Richard Deacon as Fred Rutherford.
|First appearance||"The Black Eye" (October 18, 1957)|
|Last appearance||"Wally's Practical Joke" (May 23, 1963) (A year before his death, Deacon reprised the character again in the 1983 reunion TV-movie Still the Beaver).|
|Portrayed by||Richard Deacon|
|Spouse(s)||Gwendolyn (Geraldine, first season) Rutherford (wife)|
|Children||Clarence "Lumpy" Rutherford (son)
Violet Rutherford (daughter)
Frederick "Fred" Rutherford is a fictional character in the television sitcom Leave It to Beaver. The show aired October 4, 1957 to June 20, 1963. Fred is portrayed by Richard Deacon. Alan Rachins played the character in the 1997 film adaptation of the series, Leave It to Beaver.
Fred is the head of the "Rancho Rutherford" household and is married to Geraldine/Gwendolyn. He is the father of a son named Clarence, played by Frank Bank, and nicknamed "Lumpy" by everyone in town, and a daughter named Violet, played by Veronica Cartwright. Fred in public considers Clarence a model son and defends him whenever he is blamed for troublesome activities. He is shocked if "his boy" misbehaves. Privately, however, Fred calls his son a "big boob." Clarence initially bullies both Wally and Beaver but eventually becomes one of Wally's pals. In the show's third episode, "The Black Eye", Fred is the father of two older sons, both nominated for football scholarships.
Fred is Ward's suit-wearing office co-worker. He often gets on Ward's nerves, but the patient Ward, played by Hugh Beaumont, usually tolerates Fred well. Fred often addresses Ward as "Ward, old man"; Ward is thirteen years older than Fred. The two work for a "big company" with the home office in New York City. Fred drops by the Cleaver house occasionally on either work matters or social calls. If trouble brews between the Cleaver and Rutherford children, Fred either makes a phone call or appears at the Cleaver's door to advise Ward; and, usually implies the Cleaver kids are likely at fault. In one episode, the Cleavers have the Rutherfords in for cards. Fred plays golf at a local country club, sometimes accompanied by the reluctant Ward. Like Lumpy, Fred is self-aggrandizing.
In the pilot episode "It's a Small World", Richard Deacon plays a character named "Mr. Baxter", an employee for the "Franklin Milk Co."
Beginning in Leave It To Beaver's fifth season which launched in September 1961, Fred Rutherford began appearing less often in episodes because Richard Deacon began appearing as a regular on The Dick Van Dyke Show. He reprised the role in the 1983 reunion television movie, Still the Beaver, but Deacon died before the spinoff television series The New Leave It to Beaver was launched in 1985. By that time, Clarence and Beaver have started their own business.
- Applebaum, Irwyn. The World According to Beaver. TV Books, 1984, 1998. (ISBN 1575000520).
- Bank, Frank. Call Me Lumpy: my Leave It To Beaver days and other wild Hollywood life . Addax, 2002. (ISBN 1886110298), (ISBN 978-1886110298).
- Colella, Jennifer. The Leave It to Beaver Guide to Life: wholesome wisdom from the Cleavers! Running Press, 2006. (ISBN 0762427736), (ISBN 9780762427734).
- Leave It to Beaver: the complete first season. Universal Studios, 2005.
- Leave It to Beaver: the complete second season. Universal Studios, 2006. (ISBN 1417074876)
- Mathers, Jerry. ...And Jerry Mather as "The Beaver". Berkley Boulevard Books, 1998. (ISBN 0425163709)