Hugh Beaumont said that acting in Leave It to Beaver was just like raising his own children

Between playing Ward Cleaver and raising his own children, Hugh Beaumont was the father of all fathers.

NBC/Universal

The saying is that "Art imitates life," but that's only if you're lucky. While melodrama has its time and place, the best television shows find the reality in their program and are able to ground their characters in something that goes beyond fiction. Leave It to Beaver was a perfect example of this.

Although the Cleaver family was fictional, and at times just a bit too perfect (We're looking at you, June) Leave It to Beaver portrayed childhood in a realistic manner, for the most part. Granted, not many of us adopted an alligator as children, but the misadventures that Wally and the Beav got up to were expected of children.

Series creators Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher obviously deserve some of this credit, and for good reason. Connelly had previously recounted that he often looked to his own children for inspiration when writing Leave It to Beaver plotlines. Because of that, Wally and Theodore were often living the escapades that real children did.

In an interview with the Record-Journal, Connelly spoke about his own personal experience, and how it influenced the show. "I've got seven kids, and Bob [Mosher] has two," he said. "There alone is a wealth of material."

Also assisting Leave It to Beaver's believability was the casting of both children and parents alike when creating the Cleaver Family. Tony Dow and Jerry Mathers were both children during the original filming of the show, while Hugh Beaumont and Barbara Billingsley had children of their own. When the two adults acted as June and Ward, it was almost muscle memory.

Hugh Beaumont, who played Ward Cleaver, emphasized this. "It's just like I was bringing up my own three youngsters," Beaumont said of playing the patriarch. "Beaver and Wally have the same problems they have or had. Sometimes I don't even think I need a script. It all sounds so familiar."

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14 Comments

mike23456 10 days ago
I continue to tune in to Leave It to Beaver... I also catch the New Leave It to Beaver whenever it's on TV. But the classic version will always hold a special place in my heart.
Inthe25th 10 days ago
Leave It To Beaver is what television should be.
Ready2go 10 days ago
Still watching after all these years. Larry and Judy Hensler are two favorites.
AnnieM 11 days ago
Maybe most of us didn't adopt a baby alligator, but I do remember seeing them in pet shops when I was a kid. But I think the oddest pets I ever saw in a pet shop were prairie dogs! By then I was a teen, and wondering how that could be legal, let alone what needed to be done to care for them properly.
MrsPhilHarris 13 days ago
I love that show. Especially the Larry-centric episodes.
cinamac MrsPhilHarris 10 days ago
Larry Mondello was my favorite character!
cinamac MrsPhilHarris 8 days ago
I loved Mrs. Mondello, too and always wished we could’ve seen Mr. Mondello, but, alas, he was always out-of-town, on business!!!😂🤣😅
MrsPhilHarris cinamac 8 days ago
Mrs. Mondello was a great character. I began to suspect that Mr. Mondello had a second family in Cincinnati. 🤭
cinamac MrsPhilHarris 7 days ago
Mr. Mondello…a bigamist in Mayfield!!!😅🤣😂
FrankensteinLover 13 days ago
Such a wonderful show and what a cast they had.
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