Tony Dow dead: Wally Cleaver on ‘Leave It to Beaver’ Was 77

Tony Dow dead: Tony Dow, an actor and director, has passed away. He is most well-known for his role as Wally Cleaver, the stalwart older brother of Beaver, played by Jerry Mathers in the legendary television series “Leave It to Beaver.” He was 77.

Tuesday was the day that the announcement was made public on his official Facebook page.

The news of the passing of their “beloved Tony” this morning was shared with the public by his management team in an announcement that began, “It is with an extremely heavy heart that we share with you.”

 Tony Dow dead: Wally Cleaver on ‘Leave It to Beaver’ Was 77

Tony Dow dead

“Tony possessed a truly beautiful soul; he was compassionate, funny, and humble all at the same time. Simply being in his presence brought a smile to my face. His soft tone and unpretentious demeanour immediately put people at ease, and it was impossible not to fall in love with him.”

Dow’s mother was an early stunt woman and Clara Bow’s double, and Dow was born in Hollywood, where his mother worked. When he tagged along with a friend and ended up auditioning for and winning the role of Wally, he had very little experience in the entertainment industry despite the fact that he had won the diving competition at the Junior Olympics.

The sitcom “Leave it to Beaver” debuted on television in 1957 and remained on the air until 1963. The popular black-and-white sitcom followed the mischievous young Beaver, his practical brother Wally, their devious friend Eddie Haskell, and their long-suffering but understanding parents played by Barbara Billingsley and Hugh Beaumont. The sitcom was centred around the typical idealised family of the time.

The writers of the show, Bob Mosher and Joe Connelly, based the characters on their own children. They incorporated details like Wally’s constant hair-combing that they saw in their own teenagers into the show, based on what they saw in their own children. As the series drew to a close, Wally was getting ready to enrol in college, and Beaver was getting ready for his senior year of high school.

In the 1980s, Dow reprised his role as Beaver in the television movies “Still the Beaver” and “The New Leave It to Beaver.” He also directed five episodes of “The New Leave It to Beaver” and wrote one of the episodes.

While he continued to act, he transitioned into writing, producing, and directing. He directed multiple episodes of “Harry and the Hendersons,” “Coach,” “Babylon 5,” “Honey I Shrunk the Kids,” and one episode of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” He also produced several episodes of “Babylon 5.”

Following his success on “Leave It to Beaver,” Dow went on to star in a number of successful television series, including “General Hospital,” “Mr. Novak,” “Never Too Young,” “Lassie,” “Love, American Style,” “Square Pegs,” and “The Love Boat,” in which he portrayed himself. In addition, he portrayed himself in the comedy film “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star” from 2003, which also featured cameos from dozens of former child actors. He also made an appearance in the John Landis skit comedy feature “The Kentucky Fried Movie.”