Jerry Mathers went to college to prove that actors weren't all dimwitted

Mathers studied hard to prove people wrong.

NBC/Universal

The terms "actor" and "intellectual" are often thought to be mutually exclusive. However, just because someone makes a living as a performer doesn't mean they don't value their academic pursuits.

From the time that he was a child, Jerry Mathers won audiences' hearts everywhere as Theodore Cleaver of Leave It To Beaver. It was a role that would prove lucrative, as Mathers would be associated with the character for the rest of his career.

However, once filming wrapped on Leave It To Beaver and Mathers was left to his own devices, he decided that he might further himself through education and apply to college. According to an interview with The Los Angeles Times, Mathers wasn't just going to school to better himself; he was also doing it to prove his naysayers wrong.

"I'd been told that actors all were stupid, so I drew up a list of the best schools in the country and decided I'd go to Harvard or Berkeley," said Mathers, who was accepted at Berkeley. "That was the biggest break of my life."

While Beaver could be a little bit naive and clueless on the series, Mathers was anything but. According to the article, he majored in philosophy at university, a prestigious major that lent little aid to him shedding his "Beaver" persona. "People think it's funny," Mathers said. "They ask me my philosophy, and I tell them I'm a pragmatic."

Mathers eventually returned to acting, but expressed a fondness for his time in school, both high school and college, because it allowed him to feel like every other normal kid. "I wanted to go to high school and be a regular kid," Mathers said. "It was great. All of a sudden, I had friends on the football team and did the same things as everybody else."

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13 Comments

tootsieg 12 days ago
Kudos to Jerry Mathers for wanting to go to a regular high school and graduating college. He got off the acting merry-go-round and did something else. He went back to acting but on his terms.
BorisK 14 days ago
I haven't met a smart college graduate in a very long time.
Coldnorth BorisK 11 days ago
My Son is pretty smart
McGillahooala 14 days ago
Glad he could prove actors aren’t all stupid. Besides him there are at least a couple of others also.
trogg888 14 days ago
I was a theater major in college and all the theater majors were some of the brightest people I knew.i don't know where he got the idea that actors were stupid.i held down a full time job and made the deanslistseveral times.and I had the lead role in several productions I had to put in lots of extra hours outside of class memorizing lines and rehearsing.
Avie 15 days ago
"They ask me my philosophy, and I tell them I'm a pragmatic."

That's either I'm pragmatic (adjective, no article "a"), or I'm a pragmatist (noun).
LoveMETV22 Avie 13 days ago
The sentence should read You're a pedant, or You're pedantic.
JJ614 15 days ago
I think it's just the opposite. When I see how many lines actors have to memorize AND act with them, they seem pretty brilliant to me.
ecarfar JJ614 13 days ago
You're confusing a good memory with being smart.
markomalley 15 days ago
Never knew. Good for him. Berkeley is a top notch university and quite difficult to get accepted. Learn something new every day. Jerry is a great actor, a natural.
Bapa1 18 days ago
Beaver: "Gee. Wally, what's Phil-losophy?" Wally: "Heck, Beav, it's when you sit around and think a lot about junk and stuff." Beaver: Gee Whiz Wally, I do that all the time!"
LoveMETV22 18 days ago
From what has been published Mr. Mathers had a rewarding career even prior to LITB. Don't feel he had anything to prove to anyone. Would be cool if MeTV could arrange an up-to-date interview with him.That's of course with his willingness to do such.
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