Tony Dow, the actor best known for his role as Wally Cleaver in the popular television show “Leave It To Beaver,” has died at the age of 77.
Dow’s management team announced his death on the actor’s Facebook page on Tuesday.
“It is with an extremely heavy heart that we share with you the passing of our beloved Tony this morning,” the statement read. “Tony was a beautiful soul – kind, compassionate, funny and humble. It was truly a joy to just be around him. His gentle voice and unpretentious manner was immediately comforting and you could not help but love him.”
Managers and friends Frank Bilotta and Renee James referred to Dow as a “big brother” to us all.
“The world has lost an amazing human being, but we are all richer for the memories that he has left us. From the warm reminiscences of Wally Cleaver to those of us fortunate enough to know him personally – thank you Tony,” they added. “And thank you for the reflections of a simpler time, the laughter, the friendship and for the feeling that you were a big brother to us all. We will miss you.”
Dow’s passing came just over two months after his wife, Lauren Shulkind, announced the return of his cancer on May 5, according to The Sun.
“Unfortunately, Tony has once again been diagnosed with cancer. He is approaching this reality so bravely, but it is truly heartbreaking,” the couple shared at the time. “We want to thank you in advance for your caring thoughts.”
Dow also made headlines after health problems last August when he battled pneumonia. The actor had reportedly tested negative for COVID-19.
The actor appears in all 234 episodes of the classic “Leave It To Beaver” series as the older brother of The Beaver. The program was a fixture in many American homes, running from 1957 to 1963.
Dow returned to the role as Wally in 1983 in “Still the Beaver” and on “The New Leave It To Beaver” which aired from 1983 to 1989.
The star also appeared in numerous other television shows and films, including “Murder, She Wrote,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” and “Babylon 5.”
In addition to his acting career, Dow served as a director for both television and film projects, including the well-known “Coach” sitcom and the movie “Harry and the Hendersons.”
Beyond the actor’s well-known work in the film industry, Dow served in the Nation Guard from 1965 to 1968.
Variety also reported that Dow battled depression in his younger years, making the self-help video “Beating the Blue” to help others. He was also known as a sculptor and at one time launched a construction company.
Dow is survived by his wife Lauren and two children.