Jerry Mathers began his legendary acting career at age two. His early film appearances were alongside some of the industries best known performers, such as Shirley McLaine, Bob Hope and John Forsythe. He was a favorite of director Alfred Hitchcock.
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Generations of Americans and people throughout the world are familiar with Jerry Mathers. He has one of the highest "Q" ratings, for recognizability of a name and race in the United States. Personal fans and friends of Jerry Mathers include President Ronald Reagan, Ted Turner, Steven Speilberg, George Foreman, Cher, Ron Howard, and many other prominent individuals.
After much success as a model in the print media, Jerry Mathers was asked to appear on Ed Wynn's weekly television show, which sparked his acting career. In 1955, he was recruited by Alfred Hitchcock for his movie The Trouble With Harry, which starred John Forsythe and Shirley McLaine in her first film appearance. From there, Jerry Mathers' career took off and he began appearing in several movies such as Christmas in Connecticut, also with John Forsythe; The Seven Little Foys and That Certain Feeling with Bob Hope; and Deep Six and Men of The Fighting Lady, which starred Alan Ladd and Walter Pidgeon. Jerry Mathers was now an accomplished film star.
In 1957, at the age of eight, Jerry Mathers became the only above-the-credits star in the role of Beaver Cleaver in the popular sitcom "Leave It To Beaver". It was the first time in television history that a child actor was given such a credit. Jerry Mathers also was one of the first television stars to be given a percentage of the show's merchandising rights, which still provides an amazing amount of income forty years later! The sitcom was a huge success and ran for six years, airing 234 episodes. The syndication ended in 1963.
Being a high school principal, Jerry Mathers' father encouraged him to make education a priority. He finished his high school education and simultaneously experimented with a career in recording. With his group, Beaver and The Trappers, he released two records on the Atlantic label, which topped charts in several states. Jerry Mathers continued with a traditional education and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley.
Jerry Mathers began a successful career in investment and real estate development using his savings from his early acting career. Although he was offered many roles in both television and film, he declined to accept. Now the father of three, and an actor who has earned a very wholesome reputation among his fans, he is sensitive to today's perception of family values.
In 1982, Jerry Mathers was requested by Universal Television and his former cast members to return to his acting career as Beaver Cleaver in the made-for-TV movie "Still The Beaver". Reluctant, it was explained by certain members of the Teamsters Union that without Jerry Mathers, the movie, which had already been funded, could not be made. Members of the union would not have a job. Jerry Mathers agreed to do the film. The show was rated in the top ten movies of the week and served as a pilot for the series "The New Leave It To Beaver", which ran for 108 episodes. Jerry Mathers has occasionally revisited television when called by friends, making selected appearances on shows like "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Saturday Night Live," "Super Bloopers and Practical Jokes," "Married With Children," and other programs.
Due to Jerry Mathers having a merchandising clause in his 1957 contract, he created a line of Jerry Mathers merchandise in cooperation with Universal Studios. Universal began a worldwide merchandising effort with a catalog of items called "Leave It To Beaver - Neat Stuff." Both projects were a major international promotional campaign, as they coincided with the 40th anniversary of "Leave It To Beaver."
Jerry Mathers also wrote his own autobiography, which came out in October 1997. The book was published by Putnam and chronicles the entire life of this television icon. Jerry Mathers recounted his experiences working with several entertainment industry legends and what it is like to be one of the world's most recognizable people. The release of the book was followed by a national book tour.
Jerry Mathers is one of America's most requested speakers at national conventions concerning the emotional state of the American family in the l990's compared to the mythic Cleaver's of the 1950's.
Jerry Mathers still considers various film and television projects, but will not tarnish an image which has made him and his family financially secure and internationally known both on and off camera. Projects concerning dysfunctional families or those with questionable moral guidelines are rejected on a regular basis. Ward and June Cleaver would expect nothing less!
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