LOS ANGELES — Frank Bank, who as Clarence “Lumpy” Rutherford served as the dim-witted foil to “Beaver” Cleaver and brother Wally on the classic TV comedy “Leave It to Beaver,” died Saturday. He was 71.
A spokesman for Hillside Memorial Park in Los Angeles confirmed Bank’s death but did not disclose where he died or the cause.
Bank had a number of illnesses and was hospitalized recently in Rancho Mirage, Calif., said Jerry Mathers, who played Beaver Cleaver in the popular series that ran from 1957 to 1963.
“Leave It to Beaver” revolved around young Beaver and his misadventures, which usually involved the teenage Wally and Wally’s friends – skinny, sarcastic Eddie Haskell and oafish, overweight Lumpy, who loved pushing Beaver around.
“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,” Mathers told the Los Angeles Times this week. “The show was about all the people you knew growing up and throughout your life, and Frank brought that perspective to the show.”
After the show ended, Bank was chosen to play comic book character Archie Andrews in the pilot for a new series but found he could not shake his previous TV identity. “That’s not Archie, that’s Lumpy,” Bank, in a 1998 People magazine interview, recalled hearing the sponsor say.
Discouraged by the typecasting, he decided to give up on acting to pursue business.