One of my all time favorite shows - Leave it to Beaver - in fact, I still watch the reruns!
'Leave It to Beaver' Actor Dies at 53
Stanley Fafara, who played Beaver's friend Whitey Whitney on the 1950s and early 1960s sitcom "Leave It to Beaver," died on Saturday, September 20 of complications from surgery to repair a constricted intestine caused by a hernia, reports Reuters. He had slipped into a coma and was kept alive until life support was removed. Fafara was 53 years old. News of Fafara's death was just now released. Although he played a part on a TV show that came to symbolize an idyllic American family life, Fafara's own life was far from that. Instead, it was filled with drugs, alcohol, and petty crime, notes Reuters. Fafara's health was compromised by a hepatitis C infection he contracted years ago from intravenous drug use.
Fafara grew up in the Los Angeles suburbs. It was his mother who pushed him into acting, first in commercials and later in the plum role of the tow-headed friend to Jerry Mathers' character of Beaver Cleaver. Fafara also appeared in one episode of "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin." By his own account, he started drinking and doing drugs as a teenager, and by his early 20s he was dealing drugs. In the early 1980s, he was caught breaking into a pharmacy and was sentenced to a year in jail for burglary. It wasn't until 1995 that Fafara sobered up. At the end of his life, he was residing in subsidized housing and living on a Social Security check.
Reuters reports that Fafara recently said in an online interview that it was his character of Whitey who uttered the first line spoken on the show, asking Mathers' character, "What did she do to you, Beaver?" as the Beav emerged from his teacher's classroom with a note to bring home to his parents.
His life sure turned out sad.