(CTN News) – Actor and director Tony Dow, best known as Wally Cleaver to Jerry Mathers’ Beaver in the iconic series “Leave It to Beaver,” has died. He was 77 years old.
Tony Dow died Tuesday morning, according to his official Facebook page. “We share with you with an extremely heavy heart the passing of our beloved Tony this morning. The message from Tony’s management team read, “Tony was a beautiful soul – kind, compassionate, funny, and humble.
Dow and his wife Lauren announced in May that he had relapsed with cancer, which he had been diagnosed with years before.
“Tony Dow was not only my brother on TV, but also in many ways in life,” Mathers wrote on Facebook. It will be impossible for me to fill the void left by Tony in my heart.
Having been able to share memories with him for 65 years was my honor and privilege because he was always the kindest, most generous, gentle, loving, sincere, and humble man I have ever known.”
Tony Dow was born in Hollywood, and his mother was a stuntwoman and Clara Bow’s double. The Junior Olympics diving champion had no show business experience when he tagged along with a friend and ended up auditioning for and winning the Wally role. “Leave it to Beaver” began airing in 1957 and lasted until 1963.
A popular black-and-white sitcom, starring Barbara Billingsley and Hugh Beaumont as long-suffering, understanding parents who raised their children in an idealized family.
It followed the adventures of Beaver, his practical brother Wally, their devious friend Eddie Haskell, and their long-suffering, but understanding, friend Eddie Haskell.
It was Bob Mosher and Joe Connelly who wrote the show, who based the characters on their own children, including details such as Wally’s constant hair-combing that they observed in their own teenagers.
As the show came to an end, Wally was about to start college while Beaver was ready for high school.
Dow returned in the 1980s for the TV movie “Still the Beaver” and series “The New Leave It to Beaver,” for which he also directed five episodes and wrote one.
With his many years of acting experience, he has been able to transition from acting to writing, producing, and directing.
Tony Dow has directed part of several episodes of Harry and the Hendersons, Coach, Babylon 5, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine while continuing to act.
Appearances of Tony Dow:
Aside from his appearances on “Leave It to Beaver,” Dow has also appeared on other television shows like “General Hospital,” “Mr. Noel,” “Never Too Young,” “Lassie,” “Love, American Style,” “Square Pegs” and “The Love Boat,” on which he appears as himself. Besides playing himself in “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star” starring a number of former child actors as cameos,
He also appeared in the skit comedy film “The Kentucky Fried Movie” directed by John Landis, featuring skits from various former child actors.
In his 20s, Dow struggled with depression, producing a self-help video titled “Beating the Blues,” which he posted on YouTube in an attempt to help others, and he later fought cancer twice in his life.
His other interests include sculpting and the starting up of a construction company that he owns and operates.
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