"Lumpy was the ultimate bully, but Frank was a very, very kind and gentle person and a very good actor to play it so well," Jerry Mathers told The LA Times. "The show was about all the people you knew growing up and throughout your life, and Frank brought that perspective to the show."
Good 'Ol Lumpy...Frank Bank had a brief acting career in the 1950s and early 1960s...He made his acting debut in 1950 with an uncredited appearance in the movie "Cargo to Capetown." He had a few small parts on television shows before joining the cast of "Leave It to Beaver" and becoming forever known as LUMPY! Lumpy was Wally's good friend and he was a hefty, dim-witted teenager who liked to pick on the Beaver and "give him the Business"! Mr. Bank appeared in 50 episodes of the original run of Leave it to Beaver leading to him being casted as Clarence Rutherford in 101 episodes of the series sequel, The New Leave It to Beaver, which aired from 1985 to 1989. However, Bank, despite his early rise to TV-stardom, vanished from show business after Leave it to Beaver left the air waves. He was rumored to have married either screen sex-goddess Raquel Welch or Barbara Billingsley, who played Beaver’s mother June Cleaver. But the truth was about Bank perhaps even more surprising:
Jokes and rumors fly around saying that he may have been the "Wilt Chamberlain" of late 1950s. As you may have guessed we’re not talking about Chamberlain’s prowess on the court. In his 1997 autobiography, Call Me Lumpy, Bank claimed that in his brief run as a "TV star", he slept with more than 1,000 women ... a number that, in a subsequent interview, he recalculated at closer to 1,400. He acknowledged that his claim “may seem preposterous when you think of the muddled, dumpy, awkward character most people saw in me when I played Lumpy Rutherford.” It should be mentioned that other cast members expressed some skepticism about his claims. “I never pictured Frank as being Don Juan,” Ken Osmond told People magazine in 1998.
Just like a couple of the other cast members on the show Frank Bank left the acting world because of being typecast as "Lumpy". After the run of Leave it to Beaver, Bank got a chance to play the lead in a pilot for a live-action series based on the Archie comic books. This opportunity quickly came to an end after a representative of the program’s sponsor (a tobacco company) made the following statement: “I love the show, but I can’t get it out of my head that that’s Lumpy on screen, not Archie.” Bank was quoted as comparing this situation to that of George Reeve, the TV actor who struggled to get other roles after playing in Superman. Overwhelmed with frustration, Frank gave up all together on acting. Several decades later, he did make a brief comeback as a middle-aged version of his character, Lumpy, in the made-for-TV reunion movie, Still the Beaver, and in a rebootl of the original series that aired on the Disney Channel and TBS from 1985 to 1989.
It can be said that Bank was a real-life version of Alex P. Keaton. Like the famous Family Ties character (played, of course, by Michael J. Fox) from his youth Bank was driven by the business world and the overall art of making money. Frank Bank was often seen on the set of Leave it to Beaver reading the Wall Street Journal while the others actors on the show were seeking out the latest teeny-bopper mags! Bank did become a successful stockbroker, so I guess you can say that all that reading og the Wall Street journal paid off! By age 30 he was raking in $300,000 a year at a Los Angeles-based investment firm.
He actually managed the Cleaver family’s investments...no, really! According to a 1992 Associated Press article, some of Bank’s clients included Jerry Mathers (Beaver), Tony Dow (Wally Cleaver) and Barbara Billingsley (June Cleaver), in addition to Ken Osmond...Eddie!! “Frank is certainly brighter than Lumpy Rutherford, and a very good stockbroker,” Billingsley told People Magazine in 1998.
He always remained pretty quiet about his early stardom in the "biz"... Bank explains: “Beaver wasn’t a part of my life for many years. I never watched the reruns. I didn’t have anything to do with it, until my children were old enough to say, ‘Dad, what did you do?’ And then, they were so proud, I became proud.”
Sadly, Frank Bank passed away in 2013 the day after he turned 71...Forever our LUMPY.
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