Hugh Beaumont was one of the finest actors of his time. Though he started out on a different career path, he joined show business in 1931 and quickly rose up the ranks with laudable performances and an impressive resume. He was an ordained minister before landing his most famous role on TV as Ward Cleaver on the sitcom, Leave It to Beaver.
Hugh had a long and illustrious career and appeared in many films and TV series. After his acting career, he launched another as a Christmas-tree farmer while still continuing as a lay minister before his sudden death in 1982.
Hugh Beaumont Biography
He was born Eugene Hugh Beaumont in Lawrence, Kansas, in the USA on the 16th day of February 1909 to Ethel Adaline Whitney and Edward H. Beaumont. He was of French descent and raised in a devout Methodist family. His father worked as a travelling salesman, a profession which kept his family continually on the move. He was highly athletic and would play football in college but also had fine acting skills.
Beaumont graduated from the Baylor School, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, after which he enrolled in the University of Chattanooga where he played football until his position on the team was changed. With the change, he left for the University of Southern California from where he graduated in 1946 with a Master of Theology degree. Although he carved a successful career in acting, he remained busy as a lay minister throughout his acting career.
In 1931, his career in show business started with performances in theatres, nightclubs, and radio. Nevertheless, he switched to motion pictures in 1940 and soon had his resume bursting with amazing roles and incredible versatility. Hugh Beaumont appeared in many films throughout the forties though many of his roles were bit parts and minor roles and thus, were uncredited.
Between 1946 and 1947, Beaumont took over the role of what would become one of his most famous characters, the fictional private detective Michael Shayne from Lloyd Nolan and appeared in five films as such. They include Murder Is My Business (1946), Larceny in Her Heart (1946), Blonde for a Day (1946), Three on a Ticket and Too Many Winners in 1947.
In the fifties, he tackled roles both on the television and in films as both an actor and narrator. He narrated the short film A Date with Your Family (1950) and from 1952 to 1953, he was the narrator of the series Racket Squad. He played Reverend Randy Roberts in an episode of The Lone Ranger which was more in tune with his real-life personality as against his role as an ex-convict in a 1953 episode of Adventures of Superman.
Prior to landing his most famous role as the head of the Cleaver clan, Ward Cleaver on the hit sitcom Leave It to Beaver in 1957, he acted in the western Night Passage and played a sympathetic version of the Western bandit Jesse James in Tales of Wells Fargo. Until the production ended and the series went into syndication in 1963, Hugh Beaumont acted in, wrote and directed several episodes of the show including its last episode, Family Scrapbook. In their June 2004 issue, TV Guide ranked his character #28 on their list of 50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time.
Following the series, Beaumont featured in many community theatre productions as well as played a few guest roles on television series while continuing as a lay minister on weekends. He also had success as a writer, selling his works to TV, radio, and magazines. His last role on the big screen was in the 1965 sci-fi film The Human Duplicators as Austin Welles while his final television appearance was in The Most Deadly Game (1971).
After he retired from show business, Hugh Beaumont launched another career as a Christmas-tree farmer in Minnesota. However, he was forced into a second retirement in 1972 after suffering a stroke.
Hugh Beaumont was one of those actors whose career was a delight to fans and colleagues alike, and he was highly successful therein. However, there is no specific amount attached to his net worth.
Hugh Beaumont’s Wife
The actor was married to Kathryn Adams who was also an actress from April 13, 1941, until their divorce 33 years later in 1974. Their union produced three children: two sons; Hunter, who is a psychology professor in Munich, Germany, and Mark, as well as a daughter named Kristy.
Hugh Beaumont died on the 14th day of May 1982 in Munich, Germany while visiting his son Hunter. His cause of death was stated as a heart attack. His body was cremated and the ashes scattered on the then family-owned island on Lake Wabana, Minnesota. The 1983 made-for-television movie Still the Beaver is dedicated to Beaumont.
Hugh Beaumont was a rather tall man when he was alive. While his TV wife, June Cleaver played by Barbara Billingsley had to wear heels from the season 2 of the show when her boys experienced a growth spurt, none of the kids came near him in height. He was 6 feet (1.83 m) tall.