Eugene Hugh Beaumont (February 16, 1909 – May 14, 1982) was an American actor, television director, and writer. He 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 in 1946 and 1947.
Eugene Hugh Beaumont
February 16, 1909
Lawrence, Kansas, U.S.
|Died||May 14, 1982 (aged 73)|
(m. 1941; div. 1974)
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 actor William Bendix; they 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 private detective Michael Shayne, assuming the role from Lloyd Nolan. In 1950 he also narrated the short film A Date with Your Family.
In the early 1950s Beaumont secured television work, often with 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 he was narrated the Reed Hadley series Racket Squad, based on the cases of 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 year he also 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 it received more solid ratings. Beginning with the third season, Beaumont began directing several episodes; including the series' final episode, "Family Scrapbook", often considered the first traditional series finale. In 2014, TV Guide ranked Beaumont's portrayal of Ward 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, 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. He officially retired in 1972 after suffering a stroke from which he never fully recovered.
Personal life and deathEdit
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.
On May 14, 1982, Beaumont died of a heart attack while visiting his son Hunter, a psychologist in Munich, West Germany. His body was cremated, and the ashes scattered on the then family-owned Balgillo Island on Lake Wabana, Minnesota, near Grand Rapids. The 1983 telemovie Still the Beaver is dedicated to him.
|The Secret Seven||Southern Racketeer||Uncredited|
|1941||South of Panama||Paul Martin|
|The Cowboy and the Blonde||Sound Man||Uncredited|
|Unfinished Business||Hugh, the Bridegroom||Uncredited|
|Week-End in Havana||Clipper Officer||Uncredited|
|1942||Right to the Heart||Willie Donovan|
|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|
|Northwest Rangers||Warren - Mountie who finds Fowler's body||Uncredited|
|1943||Flight for Freedom||Flight Instructor||Uncredited|
|He Hired the Boss||Jordan|
|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|
|1945||Objective, Burma!||Captain Hennessey||Uncredited|
|Blood on the Sun||Johnny Clarke||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|
|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|
|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|
|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"|
- "Hugh Beaumont", filmography, catalog of the American Film Institute (AFI), Los Angeles, California. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
- "Google News Archive". Lawrence Journal World 2/9/1937.
- "Remembering Some Famous Chattanoogans". chattanoogan.com. Archived from the original on 2009-02-01. Retrieved 2009-01-29.
- Weiner, Robert G.; Barba, Shelley E. (4 March 2011). In the Peanut Gallery with Mystery Science Theater 3000: Essays on Film, Fandom, Technology and the Culture of Riffing. McFarland. pp. 148–. ISBN 978-0-7864-8572-7.
- Applebaum, Irwyn (1998). The World According to Beaver. Simon & Schuster. pp. 18, 312. ISBN 978-1-57500-052-7.
- "TV Guide's '50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time'", TVWeek, Dexter Canfield Media, Inc., Sherman Oaks, California. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
- Mathers, Jerry. ... And Jerry Mathers as The Beaver. Berkley Boulevard Books, 1998. (ISBN 0425163709)
- "Hugh Beaumont, Actor Dies", UPI obituary, The New York Times, May 16, 1982. Retrieved December 5, 2017.
- "News Briefs". The Daily Reporter. Indiana, Greenfield. International News Service. April 14, 1941. p. 4. Retrieved October 29, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- "California Divorce Index, 1966-1984", Kathryn E. [Hohn] from Eugene H. Beaumont, May 1974, Los Angeles, California; Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. FamilySearch, archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
- Mathers, Jerry (February 14, 2016). "My wonderful friend and mentor, Hugh Beaumont". Retrieved September 23, 2020.
Hugh Beaumont, because of his religious views as an ordained Methodist minister, was a conscientious objector. However, he did serve in WW II as an army medic.