Jerry Mathers once said that Tony Dow was more like the Beaver than he was

The on-screen brothers were really nothing like their characters.

NBC/Universal

Not every actor is exactly like the character they play on television. For example, Jerry Mathers made a name for himself in adolescence as Theodore "The Beaver" Cleaver on the series, Leave It To Beaver. However, according to an interview with the Mount Vernon Argus, Mathers revealed that he was actually nothing like the character he had become famous for. 

Mathers confessed that "Beaver is the writer's invention. He's a totally different person." 

In fact, Mathers revealed that his on-screen brother, Tony Dow, best known for playing Wally Cleaver, bore more of a resemblance to the Beaver than Mathers ever did. The actor stated, "It's funny because Tony, in a lot of ways, might be closer to The Beaver. He has been an artist."

However, Mathers was still closely associated with his character, even after the original Leave It To Beaver had ended and he had grown up. Mathers stated that when he got a job as a loan officer later in his adult life, some customers who came to him immediately assumed he'd be a pushover, simply because they remembered him as the naive and innocent Theodore.

Mathers stated, "People would come to me and think, 'Oh, it's The Beaver. I'm going to push this loan on him.' It didn't work that way."

Of his character, Dow also acknowledged that they were more different than you might think. He said, "Wally is much more conservative. He's a neat guy, a nice, likable, honest guy who's there when people need him...I tend to be honest and loyal. But I'm a younger brother instead of an older brother."

The actor reasoned, "Wally is so much more conservative, more solid. I live in a small place with my wife. We don't have dinner at the same time every night. I don't fit into the stereotypical father type of role. I'm more of a friend with my son."

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6 Comments

Lorrielynn 1 month ago
I met Tony Dow and had a brief conversation. He was polite and very easy going. Like Wally. I am glad Jerry wasn't like the Beaver, cause Beaver was the biggest liar on TV. All through the series. Also, I don't get what eating at same time every night has to do with anything.
Earlbob1117 Lorrielynn 19 days ago
I had a friend (this is in the 1960's) who's father insisted that the family eat every night at precisely 5:15. If you were one minute late, you had to sit there until everyone else was done, then you could (cold by now) eat your dinner. Also as punishment of being one minute late, you had to clear the table and wash and dry all the dinnerware.
McGillahooala 1 month ago
I’m not sure how being an artist or eating off schedule relate to getting into mischief, which I guess is what is being implied, but whatever.
I don’t get the connection.
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