This ''Beaver'' star was an ordained minister

"I also explain in advance that there will be no autographs after the service."

Imagine reading lines from a script and from a Bible. That was the case for one famous face of TV yesteryear. While the glitz and glamour of Hollywood may seem like a far reach from the pulpit, one of the main cast members of Leave it To Beaver was also a preacher.

Hugh Beaumont, who starred as Ward Cleaver, father to Beaver and Wally, was also an ordained minister. While he was frequently tasked with delivering each episode's moral, Beaumont may have been a ringer for the job. Earlier in his life, Hugh Beaumont had plenty of experience conveying lessons in front of churches.

Fame, though, changed the way he'd approach a sermon. According to a 1961 interview in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, Beaumont struggled to continue with his ministry work after landing bigger parts in movies and TV.

"On the few occasions a year when I'm invited to preach," said Beaumont, "I always caution the minister not to introduce me." It seems a congregation able to put his name to his face may not have paid very close attention to his message. "I also explain in advance that there will be no autographs after the service."

Despite his legendary career in the pictures, Beaumont was first called to the ministry and only acted to supplement his theology studies. During the mid-1940s, Hugh Beaumont was attending the University of Southern California, earning his post-graduate degree. At the time, he would take acting gigs to be able to afford his continuing education. That work led to a contract with RKO, and before long, Beaumont found himself shifting his focus onto acting and away from ministerial duties. His profile steadily climbed with the seven Shayne pictures, in which he played detective Mike Shayne. Eventually, his career led him to Leave it To Beaver, a show praised for its morally upright messaging.

"Naturally, I'm glad that our TV series contributes to the welfare of family viewing. At least I hope it does," said Beaumont. "Sometimes I'm afraid we get a little too preachy."

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14 Comments

Gonzoman 10 months ago
I always say one of the best touching scenes came when Ward read an essay Beaver wrote about him...he didn't cry but he was getting there and June comforted him by touching his shoulder....it was great
KirwoodDerby 10 months ago
I always cringe when someone mentions the TV Guide ranking of the greatest tv dads. Ward finished with a respectable ranking but not high enough for me. There is no tv dad who did as many wonderful and loving acts as Ward Cleaver. I know that Hugh had lots of pull on LITB and made wonderful suggestions that often improved the show. I guess that's why I used the show as a guide for raising my sons. God truly blessed us all with Hugh Beaumont.
forthekids 10 months ago
Rev.Beaumont played a preacher on an episode of"The Lone Ranger"TV Show.
LalaLucy 10 months ago
Always loved knowing this about him. Added an extra layer to his performances. In watching him on LITB, I can well imagine he did some great sermons.
Purple0456 10 months ago
For us growing up in the 50’s and 60’s
Ward Cleaver reminded so many of our own dads. Thought he was very handsome. My dad dressed just like that but my mother was never a June cleaver with those pearls while vacuuming. She dressed more like Laura Petrie on Dick Van Dyke.
Ward cleaver was my 3rd favorite dad
First being Lucas McCain and 2nd Andy Taylor💜💜💜💜
Muleskinner 10 months ago
Hugh Beaumont was a conscientious objector during WWII due to his religious convictions. After he retired from acting in the late 1960s, he became a Christmas tree farmer in Minnesota. Hugh Beaumont will always be the ideal TV dad. Great to still be able to see LITB on MeTV.
Mark Muleskinner 10 months ago
He appeared on Mannix in the 1970-71 season, so I think he retired a little later than that.
ncadams27 10 months ago
The article mentions his weekly Mass. Only a priest can perform Mass, not ministers. This statement needs clarification; did he assist in a weekly Mass instead of actually performing a Mass?
lifelinx ncadams27 10 months ago
The article actually does not mention "Mass": It mentions that he preached sermons when invited. :)
ncadams27 lifelinx 10 months ago
Hmmm - you are correct. Re-reading the article now, I don’t see the section where I thought this was mentioned. I wonder if any of these articles are edited after the initial posting.
evantorch 10 months ago
Nice background material and insight compared to the interminable quizes!
Irish 10 months ago
I never knew that Hugh was an ordained minister. Very nice to know. I always liked him on Leave it to Beaver. He portrayed a wonderful father.
teire 10 months ago
I had forgotten about this, cool reminder.
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