Jerry Mathers wasn't recognized as The Beaver by other children

Though he was famous as The Beaver, children recognized him as plain old Jerry Mathers.

Forget child star, Jerry Mathers would have been considered a baby star with his filmography. With an acting career that began when he was just two years old, Mathers might have been more famous as a child than he is today as an adult. Strangely enough, however, Mathers didn't have a particularly large amount of fans who were children during his time playing The Beaver in Leave It to Beaver.

In an interview with the Gannett News Service, Mathers said, "To be honest, as a kid, not that many people recognized me. Leave It To Beaver was primarily an adult show, so most of the people that were kids had never really seen it." 

"The fans of Leave it to Beaver are real, real nice. I know a lot of rock groups have —  I wouldn't say violent fans exactly, but something like that  — but Leave it to Beaver fans are like people you went to high school with. They come up to me and ask 'Hey, how's Wally and how's Eddie' and sometimes they ask me for my autograph."

In an article written by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Mathers also revealed that his casting as the show's protagonist wasn't as random and serendipitous as it might seem. Even as a small boy, Mathers had earned a reputation in show business for being a respectable and reliable child actor. 

He stated, "Leave It To Beaver was a great show and we did it in the days of live television when there was no such thing as a re-take. That's actually one of the reasons why I got cast as The Beaver. There were only a few of us kids whom the network trusted when it came to commercials and television shows."

Mathers continued, "The producers and directors wanted to work with kids who could be counted on to remember and deliver lines reliably, kids who wouldn't freeze up on the air or wet their snow pants. I was luckily one of those reliable kids and I got a lot of work."

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6 Comments

WordsmithWorks 14 days ago
It was probably good for Mathers to be treated as just Jerry by his peers. Unfortunately, the public probably had a hard time looking past the Beaver in other roles.
HGN2001 14 days ago
I think I accidentally voted wrong. I was just scrolling the screen and it registered my vote. So if Bunker is the winner by one vote, then it really DIDN'T win.
Runeshaper 14 days ago
Reliability paid off, literally and figuratively!
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