Actor Hugh Beaumont

Eugene Hugh Beaumont (February 16, 1909 – May 14, 1982) was an American actor, television director, and writer. Beaumont is best known for his portrayals of Ward Cleaver on the television series Leave It to Beaver, originally broadcast from 1957 to 1963; and as private detective Michael Shayne in a series of low-budget crime films between 1946 and 1947.

Early life

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 the Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in the class of 1930, 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.


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 those roles were bit parts and minor roles and were not credited. He often worked with the actor William Bendix; both had prominent roles in the 1946 film noir The Blue Dahlia, playing the friends of star Alan Ladd’s character. In 1946–47, Beaumont starred in five films as the private detective Michael Shayne, taking over the role from Lloyd Nolan. In 1950 he also narrated the short film A Date with Your Family.

In the early 1950s, Beaumont secured work in television, often playing guest roles on series such as Adventures of Superman, City Detective, Crossroads, Fireside Theatre, Ford Theatre, The Lone Ranger, Medic, The Millionaire, and Schlitz Playhouse of Stars. From 1951 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 1954 and 1955, Beaumont appeared in Hadley’s second series The Public Defender, appearing in three episodes as Ed McGrath. That same year, he also was guest starred in the Lassie episode “The Well”, one of the first two episodes filmed as pilots for the new series. He also portrayed a sympathetic characterization of the Western bandit Jesse James on the series Tales of Wells Fargo.

In September 1957, Beaumont was selected to replace Max Showalter in the role of wise small-town father Ward Cleaver on the sitcom Leave It to Beaver. After initially airing to tepid ratings on CBS, the series moved to ABC for its second season, where the series received more solid ratings. Beginning with the third season, Beaumont began directing several episodes; this included the series’ final episode “Family Scrapbook”, often considered the first traditional series finale. In 2014, TV Guide ranked Beaumont’s portrayal of Cleaver at number 28 on its list of the “50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time”.

In 1959, just before production on the third season of Leave It to Beaver began, Beaumont’s wife, son, and mother-in-law were driving from Minnesota to Hollywood to visit when a car accident killed his mother-in-law and severely injured his son. Jerry Mathers later stated that the tragedy seriously affected Beaumont’s participation in the production at the time, with Beaumont often just “walking” through his part.

After Leave It to Beaver ended production in 1963, Beaumont appeared in many community theater productions and played a few guest roles on such television series as Marcus Welby, M.D. (starring fellow iconic TV father Robert Young), Mannix, Petticoat Junction, The Virginian, and Wagon Train. In February 1966, he made another appearance on Lassie, 11 years after his first. He also continued to have success as a writer, selling several television screenplays and radio scripts, as well as short stories to various magazines. He gradually backed out of the business, launching a second career as a Christmas-tree farmer in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Beaumont officially retired in 1972, after suffering a stroke from which he never fully recovered.

Personal life and death

On Easter Sunday, April 13, 1941, Beaumont wed actress Kathryn Adams (née Hohn) at the Hollywood Congregational Church. They had sons Hunter and Mark, and daughter Kristy. Their union lasted 33 years, until their divorce in 1974.

Beaumont was an ordained Methodist minister. During World War II, Beaumont was a conscientious objector and served as a medic.

On May 14, 1982, Beaumont died of a heart attack while visiting his son Hunter, a psychologist working in Munich, West 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 is dedicated to Beaumont.


Year Title Role Notes
1940 Phantom Raiders Seaman Uncredited
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 Hugh, the Bridegroom Uncredited
Week-End in Havana Clipper Officer Uncredited
1942 Right to the Heart Willie Donovan
Unseen Enemy Narrator
Young America G-Man
Canal Zone Radio Operator Uncredited
To the Shores of Tripoli Orderly Uncredited
The Wife Takes a Flyer Officer Uncredited
Top Sergeant Radio Newscaster Uncredited voice
Flight Lieutenant John McGinnis Uncredited
Wake Island Captain Uncredited
Northwest Rangers Warren – Mountie who finds Fowler’s body Uncredited
1943 Flight for Freedom Flight Instructor Uncredited
He Hired the Boss Jordan
Bombardier Soldier Uncredited
Du Barry Was a Lady Footman Uncredited
Good Luck, Mr. Yates Adjutant Uncredited
Mexican Spitfire’s Blessed Event George Sharpe
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
Song of the Open Road John Moran Uncredited
Mr. Winkle Goes to War Ranger Officer Uncredited
The Seventh Cross Truck Driver Uncredited
I Love a Soldier John Moran Uncredited
Strange Affair Detective Carey Uncredited
They Live in Fear Instructor Uncredited
Practically Yours Film-Cutter Uncredited
1945 Objective, Burma! Captain Hennessey Uncredited
Blood on the Sun Johnny Clarke Uncredited
Counter-Attack Russian Lieutenant Uncredited
The Lady Confesses Larry Craig
The Blonde from Brooklyn Discharging Lieutenant Uncredited
You Came Along Chaplain Uncredited
Apology for Murder Kenny Blake
You Came Along Chaplain Uncredited
1946 Murder Is My Business Michael Shayne
Johnny Comes Flying Home Engineer Uncredited
The Blue Dahlia George Copeland
Larceny in Her Heart Michael Shayne
Blonde for a Day
1947 The Guilt of Janet Ames Frank Merino Uncredited
Three on a Ticket Michael Shayne
Too Many Winners
Railroaded! Police Sgt. Mickey Ferguson
Bury Me Dead Michael Dunn
1948 Reaching from Heaven Bill Starling
Money Madness Steve Clark / Freddie Howard
The Counterfeiters Phillip Drake
1949 Tokyo Joe Provost Marshal Major Uncredited
1950 Second Chance Dr. Emory
The Flying Missile Major Wilson
1951 Target Unknown Colonel Uncredited
The Last Outpost Lt. Fenton
Danger Zone Dennis O’Brien
Go for Broke! Chaplain Uncredited
Roaring City Denny O’Brien
Pier 23 Dennis O’Brien
Home Town Story Bob MacFarland Uncredited
Savage Drums Bill Fenton 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
Bugles in the Afternoon Lt. Cooke Uncredited
Wild Stallion Capt. Wilmurt
Washington Story Chaplain Uncredited
Night Without Sleep John Harkness
The Member of the Wedding Minister Uncredited
1953 The Mississippi Gambler Kennerly Uncredited
225,000 Mile Proving Ground, 1953 Narrator/reporter E.D. Gillespie Produced by Dudley Pictures for American Association of Railroads
1955 Hell’s Horizon Al Trask
1956 The Revolt of Mamie Stover San Francisco Policeman Uncredited
The Mole People Dr. Jud Bellamin
1957 Night Passage Jeff Kurth
1965 The Human Duplicators Austin Welles

Television credits

Year Title Role Notes
1950 The Silver Theatre Harry Hamilton Episode: “Lady with Ideas”
1951 The Bigelow Theatre Harry Hamilton Episode: “Lady with Ideas”
1952 Dangerous Assignment Various roles Episode: “The Piece of String Story”
Episode: “The Manger Story”
Episode: “The Assassin Ring Story”
Hopalong Cassidy Hank Scofield Episode: “The Feud”
1952–1953 Racket Squad Narrator 33 episodes
1953 Ford Theatre Sheriff Burns Episode: “The Trestle”
Big Town Carl Kesten / Rodney Mitchell Episode: “The Eliminator”
Chevron Theatre Episode: “The Worthless Thing”
The Lone Ranger Rev. Randy Roberts Episode: “The Godless Men”
Topper Ed Merrill Episode: “The Spinster”
Adventures of Superman Dan Grayson Episode: “The Big Squeeze”
Schlitz Playhouse of Stars John Harris Episode: “Vacation for Ginny”
Episode: “Guardian of the Clock”
The Loretta Young Show Writer
Episode: “The Bronte Story”
1953–1954 Fireside Theatre Various roles Episode: “The Traitor”
Episode: “Fight Night”
1953–1956 Four Star Playhouse Various roles 6 episodes
Letter to Loretta Various roles 7 episodes
1954 City Detective Philip Merriam Episode: “The Blonde Orchid”
Waterfront Roy Martin Episode: “Backwash”
The Lineup Charles Lanski Episode: “Cop Shooting”
Studio 57 Charles Crane Episode: “Trap Mates”
The Public Defender Ed McGrath Episode: “Think No Evil”
Gil Bowman Episode: “Lost Cause”
Lux Video Theatre George Episode: “Call Me Mrs.”
1954–1956 Cavalcade of America Various roles Episode: “The Paper Sword”
Episode: “A Time for Courage”
Episode: “The Boy Who Walked to America”
1955 Indian American Brother David Television film
The Public Defender Ed McGrath Episode: “A Knowledge of Astronomy”
Medic Col. Will Roberts Episode: “The World So High”
Crossroads Rev. Clifton R. Pond Episode: “With All My Love”
Science Fiction Theatre Dr. Guy Stanton Episode: “Conversation with an Ape”
The Millionaire Dr. Porter Episode: “The Walter Carter Story”
The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse Jeff Episode: “Stake My Life”
The Touch of Steel]] Col. Lander Television movie
Climax! Episode: “The Leaf Out of the Book”
Lassie Mr. Saunders Episode: “The Well”
1956 Climax! Episode: “Savage Portrait”
Ford Theatre Marshal Ferguson Episode: “The Silent Strangers”
Lux Video Theatre Larry Episode: “The Unfaithful”
My Friend Flicka Simmons Episode: “One Man’s Horse”
Episode: “Night Rider”
Alias Mike Hercules Mike Hercules Episode: “Pilot”
Matinee Theatre Episode: “The 25th Hour”
Celebrity Playhouse Episode: “Home Is the Soldier”
1957 Meet McGraw Clay Farrell Episode: “Border City”
Tales of Wells Fargo Jesse James Episode: “Jesse James”
1957–1963 Leave it to Beaver Ward Cleaver Main role; 234 episodes
Directed 23 episodes (1960–63)
Writer of 1 episode (1959)
1964 Wagon Train Jed Halick Episode: “The Pearlie Garnet Story”
1966 Lassie Jim / Mr. Saunders Episode: “Cradle of the Deep”
The Virginian Maguire Episode: “Girl on the Glass Mountain”
Petticoat Junction Ronnie Beckman Episode: “Every Bachelor Should Have a Family”
1967 Mr. Donald Elliott Episode: “With This Gown I Thee Wed”
Episode: “Meet the In-Laws”
1968 The Virginian Maj. James Carlton Episode: “Nora”
Charles Martin Episode: “With Help from Ulysses”
Mannix Frank Abbott Episode: “To the Swiftest, Death”
1970 Hammond Episode: “The Mouse That Died”
Mr. Calder Episode: “War of Nerves”
Medical Center Dr. Simpson Episode: “Death Grip”
Marcus Welby, M.D. Jim Wagner Episode: “The Merely Syndrome”
1971 The Most Deadly Game Dr. Dominick Episode: “The Classic Burial Position”

External Links

Actor Hugh Beaumont – Wikipedia

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *