‘Leave It to Beaver’ star Jerry Mathers remembers working with Alfred Hitchcock
Before Jerry Mathers found fame as Theodore Beaver Cleaver in the wholesome sitcom Leave It to Beaver, he was personally selected by Alfred Hitchcock to star in 1995 dark comedy The Trouble with Harry.
I arrived at the audition and at that point he had probably seen everyone in Los Angeles for the part, the 69-year-old former child actor told Fox News. I walked into the interview and he seemed very nice. In fact, the first time I met him, he was sitting behind this huge desk and he had all of this food in front of him.
“I hadnt had lunch because my mom told me we would have some after the audition. I was looking at all of this food and he said, Hello Mr. Mathers. I was a bit shocked. Then he said, How are you doing? Im thinking about making a movie. We talked for a little bit and he said, Well be going someplace, do you like to travel? This guy seemed very nice!
Hitchcock, the brooding British filmmaker who earned the nicknamed the master of suspense for his psychological thrillers involving such as Psycho, The Birds, and Vertigo,” appeared friendly and approachable to then-7-year-old Mathers.
I really got to know him when we went to Stowe, Vermont, said Mathers. Whenever we had lunch there, and we were on location 12-14 weeks, all the local women would cook us lunch for the whole crew.
“And each would bring out their best dishes every day. And whenever we had lunch, Mr. Hitchcock was the first one to examine the dishes I would just follow him and go, Oh, was that a good one, Mr. Hitchcock? And he would go, Yes, thats the one Im going to have.
Mathers said he wouldnt really consider Hitchcock a friend due to their significant age differences. However, the director somehow always made his presence known when Mathers, then 9-years-old, would go on to appear in Leave It to Beaver. That was 1957, which was two years after he launched his own series, titled Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
[He] was about three stages down [in the same studio],” Mathers recalled. But he only came in once a month [to] do all the intros… I would see him when I had a little free time and he would roll in a big Rolls Royce with a chauffeur… He would go, How are you doing today? Hows the show going?
It wouldnt be the last time the two would cross paths in Hollywood. For the 1960 film Psycho, Mathers helped makeup supervisor Robert Dawn, who also worked on Leave It to Beaver, create the special effects for Mrs. Bates skull used in the final scenes of the movie.
Leave It to Beaver ran from 1957 until 1963. Mathers told Fox News in July he currently leads lectures across the country to raise awareness on Type 2 diabetes, which he was diagnosed with in 1997.
Hitchcock died at age 80 in 1980 from kidney failure.