Tony Dow dead at 77: Leave It To Beaver star passes away weeks after announcing cancer resurgence

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TONY Dow, one of the stars of the late-1950s sitcom Leave It To Beaver, has passed away at 77 after announcing his cancer resurgence.

The actor and his wife, Lauren Shulkind, announced his heartbreaking cancer diagnosis on May 5, saying Dow was approaching the illness “bravely.”

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Legendary sitcom actor Tony Dow has passed awayCredit: Getty

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Tony Dow was best known for his role as Wally Cleaver in the CBS comedy Leave It To BeaverCredit: Getty

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The case of Leave It To Beaver from bottom to top, Jerry Mathers (Beaver), Tony Dow (Wally), Barbara Billingsley (June), Hugh Beaumont (Ward)Credit: Getty

“Unfortunately, Tony has once again been diagnosed with cancer. He is approaching this reality so bravely, but it is truly heartbreaking,” the couple said in a joint statement on May 5.

“We want to thank you in advance for your caring thoughts.”

News of Dow’s health struggles became known last August when he was briefly hospitalized with pneumonia, which his family affirmed was not Covid related.

His worried wife shared that he was forced to wait 24 hours for a hospital bed as Delta variant Covid-19 cases surged in California at the time.

Despite a “violent cough” that was “causing pains on the top of his head,” Dow was in good spirits with no fever, just lots of IV fluids, Shulkind said at the time.

“He was up walking around yesterday and his doctors think he should be able to return home within the week,” his agent Frank Bilotta posted on his Facebook account at the time.

Dow, who celebrated his 77th birthday in April, was best known for playing Beaver’s older brother Wally Cleaver during the entire TV run of Leave it To Beaver.

The actor appeared in all 234 episodes of the series.

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Dow also starred in shows including The Greatest Show on Earth, Never Too Young, My Three Sons, Dr. Kildare and Lassie.

From 1983 to 1989, Dow revived his iconic role as Wally opposite Jerry Mathers in The New Leave It to Beaver.

In 2017, Dow reflected on his acting career and celebrated Leave It To Beaver’s 60th anniversary in an interview with the Arizona Republic.

“It’s nice to be remembered any way you can, so I have accomplished that,” Dow said at the time.

“I’m much more appreciative of the show. I was not unappreciative, but I was always a little rebellious.”

Dow is survived by his wife, Shulkind.

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Tony Dow and his wife Lauren ShulkindCredit: Instagram / Tony Dow

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