Hugh Beaumont

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Hugh Beaumont
Hugh Beaumont 1956.JPG
Beaumont in 1956.
BornEugene Hugh Beaumont
(1909-02-16)February 16, 1909
Eudora, Kansas, U.S.
DiedMay 14, 1982(1982-05-14) (aged 73)
Munich, West Germany
OccupationFilm, TV, radio actor
Years active1940-1971
Spouse(s)Kathryn Adams Doty (1942–1974, divorced)
Children3 children
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For the British theater manager, see Binkie Beaumont.
Hugh Beaumont
Hugh Beaumont 1956.JPG
Beaumont in 1956.
BornEugene Hugh Beaumont
(1909-02-16)February 16, 1909
Eudora, Kansas, U.S.
DiedMay 14, 1982(1982-05-14) (aged 73)
Munich, West Germany
OccupationFilm, TV, radio actor
Years active1940-1971
Spouse(s)Kathryn Adams Doty (1942–1974, divorced)
Children3 children

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).


Early years[edit]

Beaumont was born in Lawrence, Kansas.[1] His parents were Ethel Adaline Whitney and Edward H. Beaumont, a traveling salesman whose profession kept the family on the move.[2] After graduating from Baylor School, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, he attended the University of Chattanooga, where he played football.[3] 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 .[citation needed]

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. In 1952, he played the role of Rev. Randy Roberts in an episode of The Lone Ranger.

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.

He also appeared in one of the early episodes of the CBS western series, My Friend Flicka and guest starred in an episode of Frank Lovejoy's detective series, Meet McGraw.[4]

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.[5]

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.[citation needed]

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[edit]

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.


Motion pictures[edit]

1940Phantom RaidersSeaman (scenes deleted)
The Secret SevenSouthern Racketeer (uncredited)
1941South of PanamaPaul Martin
The Cowboy and the BlondeSound Man (uncredited)
Private NurseMcDonald (uncredited)
Unfinished BusinessGroom (uncredited)
Week-End in HavanaOfficer (uncredited)
1942Wake IslandCaptain (uncredited)
Right to the HeartWillie Donovan
Young AmericaG-Man
Canal ZoneRadio Operator (uncredited)
To the Shores of TripoliOrderly (uncredited)
The Wife Takes a FlyerOfficer (uncredited)
Unseen EnemyNarrator
Flight LieutenantJohn McGinnis (uncredited)
1943Northwest Rangersthe Mountie who finds Fowler's body (uncredited)
Flight for FreedomFlight Instructor (uncredited)
He Hired the BossJordan
BombardierSoldier (uncredited)
Good Luck, Mr. YatesAdjutant (uncredited)
Mexican Spitfire's Blessed EventGeorge Sharpe
Du Barry Was a LadyFootman (uncredited)
Salute to the MarinesSergeant (uncredited)
The Fallen SparrowOtto Skaas
The Seventh VictimGregory Ward
There's Something About a SoldierLt. Martin
1944The Racket Man"Irish" Duffy
The Story of Dr. Wassellaide to Admiral Hart in Surabaya
Mr. Winkle Goes to WarRanger Officer (uncredited)
The Seventh CrossTruck Driver (uncredited)
I Love a SoldierJohn (uncredited)
Strange AffairDetective Carey (uncredited)
They Live in FearInstructor (uncredited)
Practically YoursCutter (uncredited)
1945I'm a Civilian Here MyselfInterviewer
Objective, Burma!Capt. Hennessey (uncredited)
Counter-AttackRussian Lieutenant (uncredited)
Blood on the SunJohnny Clarke (credited)
The Lady ConfessesLarry Craig
Blonde from BrooklynDischarging Lieutenant (uncredited)
You Came AlongChaplain (uncredited)
Apology for MurderKenny Blake
1946Murder is My BusinessMichael Shayne
The Blue DahliaGeorge Copeland
Johnny Comes Flying HomeEngineer (uncredited)
Larceny in Her HeartMichael Shayne
Blonde for a DayMichael Shayne
1947The Guilt of Janet AmesFrank Merino (uncredited)
Three on a TicketMichael Shayne
Too Many WinnersMichael Shayne
Railroaded!Mickey Ferguson
Bury Me DeadMichael Dunn
1948Reaching from HeavenBill Starling
Money MadnessSteve Clark (previously known as Freddie Howard)
The CounterfeitersPhillip Drake
1949Tokyo JoeMajor (uncredited)
1950Second ChanceDr. Emory
The Flying MissileMajor Wilson (uncredited)
1951Target UnknownColonel (uncredited)
The Last OutpostLt. Fenton
Danger ZoneDennis O'Brien
Roaring CityDenny O'Brien
Go for Broke!Chaplain (uncredited)
Pier 23Dennis O'Brien
Home Town StoryBob MacFarland (uncredited)
Mr. Belvedere Rings the BellPoliceman (uncredited)
Lost ContinentRobert Phillips
Callaway Went ThatawayMr. Adkins, Attorney (uncredited)
Overland TelegraphBrad Roberts
1952Phone Call from a StrangerDr. Tim Brooks (uncredited)
Bugles in the AfternoonLt. Cooke (uncredited)
Wild StallionCapt. Wilmurt
Washington StoryChaplain (uncredited)
Night Without SleepJohn Harkness
1953The Mississippi GamblerKennerly (uncredited)
The Member of the WeddingMinister (uncredited)
1955Hell's HorizonAl Trask
1956The Mole PeopleDr. Jud Bellamin
1957Night PassageJeff Kurth
1965The Human DuplicatorsAustin Wellesthis was his final motion picture role.

In popular culture[edit]

In the early 1980s, a Texas punk rock band combined this actor's name with the name of Jimi Hendrix's band to form The Hugh Beaumont Experience.


  1. ^ "Google News Archive". Lawrence Journal World 2/9/1937. 
  2. ^ Hugh Beaumont at
  3. ^ "Remembering Some Famous Chattanoogans". 
  4. ^ "’’Meet McGraw’’". Classic TV Archives. Retrieved September 9, 2009. 
  5. ^ ""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.

External links[edit]