Jerry Mathers Biography
Sun Sign: Gemini
Also Known As: Gerald Patrick Jerry Mathers
Born in: Sioux City, Iowa
Famous as: Actor
Spouse/Ex-: Teresa Modnick (m. 2011), Diana Piatt (m. 1974–1982), Rhonda Mathers (m. ?–1997)
siblings: Jim Mathers, Susie Mathers
children: Gretchen Mathers, Mercedes Mathers, Noah Mathers
U.S. State: Iowa
Gerald Patrick ‘Jerry’ Mathers is an American actor well known for a variety of roles on television, film, and stage. A former child star, he became popular for portraying the role of Theodore ‘Beaver’ Cleaver in the TV series ‘Leave It to Beaver’ for six seasons. He played the younger son of the suburban couple June and Ward Cleaver, and the brother of Wally Cleaver. The series was broadcast in more than 80 countries in 40 languages. Mathers developed a strong personal relationship with his co-stars Tony Dow, who played his brother, and Barbara Billingsley, who played his mother. He was close to Billingsley until her death in 2010. After the show ended, Mathers attended high school and also served in the Air Force National Guard, where he was mistakenly reported as killed in the Vietnam War. Following his return to civilian life, he went to college to complete his education. He then explored a few business venues; he owned and operated a catering company in California and was involved in real estate business for a while. However, he was soon back in the entertainment business when he reprised his role of ‘Beaver’ along with most of the original cast members in the TV reunion film, ‘Still the Beaver.’
- Jerry Mathers was born on June 2, 1948 in Sioux City, Iowa to Norm and Marilyn Mathers. His father was the principal of a high school and later became a school district executive in Los Angeles. Mathers grew up in Rock Rapids near Los Angeles, California. He has a younger sister, Susie Mathers McSweeney, and a younger brother Jimmy Mathers, who were both child actors.
- Mathers did a commercial for a department store when he was a two-year-old. He also acted in a PET milk commercial with comedian Ed Wynn. This opened up opportunities for him to get roles in TV series and films.
- Jerry Mathers debuted in films when he was four. In 1952, he appeared in the film ‘Son of Paleface’ and in 1954, he was seen in ‘Men of the Fighting Lady’ and ‘This Is My Love.’ He appeared in ‘The Seven Little Foys’ and Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Trouble with Harry’ in 1955. He played Norman Taylor in the 1956 film ‘That Certain Feeling’. In that year, he also played Freddie in the film ‘Bigger Than Life’.
- On television, he found roles in ‘The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet’ in 1952; ‘I Love Lucy’ in 1953; ‘Lux Video Theatre’, ‘General Electric Theater’, and ‘Matinee Theater’ in 1955. In 1956, he was featured in ‘Screen Directors Playhouse’.
- In 1957, he bagged his breakthrough role in the show ‘Leave It to Beaver’. He once stated in an interview that he earned the role of Beaver Cleaver because the producers of the show liked his outspoken and sincere nature, which was apt for the role. He played the role in the show for six years and appeared in all 234 episodes of the series. He became the first child actor to get a share of the merchandising revenue from a television show. The show generated merchandise revenue for many years even after it ended.
- While doing ‘Leave It to Beaver’, he also appeared in the 1957 film ‘The Shadow on the Window’, where he played Petey Atlas. He played Steve Innes in the 1958 film ‘The Deep Six’.
- In 1962, when ‘Leave It to Beaver’ was about to end, he recorded two songs, ‘Don't 'Cha Cry,’ and ‘Wind-Up Toy’. After the show ended, he left behind his acting career for a few years and attended Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California. He formed a band, the Beaver and the Trappers, during this time.
- While in high school he joined the United States Air Force Reserve and continued to serve there even after he graduated from high school in 1967. Later he rose to the rank of sergeant.
- In 1973, he attended the University of California, Berkeley and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy. After he graduated, he joined a bank as a commercial loan officer. He also started a real estate business with the royalty money he used to get every week.
- In 1978, he returned to show business and was featured in a comedy play ‘Boeing, Boeing’ in Kansas City. In 1981, he joined KEZY-AM radio in Anaheim, California as a disc jockey.
- In 1983, he reprised his role of Beaver Cleaver in the television reunion film ‘Still the Beaver’, along with the original cast members. The television film was followed by a sequel series of the same name. The series was first aired on the Disney Channel and later on TBS, where it was renamed ‘The New Leave It to Beaver’.
- Jerry Mathers played Baron Hardup in ‘Cinderella’, a pantomime directed by Bonnie Lythgoe. It was a theatrical entertainment show which involved music, jokes, and comedy. He became the first and only actor to ever star in a professional British pantomime performed in the United States.
- He made his first Broadway appearance in June 2007 with the musical ‘Hairspray’ at the Neil Simon Theater. In 2008, he portrayed Mr. Simpson in the film ‘Will to Power’ and appeared in the TV movie ‘Mother Goose Parade’ directed by Jillian Hanson-Cox.
- 'Leave It to Beaver’, the popular television sitcom, was Jerry Mathers’ best work in his career as a child artist. He did the show for six seasons. It was shown in many countries besides the United States and Mathers became popular in these countries as well. He played an inquisitive yet innocent boy Theodore ‘The Beaver’ Cleaver. The show revolved around his adventures at home, in school, and in his suburban neighborhood.
- The television movie, ‘Still the Beaver’, was another one of his significant works. The success of the movie led to the development of the new TV series ‘The New Leave It to Beaver’, which was aired in several major countries. He also directed some of the episodes.
- In 1984, Jerry Mathers won the Young Artist Award in the category Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award for ‘Leave It to Beaver’.
- People Magazine named him as one of the most well known individuals in television history.
- Jerry Mathers married Diana Platt in 1974. After their divorce, he married Rhonda Gehring in 1977. They have three children—one son Noah, and two daughters, Mercedes and Gretchen. Years after he and Gehring divorced in 1997, he married Teresa Modnick on January 30, 2011.
- In 1998, he published his memoirs, ‘And Jerry Mathers as The Beaver’.
- He was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 1996. After learning to manage the condition, he became a spokesperson for creating awareness about the disease. He speaks at different groups and even urged the Congress to spread awareness about diabetes.
- He did a DVD on diabetic neuropathy, which was distributed to patients at hospitals and clinics across the country. As a spokesperson for Barton Publishing, he encouraged people to manage their Type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise.
- In 2010, he was the national spokesperson for PhRMA and its Partnership for Prescription Assistance program and promoted the organization’s aim to help financially needy patients get medicines for free or at a discounted rate.
Jerry Mathers Movies
1. Bigger Than Life (1956)
2. The Trouble with Harry (1955)
3. Son of Paleface (1952)
(Comedy, Romance, Western)
4. The Seven Little Foys (1955)
(Musical, Comedy, Biography, Family, Drama)
5. That Certain Feeling (1956)
6. Better Luck Tomorrow (2002)
(Romance, Drama, Crime)
7. Men of the Fighting Lady (1954)
8. This Is My Love (1954)
How To Cite
People Also Viewed