The Only Major Actors Still Alive From Leave It To Beaver

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Written By Sedoso Feb

After Larry Mondello hit the road, Gilbert Bates became Beaver’s number-one friend and sidekick. “I was the blond kid with big ears who usually manipulated the gullible Beaver Cleaver into committing some minor transgression,” Talbot recalled in a 1997 Salon piece that attempted to grapple with his sitcom legacy. Unlike other actors who either still praise “Beaver” or don’t give interviews at all, Talbot openly questioned the show’s place in the zeitgeist after he went on to become an activist, prolific reporter, and documentary producer. “Boomers still dominate the culture, and God knows boomers are a narcissistic, self-referential, TV generation,” Talbot wrote in Salon when unpacking the show’s enduring appeal. He also acknowledged the show’s “retro appeal, even if we all know the image wasn’t reality.”

Talbot may have turned down the “Leave it to Beaver” reunion projects, but he’s still spent plenty of time in the filmmaking world — largely as a reporter and non-fiction producer. Over the years, Talbot has worked with PBS, Frontline, KQED, and more, earning accolades for his coverage of everything from Iraq to Rush Limbaugh to corrupt judges. He’s directed two films, “The Long March of Newt Gingrich” and this year’s PBS doc about Nixon-era protests, “The Movement and the ‘Madman.'”

Talbot’s works have won Emmys and Peabodies, and he’s not the only family member making critically acclaimed works: Joe Talbot, the filmmaker behind the phenomenal 2019 film “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” is Stephen’s nephew. Talbot didn’t act much after his turn on “Leave it to Beaver,” but you can spot him in two other TV classics, “Perry Mason” and “The Twilight Zone.”


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