Beaumont in 1956.
|Born||Eugene Hugh Beaumont
February 16, 1909
Eudora, Kansas, U.S.
|Died||May 14, 1982
Munich, West Germany
|Occupation||Film, TV, radio actor|
|Spouse(s)||Kathryn Adams Doty (1942–1974, divorced)|
Eugene Hugh Beaumont (February 16, 1909 – May 14, 1982) was an American actor and television director. He was also licensed to preach by the Methodist church. Beaumont is best known for his portrayal of Ward Cleaver on the television series, Leave It to Beaver (1957–1963).
Beaumont was born in Lawrence, Kansas. His parents were Ethel Adaline Whitney and Edward H. Beaumont, a traveling salesman whose profession kept the family on the move. After graduating from Baylor School, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, he attended the University of Chattanooga, where he played football. He later studied at the University of Southern California and graduated with a Master of Theology degree in 1946. He married Kathryn Adams in 1942, and the pair had three children.
Beaumont began his career in show business in 1931 by performing in theaters, nightclubs and radio. He began acting in motion pictures in 1940, appearing in over three dozen films. Many of these roles were not credited. He worked along with another future TV dad, William Bendix, who would star in The Life of Riley in the 1946 film The Blue Dahlia along with Alan Ladd. In 1946-1947, Beaumont starred in five films as private detective Michael Shayne, taking over the role from Lloyd Nolan. Later he acquired his best-known role as the archetypal philosophy-dispensing suburban father, Ward Cleaver, on the popular sitcom television series Leave It to Beaver.
Local legend in Chattanooga says that the name of the fictional town of Mayfield, where the Cleavers lived, actually came from Mayfield Dairy, for which Beaumont had worked while attending school in Chattanooga.
A precursor to his role as the kindly father figure came in Adventures of Superman. In a 1953 episode called The Big Squeeze, he played an ex-convict with a wife and son whose trust he must win back after an apparent return to his criminal past.
From 1950 to 1953 Beaumont was the narrator of the Reed Hadley series, Racket Squad, based on the cases of a fictional detective, Captain John Braddock, in San Francisco. In Hadley's second series, The Public Defender, which aired on CBS from 1954 to 1955, Beaumont appeared three times in the role of Ed McGrath.
Before Beaumont and Barbara Billingsley were cast as the concerned parents on Leave It to Beaver, each had appeared separately in the early 1950s on Rod Cameron's syndicated detective series City Detective. Consistent with his interest in the clergy, Beaumont played the Reverend Clifton R. Pond in an episode of the religion anthology series, Crossroads.
On July 1, 1957, two months before the premiere of Leave It to Beaver, Beaumont played a sympathetic characterization of the western bandit Jesse James on Dale Robertson's NBC series, Tales of Wells Fargo. Bobby Jordan played Bob Ford, the James assailant, but this episode ends some two months before the shooting of James in St. Joseph, Missouri.
Not only did Beaumont act in Leave It to Beaver but he also wrote and directed several episodes, including the retrospective "Family Scrapbook." His portrayal as head of the Cleaver household ranked #28 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" in the June 20, 2004, issue.
Beaumont did not much like the role of the patient Ward Cleaver, because he believed it had unfairly typecast him and overshadowed his many other roles in film and on television.
After Leave It to Beaver ended production and went into syndication in the fall of 1963, Beaumont appeared in many community theater productions and played a few guest roles on such television series as Mannix, The Virginian, Wagon Train and Petticoat Junction.
Retirement and death
Beaumont retired from show business in the late 1960s, launching a second career as a Christmas-tree farmer in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. He was forced to retire in 1972 after suffering a stroke from which he never fully recovered. Beaumont and Kathryn Adams divorced in 1974. On May 14, 1982, Beaumont died of a heart attack while visiting his son, a psychology professor, in Munich, Germany. His ashes were scattered on the then family-owned island on Lake Wabana, Minnesota, near Grand Rapids. The 1983 telemovie Still the Beaver was dedicated to Beaumont's memory.
|1940||Phantom Raiders||Seaman (scenes deleted)|
|The Secret Seven||Southern Racketeer (uncredited)|
|1941||South of Panama||Paul Martin|
|The Cowboy and the Blonde||Sound Man (uncredited)|
|Private Nurse||McDonald (uncredited)|
|Unfinished Business||Groom (uncredited)|
|Week-End in Havana||Officer (uncredited)|
|1942||Wake Island||Captain (uncredited)|
|Right to the Heart||Willie Donovan|
|Canal Zone||Radio Operator (uncredited)|
|To the Shores of Tripoli||Orderly (uncredited)|
|The Wife Takes a Flyer||Officer (uncredited)|
|Flight Lieutenant||John McGinnis (uncredited)|
|1943||Northwest Rangers||the Mountie who finds Fowler's body (uncredited)|
|Flight for Freedom||Flight Instructor (uncredited)|
|He Hired the Boss||Jordan|
|Good Luck, Mr. Yates||Adjutant (uncredited)|
|Mexican Spitfire's Blessed Event||George Sharpe|
|Du Barry Was a Lady||Footman (uncredited)|
|Salute to the Marines||Sergeant (uncredited)|
|The Fallen Sparrow||Otto Skaas|
|The Seventh Victim||Gregory Ward|
|There's Something About a Soldier||Lt. Martin|
|1944||The Racket Man||"Irish" Duffy|
|The Story of Dr. Wassell||aide to Admiral Hart in Surabaya|
|Mr. Winkle Goes to War||Ranger Officer (uncredited)|
|The Seventh Cross||Truck Driver (uncredited)|
|I Love a Soldier||John (uncredited)|
|Strange Affair||Detective Carey (uncredited)|
|They Live in Fear||Instructor (uncredited)|
|Practically Yours||Cutter (uncredited)|
|1945||I'm a Civilian Here Myself||Interviewer|
|Objective, Burma!||Capt. Hennessey (uncredited)|
|Counter-Attack||Russian Lieutenant (uncredited)|
|Blood on the Sun||Johnny Clarke (credited)|
|The Lady Confesses||Larry Craig|
|Blonde from Brooklyn||Discharging Lieutenant (uncredited)|
|You Came Along||Chaplain (uncredited)|
|Apology for Murder||Kenny Blake|
|1946||Murder is My Business||Michael Shayne|
|The Blue Dahlia||George Copeland|
|Johnny Comes Flying Home||Engineer (uncredited)|
|Larceny in Her Heart||Michael Shayne|
|Blonde for a Day||Michael Shayne|
|1947||The Guilt of Janet Ames||Frank Merino (uncredited)|
|Three on a Ticket||Michael Shayne|
|Too Many Winners||Michael Shayne|
|Bury Me Dead||Michael Dunn|
|1948||Reaching from Heaven||Bill Starling|
|Money Madness||Steve Clark (previously known as Freddie Howard)|
|The Counterfeiters||Phillip Drake|
|1949||Tokyo Joe||Major (uncredited)|
|1950||Second Chance||Dr. Emory|
|The Flying Missile||Major Wilson (uncredited)|
|1951||Target Unknown||Colonel (uncredited)|
|The Last Outpost||Lt. Fenton|
|Danger Zone||Dennis O'Brien|
|Roaring City||Denny O'Brien|
|Go for Broke!||Chaplain (uncredited)|
|Pier 23||Dennis O'Brien|
|Home Town Story||Bob MacFarland (uncredited)|
|Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell||Policeman (uncredited)|
|Lost Continent||Robert Phillips|
|Callaway Went Thataway||Mr. Adkins, Attorney (uncredited)|
|Overland Telegraph||Brad Roberts|
|1952||Phone Call from a Stranger||Dr. Tim Brooks (uncredited)|
|Bugles in the Afternoon||Lt. Cooke (uncredited)|
|Wild Stallion||Capt. Wilmurt|
|Washington Story||Chaplain (uncredited)|
|Night Without Sleep||John Harkness|
|1953||The Mississippi Gambler||Kennerly (uncredited)|
|The Member of the Wedding||Minister (uncredited)|
|1955||Hell's Horizon||Al Trask|
|1956||The Mole People||Dr. Jud Bellamin|
|1957||Night Passage||Jeff Kurth|
|1965||The Human Duplicators||Austin Welles||this was his final motion picture role.|
In popular culture
- "Google News Archive". Lawrence Journal World 2/9/1937.
- Hugh Beaumont at rootsweb.com
- "Remembering Some Famous Chattanoogans". chattanoogan.com.
- "’’Meet McGraw’’". Classic TV Archives. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
- ""Jesse James" on Tales of Wells, Fargo". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
- Applebaum, Irwyn. The World According to Beaver. TV Books, 1984, 1998.
- Mathers, Jerry. ...And Jerry Mathers as "The Beaver". Berkley Boulevard Books, 1998.