From ‘Leave It to Beaver’ to Family Bliss: Jerry Mathers, 74, Embraces Grandparenting, Gardening, and Culinary Adventures!

Jerry Mathers, known as a child star from 1957 to 1963, portrayed the role of Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver in the popular television series “Leave It to Beaver.” As the show came to a close, Jerry transitioned into his teenage years, finding himself without a job but embracing new opportunities.

Tony Dow and Jerry Mathers posing in an undated “Leave It to Beaver” photo | Source: Getty Images

At the age of 74 in May 2023, Jerry reflected on his fame and revealed that the conclusion of the show came at the right time for him. Throughout his time on the series, Jerry had yearned to engage in sports but was unable to fulfill that desire due to his commitments at the studio. However, being jobless opened doors for him to pursue his lifelong passion for joining the football and track teams. Jerry also cherished the experience of attending a regular school, as he had previously been taught by a private tutor while working on the show. Despite being one of the most recognizable child stars on television, Jerry forged meaningful friendships and led a profoundly fulfilling life.

Jerry Mathers, Barbara Billingsley, Tony Dow, and Hugh Beaumont posing in an undated “Leave It to Beaver” photo | Source: Getty Images

The decision to end the series was a collective one, driven by the cast members’ understanding that people would eventually tire of their characters, and they desired to explore other avenues. Jerry’s journey took him on various paths as he grew older, including a brief stint in the California Air National Guard and a venture into real estate. He excelled as a real estate agent before his return to acting through the series “Still The Beaver.” Jerry confessed that selling property had been a talent of his, but now his focus lay on everyday life. Content with his role as a family man, he expressed happiness and fulfillment.

During his teenage years, Jerry also pursued his studies while making occasional guest appearances on shows like “Lassie” and “Batman.” Enlisting in the National Guard had been a childhood dream for Jerry, inspired by his father’s service in the Air Force. He achieved his goal and worked as a colonel’s executive secretary at the wing headquarters. By 2012, Jerry had immersed himself in other hobbies, such as gardening, as evidenced by a Facebook post where he proudly posed wearing gloves amid a backdrop of flourishing plants.


Jerry’s passion for gardening was evident as he tended to his beloved plants, showcasing his enjoyment of the task. In another display of his skills, he proudly exhibited his culinary prowess by posing with a 25-pound turkey he cooked at his mother’s house during Thanksgiving that same year.
The following year he reprised his role as the cook for Thanksgiving when he posed for a Facebook picture where he was seen basing the turkey. When he wasn’t shaking things up in the kitchen, he became a family man and a father.

In February 2012, the last remaining “Leave It to Beaver” actor posed alongside his daughter, Gretchen. He revealed that he was welcoming a new son-in-law because her boyfriend, Ryan, had proposed, and the family “couldn’t be happier!”

Jerry Mathers posing in an undated “Leave It to Beaver” photo | Source: Getty Images

Jerry also mentioned that Ryan had approached him to ask for Gretchen’s hand in marriage before surprising her with a heartfelt proposal. Fans couldn’t help but shift their attention to the star’s daughter, with one individual echoing Jerry’s sentiments about Gretchen’s beauty, while another person added their own comment: “She truly is stunning!”
Two years later, the celebrity posed alongside his other daughter, Mercedes, and revealed that being able to attend her Halloween wedding was one of his “treasured milestones.” He lovingly wished Mercedes and her husband a blissful marriage filled with romance and joy.


For 2013’s Father’s Day, he reshared a post by Gretchen which included a throwback photo of them when she was a young girl and he, a young man. The star showed how much he enjoyed being a father and said he couldn’t believe he’d be giving her away that August.

Embracing new blessings in his family, Jerry welcomed his sons-in-law, marking a new chapter in his parenting journey. As a result, he not only continued to be a devoted parent but also had the joy of being a doting grandparent.


At the age of 74, Jerry shared insights into his current life in 2023, emphasizing the importance of having his own fulfilling experiences alongside his acting career. While he still cherished his involvement in the entertainment industry, he also valued the time he could dedicate to connecting with people on a personal level. Furthermore, Jerry embraced the role of a grandfather with great enthusiasm, boasting five grandchildren and describing the experience as truly “wonderful.” In the company of his wife, they delighted in their children’s offspring, creating joyful moments together. Jerry happily expressed, “We have a great time with the grandchildren.” On occasion, the couple would take on babysitting duties, and Jerry would also participate in autograph shows and indulge in leisurely travel across the country.


Being a well-known celebrity, people continued to approach Jerry with questions about the show and his current endeavors. Grateful for the opportunities and connections that “Leave It to Beaver” had brought him, Jerry expressed his contentment with life. In August 2015, he proudly shared a Facebook picture holding his first grandchild, a newborn baby girl, expressing his excitement and eagerness to spoil her rotten.

Throughout the years, Jerry’s love for his grandchildren was evident. During the Easter Holidays of 2018, he showcased his affection by posing with one of his granddaughters, both wearing matching bunny ears, as they shared a heartwarming moment captured in a Facebook image.


In May 2021, Jerry showcased the significance of family as he joyously celebrated his mother Marilyn’s 94th birthday. To commemorate the special occasion, the actor shared a heartwarming picture of Marilyn alongside some of her 14 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

In January 2011, Jerry tied the knot with the love of his life, and in April of that same year, he proudly displayed their wedding photo, introducing his beloved partner to the world. As of 2023, the couple had been happily married for 12 years. Despite the passage of 60 years since the conclusion of “Leave It to Beaver,” Jerry remained well aware of his enduring association with the iconic character of the Beaver. He grew accustomed to being recognized by people on the streets as his childhood alter ego.


During his younger years, Jerry would kindly correct those who mistook him for the character by revealing his real name and explaining that Beaver was the name bestowed upon him for the show. As the years passed, the actor’s life continued to be filled with joy and excitement. On his 70th birthday, he received number balloons as a playful nod to the milestone. Embracing this significant moment, Jerry openly expressed, “I have never been happier in my life.” He expressed gratitude for his wife, family, and the unwavering support of loyal friends and caring fans, eagerly anticipating the wonderful experiences yet to come.


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