The 1950s and the stream of child actors! Leave it to Beaver was certainly responsible for paving the way for brilliant careers and timeless entertainment! Let's look at LARRY!!
Larry was played by child actor Robert "Rusty" Stevens and he appears in 68 of the show's 234 episodes over the first few seasons. Although Larry is mentioned in the premiere episode, "Beaver Gets 'Spelled", it isn't until the 8th episode, "Beaver's Crush", that he actually makes his first appearance. Larry is Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver's chubby, not "the brightest" classmate and best friend known for his apple-eating, candy bar-munching ways. Larry has a special knack for leading Beaver down a path and getting him into trouble.
Larry's mother, Margaret (portrayed by Madge Blake), is a nervous parent, whose husband is usually out-of-town on business. The phrase "If your father were home . . ." comes out of her mouth,quite often, in almost every episode in which she appears. Mrs. Mondello sometimes takes Larry to Beaver's father, Ward, for discipline. Larry's father makes one small appearance, however; he is seen talking to Larry backstage in the second season episode, "School Play". Larry has older siblings, including a married brother and an 18-year-old sister (age mentioned in the 3rd season) and a little brother mentioned in the 1958 Episode 'Beaver & Henry' who live at home. In one episode, Mrs. Mondello catches Larry and Beaver reading Larry's sister's diary. Reports from various characters on the show indicate Larry's home life is one of constant yelling and physical discipline.
Larry and Beaver have an on-again/off-again friendship. The boys sometimes fight but make up pretty quickly. They are in the same class together at Grant Avenue Grammar School and are forced to attend ballroom dance lessons at Miss Spencer's School of the Dance on Saturdays. In one episode, Larry runs away from home in, but only as far as Beaver's bathroom where he sleeps in the bath tub. In another episode, Larry throws his mother's pin money out the window, picks it up later, and claims the money fell from a passing airplane.
Born on November 25th, 1948...Actor Stevens left the show when his family moved from Burbank, California, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a move which forced Stevens's acting career to an end. According to Barbara Billingsley (in her TV Archive interview), his character was written out because of his overly ambitious stage mother causing a lot of problems with the shows, producers. Stevens rebooted his role of Larry Mondello in the 1983 reunion telemovie, Still the Beaver. A real-life private eye tracked Stevens down in the '80s, when CBS wanted him for its sequel "Still the Beaver," but his wife assured the detective they had the wrong house. Rusty Stevens, who sold insurance in New Jersey, had never told his wife that he was a child actor. How crazy is that?! Imagine withholding that type of info??
Overall, it was the amazing supporting cast on Leave it to Beaver which really helped the show acheive iconic status. Quite obviously the cast of regulars were loaded with over the top talent but the production team always kept a keen eye on who was passing through the sets in support. Throughout the 234 episode run we really saw a HUGE list of amazing supporting cast members...Robert "Rusty" Stevens being one of the memorable faces that we cherish about this classic show! And just for fun: Larry Mondello is referenced by songwriter Frank Zappa at the end of a live performance, introducing the entire band each as Larry Mondello, hearing a fan yell from the crowd "Where's Beaver?"Go to page 1