‘Leave It to Beaver’ star Tony Dow dies at 77

Tony Dow, best known for his role as big brother Wally in the classic TV sitcom ‘Leave It to Beaver’, has died. He was 77.

His management team announced the news of his death on his official Facebook page on Tuesday morning.

“It is with an extremely heavy heart that we share with you this morning the passing of our beloved Tony,” the message read.

“Tony was a beautiful soul – kind, compassionate, funny and humble. It was a real pleasure just to be around him. His soft voice and unpretentious manner were instantly comforting and you couldn’t help but love him The world has lost a great person, but we are all richer because of the memories he left us.”

The post — written by Frank Bilotta and Renee James, who managed the star and called themselves “best friends” — also thanked fans for their support.

“From the fond memories of Wally Cleaver to those of us fortunate enough to know him personally – thank you Tony. And thank you for the reflections of a simpler time, the laughter, the friendship and for feeling like a big brother to us.” all was. We will miss you.”

Tony Dow

He is survived by his wife, Lauren, and two children.

A cause of death was not immediately given.

The actor, who played Wally Cleaver in the iconic 1950s sitcom, announced that he was diagnosed with cancer on May 5.

His wife shared the news and thanked fans for their prayers, but did not disclose the type of cancer Dow was battling, according to TMZ.

LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, (above) Tony Dow, Barbara Billingsley, Hugh Beaumo
“Leave It to Beaver” aired from 1957 to 1963.
Everett Collection

The Hollywood resident’s health problems first surfaced in August 2021, when he was briefly hospitalized with pneumonia.

“Tony’s spirit is positive,” Lauren wrote on Facebook last year. “He gets his daily exercise by walking the halls with his nurse. If only he could get rid of that damn cough. It’s going to take a while.”

She noted at the time that he had a “violent cough” at the time that “caused pain on his crown.”

Dow played Wally, the older brother of Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver (Jerry Mathers), on the original series from 1957 to 1963 for six seasons.

He later reprized his role in the sequel to the sitcom, “The New Leave It to Beaver,” in 1983. The show aired for four seasons until 1989. The new series followed the Cleaver children as adults coping with their family problems.

Jerry Mathers, Barbara Billingsley and Tony Dow
Jerry Mathers, Barbara Billingsley and Tony Dow celebrated the 50th anniversary of the beloved sitcom in 2007.

Aside from “Leave It to Beaver,” Dow found success with guest starring roles on shows like “My Three Sons,” “Dr. Kildare,” “Lassie” and “The Greatest Show on Earth,” before taking on recurring roles on “Mr. Nova.” He also got behind the camera, directing episodes of TV shows like “Coach,” “Babylon 5” and “Harry and the Hendersons.”

In 1965, he took a break from acting to serve with the National Guard for three years. He even tried to write and entered journalism school in the 1970s.

Dow also spent the decade making guest spots on ‘Adam-12’, ‘The Mod Squad’ and ‘Love American Style’.

In the 1980s, he took on roles in the projects “Knight Rider”, “Square Pegs” and “Murder, She Wrote”.

In the 1990s, the filmmaker took some time behind the camera. He did some directing work for episodes of series like ‘Babylon 5’ and ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’.

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