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Thread: Tony Dow, Wally Cleaver on 'Leave It to Beaver,' dies at 77

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    Tony Dow, Wally Cleaver on 'Leave It to Beaver,' dies at 77

    nbcnews.com
    Tony Dow, Wally Cleaver on 'Leave It to Beaver,' dies at 77 a day after death was prematurely announced
    By Minyvonne Burke and Diana Dasrath



    "Leave It to Beaver" actor Tony Dow has died following a recent cancer diagnosis, his family and representatives confirmed on Wednesday. He was 77.

    Dow’s manager, Frank Bilotta, spoke to NBC News and confirmed the death, saying the actor and director had been diagnosed with liver cancer.

    “Although this is a very sad day, I have comfort and peace that he is in a better place,” his son, Christopher Dow, said in a statement posted to his father's official Facebook page. "He was the best Dad anyone could ask for. He was my coach, my mentor, my voice of reason, my best friend, my best man in my wedding, and my hero."

    "My wife said something powerful and shows the kind of man he was. She said: 'Tony was such a kind man. He had such a huge heart and I’ve never heard Tony say a bad or negative thing about anyone.'”

    Dow's management team had announced that he died on Tuesday, but later in the day said the announcement was inaccurate and that he was still alive in hospice.

    "This is a difficult time. Dad is at home, under hospice care, and in his last hours. My wife and I are by his side along with many friends that have visited. He has a fighting heart," Christopher Dow wrote on Tuesday following the confusion.
    Image: Tony Dow as "Wally" in "Leave it to Beaver."
    Tony Dow as Wally in "Leave It to Beaver."ABC Photo Archives / Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

    Dow, best known for playing Wally Cleaver on the iconic television show "Leave It to Beaver," told fans in May that his cancer, which he had treated previously, had returned. The actor, his family and his management team kept fans updated on his condition in several Facebook posts.

    "Hi Guys … how are you all doing? As you probably know I’ve had some health issues recently and I wanted to keep you up-to-date. I’m beginning Immunotherapy and it seems to be working," Dow wrote May 29. "I can now get up and walk without assistance and feel improvement every day."

    The actor went on to thank his fans for their thoughts, prayers and well wishes.

    "It’s amazing how the world could change with more love and respect," he wrote. "Let’s try our best to 'make this world a better place' for our friends, families, and even our adversaries."

    Dow, born in Hollywood, California, was introduced to the entertainment industry at an early age. His mother, Muriel Montrose, was a stuntwoman and double for actor Clara Bow. His father, John Stevens, was a designer and contractor who built homes for people in the film industry, according to Dow's biography.

    "Leave It to Beaver" aired from 1957 to 1963 and centered on the typical idealized family of the time as it followed the adventures of 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 show’s writers, Bob Mosher and Joe Connelly, based the characters on their own children.

    In addition to acting, Dow was a director, writer and producer working on several episodes of “Harry and the Hendersons,” “Coach,” “Babylon 5” and “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” and an episode of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”

    In the 1980s, he returned as Wally for the TV movie “Still the Beaver” and the series “The New Leave It to Beaver,” for which he also directed five episodes and wrote one.

    Dow is survived by his wife, Lauren, and his son, Christopher, from his first marriage, with Carol Marlow.

    Minyvonne Burke is a senior breaking news reporter for NBC News.

    Diana Dasrath is entertainment producer and senior reporter for NBC News covering all platforms.

    Variety contributed.
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    From the archives of the pre-corporate homogenized days of KISW radio.

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    I was honestly kinda surprised to hear that Jerry Mathers was still alive: dunno why, but I presumed he had already passed away, too.
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    If this picture is any indication, Beav might not be too far behind him....


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    I never watched that show. I never watched Mr. Ed either.
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    Tony Dow on General Hospital - 1975


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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitro Express View Post
    I never watched that show. I never watched Mr. Ed either.
    I watched them both in syndication in the 1970s. Even as a kid, I didn't particularly like either of them, and neither got any better with age.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FORD View Post
    If this picture is any indication, Beav might not be too far behind him....

    It looked like Dow aged a bit better than Beav...well, until he didn't, anyway.

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    Clearly, Beav isn't addicted to Botox.

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