Jerry Mathers had no trouble adjusting to normal teen life after Leave It to Beaver

After his run on the hit family friendly series, Mathers played football, joined the service, went to college and even dabbled in real estate.

Jerry Mathers will always be best known for his timeless role of Theodore Beaver Cleaver. After six years on Leave It to Beaver, Mathers was 14 years old and ready to start high school. 

He was a child actor and, because of the show's popularity throughout its run on television, he was a celebrity. There have always been stories about successful child actors who struggle transitioning to a more "normal" life after a series or movie wraps. That wasn't the case for Mathers. 

He did several things to keep busy and keep a good head on his shoulders. In 1963, when Leave It to Beaver finished, Mathers went to high school and did all the things other kids did at that age. 

According to a 1982 Daily Herald-Tribune newspaper article, Mathers joined his high school football team. He went out for it like everyone else, and made the team like everyone else.

The article states Mathers played center and linebacker, even though he wasn't the biggest kid on the team. He had a solid group of friends, which was a big part of his transition from the TV world. 

"I thought of trying to keep up with football," Mathers said. "Until my senior year, when a big freshman really knocked me around on the practice field one day. So I realized I'd better find something else."

According to the article, that "big freshman" turned out to be John Vella, who would go on to play a couple years as an offensive lineman in the National Football League, specifically for the Oakland Raiders. 

When football didn't pan out, Mathers enlisted in the Air Force, keeping his uniform on for six years. Still, something was missing. 

"I had always wanted to go to college," he said. "I had been a good student so, after I left the service, I went to the University of California at Berkeley, and I majored in philosophy." 

During his time in school, Mathers started "playing around with investments" at a Berkeley bank. So much so, the personnel at the bank got to know him and even offered him a job, one he took. Dealing with big amounts of money for three years, Mathers learned some of the biggest transactions involved real estate. 

He then dabbled in real estate and "even owned a pawnshop," according to a 2002 Orlando Sentinel article

Acting eventually came calling again for Mathers, as he appeared in an episode of The Love Boat along with the reboot The New Leave It to Beaver, beginning in 1983. 

Despite being one of the most recognizable child stars television has ever seen, Jerry Mathers grew up like so many other kids his age, and led a life that made him "very happy."

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wallyandbagfan 1 month ago
Moe Howard Larry FINE Curly Howard Shemp Howard and
Joe Besser all edited together for the big pie fight .
wallyandbagfan 1 month ago
I Love Lucy PIE FIGHT.
wallyandbagfan 1 month ago
The PIE THROWING Scenes from
The Little Rascals short Shivering
Shakespeare !!
Adanor 1 month ago
Jerry Mather's seamless transition into adulthood probably was due to the hard work of his parents and the show's producers who made sure that he was allowed to be a child when he was not on camera. Yes, this is a very odd concept. Why shouldn't a child actor be allowed to be a child when off camera? Actually, many are not and they are the ones that end up in all sorts of trouble as adults. It was good to hear that Jerry Mathers was able to have a good life.
wallyandbagfan 1 month ago
RASCALS WITH the Little Rascals-
Our Gang Theme Song which is one the
Best Instrumental songs of ALL TIME .
METV Please bring The Little Rascals and Laurel And HARDY to METV s
daDoctah wallyandbagfan 1 month ago
Both are on MeTV+ under the heading "Comedy Classics", which also includes the Three Stooges.
wallyandbagfan 1 month ago
Kurt Russell was also a child actor.
One of his roles was the Jungle Boy
On Gilligan's Island.
wallyandbagfan 1 month ago
Other Child Actors
Ann Barnes child actress and singer.
She played Cookie Bumstead on
Blondie in 1957
Ann Jillian child actress and pop singer.
She played Cassie Cranston in the sitcom in the 1980s called It's A Living.
Stephen Talbot (Gilbert on Leave It To
Beaver ) was the son of actor Lyle Talbot.
Child actors Buddy Hart (Chester Anderson)and Tiger Fafara (Tooey Brown ) both on Leave It To Beaver.
Stuffy Singer played Alexander Bumstead on Blondie 1957 had a successful sports career later on.
BLONDIE came back to TV in 1968 with
Pamela Ferdin as Cookie and Peter
Robbins as Alexander Bumstesd .
Child actor Larry Simms played Alexander Bumstead AKA Baby Dumpling in the 1940s Blondie movies.
I wonder whatever happened to :
Rusty Stevens who played Larry Mondello on Leave It To Beaver.
David Hennesy who played David Collins on Dark SHADOWS.
Sharon Smyth who played Sarah Collins on Dark SHADOWS.
Denise Nickerson who played Amy
Jennings on Dark SHADOWS.
Also Michael Winkleman who played
Little Luke on The Real McCoys and
Erin Moran (Joanie on Happy Days and
Heather O 'Rourke TV and movie actress and recently Lisa Loring who played
Wednesday Addams on The Addams
Family all gone too soon.
Anissa Jones Buffy on Family Affair
passed away at age 18.
I would also like to Remember
Ken Osmond (Eddie Haskell ) and
Frank Bank who played Lumpy Rutherford both on Leave It To
Beaver..Both child actors Ken Osmond starting acting at age 4 and Im not sure what Frank Bank?Lumpy ) did before Leave It To Beaver.
Also I know that Michael J Fox has had a successful movie career after playing Alex Keaton on Family Ties but whatever happened to Justine
Bateman (Mallory ) and Tina Yothers (Jennifer Keaton ) on
Family Ties and whatever happened to high school students Moose played by Barry Greenberg Bag Zombroski played by Neil J Schwartz Randolph Roberts who played Chuck Cunningham
Denis Mandel who played Eugene
Belvin Scott Bernstein who played
Melvin Belvin and Cathy SILVERS who all played students on
Happy Days. Also I wonder whatever happened to Ricky Allen who played SUDSY PFEIFFER on My 3 Sons Kathy Garver who played
Cissy on Family Affair and what did
Skip Young do after he played Wally
Plumstead on The ADVENTURES of Ozzie and Harriet. Also whatever happened to Joey Scott who played
Bengie on Leave It Ti Beaver and
Richard Keith who played Little
Ricky on I Love Lucy. Also whatever happened to David Faustino (Bud ) and Christina Applegate (Kelly )on
Married With Children and
Billy Gray (Bud Anderson ) and
Lauren Chapin (Kathy Anderson )
On Father Knows Best and
Frankie Muniz who played Malcolm on theFOX sitcom Malcolm In The
Middle. Two actors played Chris
Partridge on The Partridge Family.
daDoctah wallyandbagfan 1 month ago
Gone *way* too soon:

Billy "Froggy" Laughlin of the Little Rascals, died at age 16 when he was hit by a truck while delivering papers on his motor scooter.

J Madison Wright of the TV series "Earth-2" and the movie "Shiloh", of a heart attack a week before her 21st birthday.

Rebecca Schaeffer of "My Sister Sam", shot and killed at age 21 by a stalker fan.
wallyandbagfan daDoctah 1 month ago
I have a book called The Little Rascals The Life And Times Of
Our Gang written by Leonard
Maltin and Richard W. Bann published by Three Rivers Press.
I've had this Little Rascals book for several years and I think that I bought this book at Barnes And
Noble. If you decide to buy this
Little Rascals book from Barnes And Noble I think that you will enjoy this book.
Also I hope that someone decides to write a book on the major and
Minor characters on the TV show
Happy Days including lots of trivia information about the show and biographies of the entire cast of
Happy Days. I would like to read about Ron Howard (Richie) Henry
Winkler (Fonzie ) Anson Williams
(POTSIE) Donny Most (Ralph ) and
Ted McGinley (Roger Phillips ) and
Cathy SILVERS (Jenny Piccalo (.
I would also like to read about minor cast members of Happy Days: Bag (Neil J Schwartz)
Chuck Cunningham Gavan O'Herlihy and Randolph Roberts and Moose
Barry Greenberg Eugene Belvin Denis Mandel Melvin Belvin Scott Bernstein Spike Danny Butch and Marsha SIMMS Beatrice Colen Wendy MISTY ROWE and Daphne played by Hillary Horan.
I also hope that someone writes a book about The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet including information about Rick Nelson and Skip Young who played Wally Plumstead.
wallyandbagfan daDoctah 1 month ago
The book called The Little Rascals:
The Life And Times Of Our Gang
By Leonard Malton and Richard W.
Bann lists all of the episodes of The
Little Rascalsplus descriptions of all the episodes.
Tragedy Aldo struck Wheeezer Darla Hood Tommy Bond (Butch) and ALFALFA.
tboner58 1 month ago
Nice. Has anyone noticed that in a few episodes of LITB there are 3 horseshoes on the wall in the boys room? There was also a note pinned to the wall above the top horseshoe. Just wondering what that was for…..
Bapa1 tboner58 1 month ago
The note said: "Stay on your marks and don't forget your lines!"
tootsieg 1 month ago
Nice to read about a child actor from the Golden Age of TV leading a normal, every day life.
wallyandbagfan tootsieg 1 month ago
Tony Dow also led a good life.
CoreyC 1 month ago
Only Ron Howard and Jodie Foster had successful careers after being child actors. Then there was tragic cases Rusty Hamer and Anissa Jones aka Buffy of Family Affair. The Coogan Law protected their finances and Paul Petersen For Your Consideration protected their mental health after their careers ended.
Load previous comments
Bapa1 wallyandbagfan 1 month ago
Instead of Spanky, are you thinking of Mickey? (Robert Blake).
daDoctah CoreyC 1 month ago
The other Jackie from the Little Rascals, Jackie Cooper, did pretty well for himself after growing up. So did former child star Dean Stockwell. Can also make a strong case for Sarah Polley and Kirsten Dunst.
Nala92129 Bapa1 1 month ago
He had a right!
Nala92129 CoreyC 1 month ago
"A MINOR Consideration."
Bapa1 1 month ago
Cool article, seems like a good guy. I remember him doing a cameo in Batman, and he did a My Three Sons. He was hilarious in an episode of Married With Children playing himself, and he played a surfing judge in the movie 'Back to the Beach'.
wallyandbagfan Bapa1 1 month ago
And Jerry Mathers wss in the reunion movie Still The Beaver and
the TV show The New Leave It To
Beaver. Tony Dow (Wally on LITB)
acted in at least one soap opera
but I can't remember the name ofthe soap opera.
Andybandit 1 month ago
That was great. At least Jerry didn't get into trouble or do drugs, and drink alcohol. Like a lot of child actors and actresses do.
Probably the same for Ron Howard, and some others. But there was more than alcohol or drugs to bedevil ex-child actors. Violence (assault, murder), or mental health issues over lack of future work (Jay North, as "Dennis The Menace") who almost committed suicide, as Rusty Hamer ("Make Room For Daddy") did on Jan. 18, 1990, at only 42. Rusty's shocking suicide prompted Paul Peterson ("Jeff Stone" on "The Donna Reed Show") to start his "A Minor Consideration" program to help ex-child actors cope as adults.
Paul Petersen (sp fix) is now 77 (Sep. 23, 1945), and Jay North (Aug. 3, 1951) is 71.
I wonder when Jon Provost of
Lassie was born and what he did after he left Lassie.
MadMadMadWorld 1 month ago
Jerry was 15, not 14 (error caught!), when the series ended on the last airdate: June 20, 1963. He was born on June 2, 1948. Now 74.
Air dates don't necessarily coincide with the date it was filmed. The production codes for the last season vary greatly. There is a possibility that the episode was filmed well in advance of Mather's 15 birthday. Not disputing what you read for the air date (As that schedule is readily available). What is not so easy to find, (if it is available anywhere, or at all?), would be the filming schedule.
So it may be an error, but then again it may not be.
JERRY6 1 month ago
Good to read a positive story about a child actor from the past .
Pacificsun 1 month ago
He had a couple of things going for him. One was, they weren't allowed to want to the Series itself, so as not to become self-conscious. He already had the experience before LITB. And the right roles were chosen for him. His father was a high school principal and later a school administrator in L.A. And siblings (in show business) maybe helped them identify with one another. And it's been written that he shared responsibilities at home like any family. His background assumes his natural curiosity and capability. Given a knack for (and confidence) trying new things. He's said that he was never treated differently in high school for playing that role.

IMO, such talented youthful actors are intuitive enough to make use of the right kind of influence in their lives (like Ronny Howard). Smart and ambitious enough to put advantages and opportunity to good use.

But it's nice to read and hear in interviews, his appreciation for fans. And the long-standing perception of his humility.

Very nice article MeTV Staff writers. Always wonderful to read something so inspiring! Thank you.
FrankensteinLover 1 month ago
Have always been a Fan of Jerry aka Beaver, Ron Howard aka Opie, and Butch Patrick aka Eddie. Just Wonder if they ever crossed Paths
Richard Keith (Keith Thibodoux his stage name),, played "Little Ricky" on "I Love Lucy". He appeared with Ron Howard on 13 "TAGS" episodes (1962-66), 12 times as 'Johnny Paul'. First time in 1962 in "One Punch Opie" episode. There are two of the most famous child actors, one appearing the other's tv series! Richard Keith (Dec. 1, 1950) is now 72, and Ron is now 68 (Mar. 1, 1954)
Yes, and for the record, Jerry NEVER played Little Ricky! There was a dream sequence where a boy who looked like him played the character!
Butch Patrick aka Eddie had crossed paths with Billy Mumy on The Munsters and Barry Livingston aka Ernie Douglas on My Three Sons.
I wonder whatever happened to child actor Danny Butch who played Spike on Happy Days and
Lydia Reed who played Hassie on
The Real McCoys and Candy Moore who played Chris Carmichael on The Lucy Show and Ann Marshall who played ANGELA BROWN on My
Favorite Martian for 3 episodes ONLY before Angela Brown vanished from My Favorite Martian with no explanation. Angela Brown Syndrome?
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