Tony Dow Dead; ‘Leave It To Beaver’ Actor Dies at 77

TL;DR:

  • Leave It to Beaver actor Tony Dow has died at the age of 77.
  • Dow played the role of Wally Cleaver in the 1950s sitcom.
  • The actor announced his cancer diagnosis back in May.
'Leave It to Beaver' actor Tony Dow, who has been declared dead at age 77. In the photo, he's smiling and wearing a dark green shirt and jacket.
Tony Dow | Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

Actor Tony Dow, best known for his role in the 1950s sitcom Leave It to Beaver, has been pronounced dead at the age of 77. The news was shared on the actor’s official Facebook profile, and it comes months after the star’s cancer diagnosis was revealed. Dow had a long acting career after his time as Wally Cleaver on Leave It to Beaver. Read on to learn more about the life of the sitcom star.

Tony Dow dead at age 77

On July 27, a statement posted to Leave It to Beaver star Tony Dow’s Facebook page revealed that the actor was dead at age 77. Dow’s team received confirmation from his son, Christopher. The statement begins as follows:

“We have received confirmation from Christopher, Tony’s son, that Tony passed away earlier this morning, with his loving family at his side to see him through this journey.

We know that the world is collectively saddened by the loss of this incredible man. He gave so much to us all and was loved by so many. One fan said it best — ‘It is rare when there is a person who is so universally loved like Tony.'”

The team went on to offer condolences to Dow’s family, asking fans to respect their wishes for privacy. Fans responded in the comments with kind words about Dow and his acting career.

The actor played Wally Cleaver on the ’50s sitcom ‘Leave It to Beaver’

Tony Dow was born on April 13, 1945, in Hollywood, California. His father was a general contractor and his mother, Muriel Virginia Dow, was a stunt double and movie double for actor Clara Bow.

Despite no acting experience or interest in performing arts, Dow landed the role of Wally Cleaver in the sitcom Leave It To Beaver in 1957. Dow originally accompanied a friend to a different audition before deciding to audition for the part of Theodore “The Beaver” Cleaver’s older brother.

Dow played the role until the show’s end in 1963. He appeared in several other TV shows, including My Three Sons, Mr. Novak, and Never Too Young. Dow reprised his role as Wally Cleaver in the 1983 TV movie Still the Beaver and in four seasons of the revival The New Leave It To Beaver.

Outside of acting, Dow served in the U.S. National Guard from 1965 to 1968. He also had a successful career as a sculptor creating abstract bronze art.

Tony Dow announced his cancer diagnosis back in May

On May 5, 2022, a statement on Tony Dow’s Facebook page announced he had been diagnosed with cancer. No further details were provided at the time, other than that it was not his first bout with the disease.

On July 26, a Facebook post from Dow’s managers erroneously announced the actor’s death after being notified by his wife, Lauren Shulkind. However, his family later clarified that Dow was still alive but under hospice care. 

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