The very much alive Jerry Mathers said that the rumor he had died was the result of a mix-up

"The rumors of my death were premature."

NBC/Universal

What is it about wholesome family shows that makes people want to come up with horrifying rumors about them? Over the last few decades, it feels like every few years someone makes up a rumor that some famous child star has met a dismal end, has become a criminal, or something else even more outlandish. Before the internet, these claims were pretty difficult to verify, and therefore, some of them became as integral to the television shows they focused on as any cast member or season premiere.

Every now and again, however, an actor rises from the so-called dead to dispel these rumors. An example of this was one Jerry Mathers, who you most likely knew and loved as The Beaver in Leave It to Beaver. Apparently, there was a rumor that after the show had ended, Mathers had sadly passed away.

Mathers discussed the rumor in the introduction of The World According to Beaver by Irwyn Applebaum, Mathers wrote, "One of the other things Beaver did for me was to get me killed. Well, not quite, for like Mark Twain, the rumors of my death were premature."

It turned out that while Mathers actually did serve in Vietnam, the rumor wasn't the result of any malicious gossip; rather, it was a mix-up.

Mathers explained, "I was in the Air National Guard during the Vietnam War. The wire services were in the habit of scouring the casualty list for names from different areas, and somebody saw my name, or a name similar to mine, and reported that I had been killed in action, which then got picked up in the news media."

The actor continued, "Rest assured, though, that I am still very much alive and so is the Beaver. I'm a people-oriented person so I get a lot of pleasure going out and meeting people during my personal appearances and hearing of all the enjoyment they have gotten and still get from Leave It to Beaver."

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6 Comments

Bapa1 1 month ago
"Gee, Wally, I'm dead, isn't that neat?
justjeff 1 month ago
"...Well, not quite, for like Mart Twain, the rumors of my death were premature."

MART Twain... is he related to BARK Simpson, MART Carney or MARK Linkletter? Another day, another MeTV writer's typographical blunder... but I tell ya...they're fun to find and pick on them about!😛
JHP 1 month ago
I thought he passed in a tea or coffee cup:)
seltaeb JHP 1 month ago
I think he drowned in a soup bowl.
cperrynaples 1 month ago
The rumor wasn't spread on the Internet but by Johnny Carson! Shelly Winters told that story on The Tonight Show not knowing it was false!
FrankensteinLover 2 months ago
Try to meet him As much as Possible, he is wonderful as is the show.
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