'Leave It to Beaver' bully Lumpy, actor Frank Bank, dead at 71

After TV series, became a respected bond broker. Photo: AP file

LOS ANGELES, April 15, 2013 – Former actor Frank Bank, best known for his role as cloddish bully Clarence “Lumpy” Rutherford in the hit TV sitcom “Leave It to Beaver,” died on April 13 from undisclosed causes just a day after his 71st birthday. According to sources, he’d been hospitalized in Rancho Mirage, California, just prior to his passing.

Commented co-star Jerry Mathers—the show’s title character—on his Facebook page: “I was so sad to hear today of the passing of my dear friend and business associate Frank Bank, who played Lumpy on Leave it to Beaver. He was a character and always kept us laughing. My deepest condolences to Frank’s family.”

Born in L.A., Bank “first appeared on screen as the very young Will Rogers in the 1952 Warner Bros. biopic The Will Rogers Story,” according to Fox News, “and then managed to deliver other TV roles at the same time he was appearing on Leave It to Beaver.”

After the 1957-1963 series was canceled, Bank eventually became a successful stockbroker in the L.A. area—or, more specifically, a bond broker. Fox noted that

“According to a 1998 PEOPLE profile, Bank learned to handicap horses and read The Wall Street Journal during breaks on the Beaver set, where he also taught himself ‘everything there was to know about tax-free bonds.’ Within three years of getting started, he said, he was earning $300,000 a year at an L.A.-based company.”

Bank returned briefly as Lumpy when the series had a short reprise in 1983 and had occasional guest shots on game shows like “Hollywood Squares.” But his financial acumen proved a better way to earn a living, and he regarded himself as a fulltime businessman.

Bank is survived by his second wife, Rebecca, and two daughters from his first marriage. Final arrangements have not been disclosed as of this writing.

Below: A clip from “Leave It to Beaver” episode “Teacher’s Daughter.”

     * AP photo at the top of this article dates from 2007 and features surviving “Leave It to Beaver cast members seated from left: Jerry Mathers (The Beaver), Barbara Billingsley (his mother—later noted for her hilarious turn as “Jive Lady” in the 1980 comedy film “Airplane”—Tony Dow (Beaver’s brother Wally); top row standing from left: Frank Bank (Lumpy) and Ken Osmond (the notorious Eddie Haskell).


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Terry Ponick

Now writing on investing, politics, music, movies and theater for the Washington Times Communities, Terry was formerly the longtime music and culture critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2009) before moving online with Communities in 2010.  



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