work afterlife as the Beav.
In a 2015 interview with the Bristol Herald Courier, Mathers opened up about the success coming at a serious price.
"I began investing the money I earned from the show in various businesses, including a catering company," recalled Mathers.
That company, 'Cleaver Catering' featured the young Beaver's face slapped onto all its branding, including the side of company vans. But Mathers wasn't the little kid he used to be, and his metabolism aged with him.
"I had to demonstrate my products and would eat up to six extra meals a day and put on a lot of weight."
Luckily, with some timely intervention, a doctor put him on the right path towards weight loss and recovery. Mathers dropped over 50 pounds and shifted his priorities to focus on advocating for diabetes awareness.
"I don't have any agenda other than making people aware that they may be at risk," said Mathers. "Hopefully those that are will get a second chance like I did."