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Iowa Time Machine: Jerry Mathers - June 2, 1948

Iowa Time Machine ⏰: On June 2, 1948, actor Jerry Mathers was born in Sioux City. Best known as Theodore ‘Beaver’ Cleaver on the iconic American sitcom “Leave It to Beaver,” Mathers largely left acting for most of his adult life after achieving status as a child star.

The son of standout Sioux City East and Morningside College basketball star Norman Mathers, Jerry entered the world at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Sioux City. The elder Mathers worked as the principal at Rock Rapids at the time of Jerry’s birth. The family moved from Rock Rapids to California when Jerry was just two years old.

Spotted by a talent scout while out shopping with his mother, Marily Bright Mathers, Jerry soon found himself in various ads. Soon, Mathers started to appear in movies, including “This Is My Love” (1954), “Men of the Fighting Lady” (1954), “The Seven Little Foys” (1955), and Alfred Hitchcock's dark comedy “The Trouble with Harry” (1955).

Real fame arrived when Mathers took on the role of Bever Cleaver in 1957. The show, first on CBS and later on ABC, struggled to find a timeslot or audience when it originally aired. However, “Leave It to Beaver” caught on in reruns and eventually grew into an American television classic. 

Mathers retired from acting to focus on high school before eventually serving in the United States military. After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, Mathers worked as a commercial loan officer at a bank and eventually worked in real estate development. Later in life, Mathers made a few acting appearances in programs like “Still the Beaver.” #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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