Hugh Beaumont

Hugh Beaumont

A devout Methodist, he originally studied for the clergy but eventually switched to acting, remaining busy as a lay minister, however, throughout his acting career.

After suffering his 1972 stroke, he was told by doctors that he would never walk or talk again, but he proved otherwise and recovered enough to do some directing and community theater work.

Also writing and directing several episodes of his famous series "Leave It to Beaver" (1957), including the final, retrospective episode, "Family Scrapbook", his portrayal of Ward Cleaver ranked #28 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" in the June 20, 2004, issue.

Appeared on the sly in educational and industrial films as both an actor and narrator.

At one time he owned a lake house in Northern Minnesota.

Attended and played football at the University of Chattanooga in Tennessee, but left when his position on the football team was changed. He later attended the University of Southern California (USC), and graduated with a Master of Theology degree.

Beaumont was an ordained minister.

Had two sons and a daughter. One of his sons established himself as a psychology professor in Munich, Germany.

In Hollywood from 1940, he rose quickly up the ranks while many of the big stars were serving WWII duty (Hugh was a conscientious objector). His mild resemblance to actor Lloyd Nolan enabled Beaumont to inherit Nolan's leading movie persona of detective Michael Shayne in a series of "B" crimers. After the war he returned primarily to supporting roles in film.

Retired from show business in the late 1960s, launching a second career as a Christmas-tree farmer in Minnesota. He was forced to slow down after suffering a stroke in 1972.

Spent much of his later years growing Christmas trees on Balgillo Island, which he owned, in northern Minnesota.

The son of Ethel Adaline Whitney and Edward H. Beaumont, he was of French descent and was born with a very rare blood type, reportedly shared only with the Hapsburg royal family.

Wife Kathryn Adams, who was an actress when they met, retired from films after their 1942 marriage to raise a family of two sons and a daughter. She did return once, however, to co-star with Hugh in the film Blonde for a Day (1946). They divorced in 1974.