Gerald Patrick "Jerry" Mathers (born June 2, 1948) made a guest appearance as a fictionalized version of himself in the Season 5 episode of MWC titled "You Better Shop Around, Part II". Jerry is best known for his role in the television sitcom series Leave It to Beaver (1957-1963), in which he played Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver, the younger son of archetypal suburban couple June and Ward Cleaver (played by Barbara Billingsley and Hugh Beaumont), and the brother of Wally Cleaver (played by Tony Dow).

Early acting careerEdit

Mathers was born in Sioux City, Iowa, the son of a high school principal. He has two younger siblings, Susie and Jim Mathers, who also became child actors. Mathers began his career at the age of 2 when he appeared as a child model for a department store ad. Soon after, he starred in a commercial for PET Milk opposite vaudeville comedian Ed Wynn.[1]

His early movies included This is My Love (1954), Men of the Fighting Lady (1954), The Seven Little Foys (1955) and The Trouble with Harry (1955).

Leave It to BeaverEdit

Jerry reportedly got the role of Beaver Cleaver when he told the show's producers he would rather be at his Cub Scout meeting than auditioning for the part. The producers found his candidness appealing and perfect for the role. Mathers played the Beaver for six years, appearing in all 234 episodes of the series. He was the first child actor ever to make a deal to get a percentage of the merchandising revenue from a television show. The Leave It to Beaver show still generates merchandise revenue today, 48 years after its original production run ended.

The original sitcom has been shown in over 80 countries in 40 languages. Jerry has noted that the Leave It to Beaver phenomenon is worldwide. "I can go anywhere in the world, and people know me," Mathers has said. "In Japan the show’s called 'The Happy Boy and His Family.' So I’ll be walking through the airport in Japan, and people will come up and say, 'Hi, Happy Boy!'"[2]


In 1962, near the end of the run of Leave It to Beaver, Mathers recorded two songs for a single 45rpm: "Don't 'Cha Cry", a retread of "Spanish Harlem" and for the flip side, the twist ditty, "Wind-Up Toy". During his high school years, Mathers had a band called Beaver and the Trappers.[3]

Later careerEdit

As he moved into his teenage years, Mathers retired from acting to concentrate on high school. He attended Notre Dame High School, in Sherman Oaks, CA. While he was still in high school, Mathers joined the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He appeared as a presenter at the 1967 Emmy Awards ceremony in his dress uniform. After graduating high school in 1967, Mathers continued to serve in the Reserve and made the rank of Sergeant. In December 1969, a rumor began that Mathers was killed in action in the Vietnam War. Although the origin of the rumor is unclear, Mathers never saw action and was never stationed outside of the United States. Years later, in 1980, Mathers and Dow appeared with Bill Murray on Saturday Night Live|Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update segment, making fun of the Vietnam War death rumor.[4]

Mathers later attended the University of California-Berkeley, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy in 1973. He then worked as a commercial loan officer at a bank before using well-invested savings from his acting career, which began at $500 a week,[5] to begin a career in real-estate development. In 1978, he reentered the entertainment industry. That year, he and Tony Dow starred in the play Boeing, Boeing which ran for ten weeks in Kansas City. Mathers and Dow then toured the dinner theater circuit in a production of So Long, Stanley for 18 months. In 1981, he worked as a disc jockey at KEZY-AM radio in Anaheim, California.

In 1983, Mathers reprised his role in the television reunion film Still the Beaver, which also featured the majority of the original Leave It to Beaver cast. The success of the television film led to the development of a sequel series of the same name. The series began airing on the Disney Channel in 1984, then went on to be picked up by TBS and broadcast syndication, where it was retitled The New Leave It to Beaver and ran until 1989.

Mathers has since continued his career in films and television roles. In the 1990s, he guest starred on episodes of Parker Lewis Can't Lose, Vengeance Unlimited, and Diagnosis Murder. In 1998, Mathers released his memoirs, And Jerry Mathers as The Beaver. On June 5, 2007, he made his Broadway debut with a starring role as Wilbur Turnblad in the Tony winning best musical Hairspray at the Neil Simon Theater.

Other venturesEdit

In addition to acting, Mathers has also owned and operated a catering business and has done commercial work for national and regional spots for advertisers such as PET Condensed Milk, Kellogg’s (he and Tony Dow were the first non-athletes on a box of corn flakes), General Electric, Purina, Kern International, Chevrolet, Toyota, General Mills, AOL, Coca Cola, Jim Beam and Biogen.

In 2009, Mathers became the national spokesman for PhRMA and their Partnership for Prescription Assistance program. The organization helps uninsured and financially struggling patients obtain prescription medicines.[6]

Personal lifeEdit

Mathers has been married three times. He met his first wife, Diana Platt, in college. They married in 1974 and later divorced. He then met his second wife, Rhonda Gehring, while touring in the production of So Long, Stanley. They have three children, a son (Noah) and two daughters (Mercedes and Gretchen). Mathers and Gehring later divorced. e then married his third wife, Teresa Modnick, in Huntington Beach on January 30, 2011.[7]


Mathers was diagnosed with Diabetes in 1996.[8] On the advice of his doctor, Mathers enrolled in a weight loss program with Jenny Craig in May 1997 and lost over 40 pounds. He later became the first male spokesperson for Jenny Craig.


  • And Jerry Mathers as The Beaver; Mathers, Jerry and Fagen, Herb; Berkley Trade (1998)


  1. Interview with Jerry Mathers: 'I've Had a Charmed Life'. Retrieved on February 20, 2013.
  2. Robertson, Campbell (June 5, 2007). And Jerry Mathers as ... Tracy Turnblad’s Father?. Retrieved on February 20, 2013.
  3. Hammer, Josh (February 7, 1983). Still the Beaver After 20 Years, Jerry Mathers Joins Tony Dow for a Bittersweet Return to Mayfield People. ISSN# 0093-7673
  4. Saturday Night Live Transcripts, Rodney Dangerfield, 03/08/80.
  5. Lamparski, Richard (1982). pp. 200–1. Crown Publishers. ISBN 0-517-54855-0.
  6. Pulliam, John R. (April 6, 2009). ‘The Beav’ pitches prescription assistance. Retrieved on February 20, 2013.
  7. Bersebach, Paul (January 30, 2011). 'Leave it to Beaver' star gets hitched in H.B.. Retrieved on February 20, 2013.
  8. Jerry Mathers Leaves it to Weight Loss to Control His Diabetes

External linksEdit