'Leave It to Beaver' co-star Tony Dow in hospice

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Actors Jerry Mathers (L) and Tony Dow, stars of the hit comedy series “Leave It To Beaver” act as presenters during a taping of the second annual TV Land Awards in Hollywood March 7, 2004. REUTERS/Fred Prouser/File Photo

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July 26 (Reuters) – Actor Tony Dow, best known for his role as Wally Cleaver in the 1950s American TV hit sitcom “Leave It to Beaver,” is alive but gravely ill, his management team said on Tuesday, correcting its earlier statement that he had died.

“This morning Tony’s wife Lauren, who was very distraught, had notified us that Tony had passed and asked that we notify all his fans,” the statement said. “We have since received a call from Tony’s daughter-in-law saying that while Tony is not doing well, he has not yet passed.”

The 77-year-old Dow, who has been diagnosed with cancer, is in hospice care, his son Christopher told Fox News Digital and other media.

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The statement from Dow’s management team said the actor’s son and daughter-in-law were “by his side comforting him.”

In “Leave It to Beaver,” Dow played the teenage older brother of the title character, Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver. Dow’s role in the show – which ran from 1957 to 1963 and depicted an idealized American family living a carefree life in a postwar suburb – made him a cultural icon.

In late May, Dow shared a Facebook message thanking his fans for their well-wishes and detailing his health progress, including his experience with cancer treatment.

Dow reprised his role as Wally Cleaver in the 1980s for a spinoff movie, “Still the Beaver,” and a TV series, “The New Leave It to Beaver.” He also appeared in the daytime series “General Hospital.”

Dow is credited as director for more than a dozen TV shows, including “The New Leave it to Beaver” And “Harry and the Hendersons” in the 1990s.

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Reporting by Tyler Clifford; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Howard Goller

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