Tony Dow, who became known to millions of TV viewers as the amiable, protective big brother Wally Cleaver of the iconic 1950s TV series Leave It to Beaver, and its 1980s sequel, has passed away. He died with his loving family by his side at his home in Topanga. He was 77.
“We know that the world is collectively saddened by the loss of this incredible man,” a post on Dow’s official Facebook page reads. “He gave so much to us all and was loved by so many.
A statement by his son from his first marriage, Christopher, was also included in the post, where he described Dow as “the best dad anyone could ask for.” In fact, the actor has been more than a father to him. He said Dow had been his coach, mentor, the voice of reason, best friend, even his best man during his wedding – and of course, his hero. Meanwhile, Christopher’s wife remembered Dow as a “kind man” with “such a huge heart.”
The announcement of Dow’s death came after a tumultuous day for his family, wherein his passing was mistakenly posted on Facebook but was subsequently taken down. His wife, Lauren Shulkind, shared the wrong information with his management team but later confirmed that her husband was still alive. She regrets the miscommunication and the commotion it had brought during a challenging time.
A Beloved Actor We Will Never Forget
Tony Dow was only twelve when Leave it to Beaver debuted on CBS in 1957. His character had graduated from Mayfield High School and was ready to move for college when the feel-good, family comedy show completed its original run.
From there, Tony Dow’s career in television spanned seven decades. He also had modest success as a sculptor, with most of his works appearing in galleries and international exhibitions.
He is survived by his wife, son, and granddaughter.