Hugh Beaumont’s portrayal of “Ward Cleaver” on the series Leave It to Beaver made an actor who had played heavies most of his career into one of America’s favorite TV fathers. Born Eugene Hugh Beaumont in Lawrence, Kansas, the athletic Beaumont attended the University of Chattanooga but left due to unhappiness with his position on the football team. He finished his education years later at the University of Southern California, where he earned a masters degree in Theology His performing career began on the radio in 1931. His film career began in 1940 in Good Bad Boys. In addition to acting on Leave It to Beaver, Beaumont wrote and directed a number of episodes. Beaumont suffered a heart attack heart May 14, 1982, while visiting his son, Hunter, a professor of psychology in Munich, Germany.