|Subject: ARCHIVE: May 14, 1982 ~It was 35 years ago, we lost a solid veteran Hollywood player Hugh Beaumont, a staple in many supporting feature film roles, but forever remembered as 'Ward Cleaver' in TV's LEAVE IT TO BEAVER. He was 73. ...
Bio & PHOTO
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Date Posted: Monday, May 15, 01:21:27am
[ Eugene Hugh Beaumont ]
(February 16, 1909 – May 14, 1982)
American actor and television director, who 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, originally broadcast from 1957 to 1963. He had earlier played the role of the private detective Michael Shayne in a series of films in the 1940s.
Early years ...
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.
...In 1942, he married Kathryn Adams Doty (née Kathryn Elizabeth Hohn), an actress who later earned a master's degree in educational psychology and had a career as a psychologist. The couple had three children, Hunter, Kristy, and Mark. They divorced in 1974. Kathryn later married Fred Doty (died January 8, 2011). She wrote two novels, A Long Year of Silence (which won the 2005 Midwest Book Award) and Wild Orphan. A third book, Becoming the Mother of Me, described her life growing up as a minister's daughter, her move to Hollywood and her first marriage.
...She died on October 14, 2016, aged 96.
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 bit parts and minor roles and were not credited. He often worked with the actor William Bendix. In 1946–47, Beaumont starred in five films as the private detective Michael Shayne, taking over the role from Lloyd Nolan. In 1950, he narrated a short film, "A Date with Your Family.
...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 a 1953 episode of Adventures of Superman called "The Big Squeeze", Beaumont 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. In Hadley's second series, The Public Defender, which aired on CBS in 1954 and 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 religious anthology series Crossroads.
He appeared in one of the early episodes of the CBS Western series My Friend Flicka and was a guest star in an episode of Frank Lovejoy's detective series, Meet McGraw. In 1955, he was a guest star in the Lassie episode "The Well", one of the first two episodes filmed as pilots for the new series. He played Mr. Saunders, a water company executive interested in purchasing the Miller family's well.
In July, 1957, Beaumont played a sympathetic characterization
of the Western bandit Jesse James on Tales of Wells Fargo. ...
...Two months later he acquired his best-known role as the philosophy-dispensing suburban father Ward Cleaver, on the sitcom television series Leave It to Beaver. During the show's six seasons, Beaumont wrote and directed several episodes, including the retrospective episode "Family Scrapbook". His portrayal as head of the Cleaver household ranked number 28 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time", in its issue of June 20, 2004.
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. In February 1966, 11 years after his first appearance on Lassie, he was again a guest star on that popular TV series, in the episode "Cradle of the Deep".
Here is screen shot of Beaumont on a 1970 episode
of TV's MANNIX, one of his final acting efforts. ...
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. He was told by doctors that he would never walk or talk again, but he proved otherwise and recovered enough to do some directing and community theater work. Beaumont and wife Kathryn Adams would divorce in 1974. On May 14, 1982, Beaumont died of a heart attack while visiting his son, a psychologist working in Munich, Germany. His body was cremated and the 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.
In popular culture ...
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. ...
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