Jerry Mathers Searched For Decades To Reunite With Larry Mondello
Rusty Stevens is best known for his role as Larry Mondello, the best friend of “The Beaver” on the classic American sitcom “Leave It to Beaver.” However, before his work on that show, Stevens had a successful career as a child actor, appearing in numerous television shows and films in the 1950s and early 1960s.
One of Stevens’ final roles from this era was on the popular Western series “The Rifleman.” He appeared in the show’s fourth season in an episode titled “The High Country,” which aired in 1962. In the episode, Stevens played a young boy named Billy Gibbs, who befriends the show’s main character, Lucas McCain, played by Chuck Connors.
After his work on “The Rifleman,” Stevens largely disappeared from the public eye, and nobody was able to track him down for nearly two decades. It was not until the 1980s, when Jerry Mathers, Stevens’ former co-star on “Leave It to Beaver,” was working on the reunion movie “Still the Beaver,” that he was able to locate Stevens and bring him back into the spotlight.
Mathers’ search for Larry was a personal one, as the two had become close friends during their time on “Leave It to Beaver.” They had spent countless hours on set together, playing pranks and goofing around between takes, and they had formed a strong bond that continued even after the show ended.
As Mathers recalled in an interview with People magazine, “We were always together. He was the guy I did everything with, and we remained friends after the show ended. But then, suddenly, he was gone.” Despite the years that passed, Mathers never gave up hope of finding his friend.
Stevens’ return to the world of “Leave It to Beaver” was a welcome one for fans of the show. His portrayal of Larry Mondello had been a key part of the show’s early seasons, and his friendship with Jerry Mathers was an important aspect of the show’s charm.
In “Still the Beaver,” Stevens reprised his role as Larry Mondello, who had grown up to become a successful businessman. The reunion movie was a hit with fans, and it led to Stevens making three guest appearances on “The New Leave It to Beaver,” which followed the Cleaver family as they navigated life in the 1980s.
For Stevens, returning to the world of “Leave It to Beaver” was a chance to reconnect with his former co-stars and revisit a beloved character from his past. He later recalled in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, “I had such a good time doing it. We were like a family, and it was great to be back with everyone.”