Leave it to Beaver star Tony Dow alive despite death post - UPDATE

Published By Tribute on Jul 27, 2022

Leave It To Beaver star Tony Dow, who played Wally

After an official statement was released reporting Tony Dow's death, his family revealed Tuesday evening that the actor was still alive and in hospice care.

Dow's management announced in the now deleted Facebook post that the actor had passed on Tuesday morning and several major media outlets published the news. Only hours later, Dow's son, Christopher Dow, reported that Tony was still alive and at home.

It's believed the miscommunication came from Tony's wife, Lauren, who mistakenly inferred that her husband had passed. This comes three months after Tony and Lauren made a joint Facebook statement revealing Tony's cancer diagnosis.

Christopher wrote an update to the story on Facebook yesterday: "This is a difficult time. Dad is at home, under hospice care, and in his last hours. My wife and I are by his side, along with many friends that have visited. He has a fighting heart."

In the report's aftermath, celebrities and friends paid tribute to Dow over social media. Amongst the celebrities were Leave it to Beaver co-star Jerry Mathers, Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, and actor Alan Tudyk, who wrote that Dow was a "Hell of a carpenter" who had "built the beach house I lived in when I first moved to Los Angeles to shoot Firefly."

Tony Dow achieved stardom when he was cast as Wally Cleaver, older brother of Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver (Jerry Mathers) on the beloved sitcom Leave it to Beaver throughout the series' 1957-1963 run.

In an interview with CBS Sunday Morning earlier this year, he said about being cast on the show, "There went my life." He added, "It's sad to be famous at 12 years old or something, and then you grow up and become a real person, and nothing's happened for you." He spoke of the undiagnosed depression he experienced from age 20 to 40. Once diagnosed, he began to experience hope and in 1993, was an honorary speaker at a convention for the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association.

Dow went on to reprise his role for the TV movie Still the Beaver in 1983 and on the revival series The New Leave It to Beaver, which ran from 1983-1989, and played other roles over the years. His latest credits were on the TV series Suspense with two different roles in 2015 and 2016. ~Megan Parsons

Update: Tony Dow has died at the age of 77 (Wednesday, July 27, 2022). The news was confirmed today at 4 p.m. on his official Facebook page by his reps, who received the news from Christopher.

Comments & Discussion

  1. Emma • 7/27/2022 4:28:44 PM

    RIP Mr. Dow. I used to watch Leave it to Beaver every day after school, such a cute, wholesome show and Wally and the Beav had such a great relationship with each other and their parents.

  2. Inkan1969 • 7/29/2022 1:41:31 PM

    I guess Tony got an extra day of life.

  3. John • 7/29/2022 4:34:16 PM

    Loved the wholesome family unit that always taught us life lessons growing up. Wally was the best big brother ever just loved how he stood up for the beaver and what a bicep Wally had at such a young age! America could use a Wally Cleaver about now, what a wonderful role model. He will be sorely missed! One last post script whenever I was feeling a little down after school it took just one episode of Leave it to Beaver to make whatever sadness I had to go away! My condolences to the Dow family.

  4. David Silvia • 8/2/2022 3:00:29 PM

    Wally was a good roll model for me interacting with my younger brother. I wanted to be that wholesome young man he portrayed. The show set a standard and good moral compass to live by . Thank you Wally . You will be missed by me and my friends

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