Best Known For
Former child star Jerry Mathers is best known for playing the role of Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver from 1957-1963 on the series Leave It to Beaver.
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Mathers was the first child actor to receive royalties from merchandizing the show. After graduation from college, he was able to parlay his well-invested earnings into successful banking and real estate businesses and later charities. But he didn’t leave show business for long. In 1983, he reprised his role of "the Beaver" along with original cast members Billingsley, Tony Dow and Ken Osmond (who played friend and sometime irritant Eddie Haskell).
Hugh Beaumont, who had played Beaver’s father,
Ward Cleaver, had died in 1982. The made for television movie entitled Still the Beaver was later made into a television/cable sitcom The New Leave it to Beaver that ran from 1985-'89. In the late 1990s, Mathers owned and operated a successful catering company in Santa Clara, California. During this time, Mathers married and divorced twice and fathered three children -- son Noah and daughters Mercedes and Gretchen -- with his second wife, Rhonda.
In 1996, Mathers was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes after he noticed some health problems. He took preventative action, dropped 55 pounds, and put himself on a diet and exercise regimen. He became a spokesperson for the disease speaking before various groups and testifying before Congress to bring awareness to children and adults about the growing problem of diabetes.
In 2007, Mathers made his Broadway debut starring as Wilbur Turnblad in the Tony-winning best musical Hairspray. Though first seen as a casting gimmick, Mathers proved to be quite an asset to the show not only increasing attendance the first week, but also playing for standing room only houses during the rest of his run in the role.
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