“Leave It to Beaver” star Tony Dow is dead at 77.
The actor and director’s official Facebook page said Dow died Tuesday. No other details, including a cause of death, were announced.
“Tony was a beautiful soul – kind, compassionate, funny and humble. It was truly a joy to just be around him. His gentle voice and unpretentious manner was immediately comforting and you could not help but love him. The world has lost an amazing human being, but we are all richer for the memories that he has left us,” his management team and friends, Frank Bilotta and Renee James, wrote. “From the warm reminiscences 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 the feeling that you were a big brother to us all. We will miss you.”
According to Variety, Dow was born in Hollywood to a mother that worked as an early stunt woman and double for Clara Bow. He was a Junior Olympics diving champion, but eventually tried acting, auditioning for and winning the role of Wally, the older brother to Jerry Mathers’ Beaver on the classic family sitcom “Leave It to Beaver.”
“Leaver It to Beaver” aired from 1957 to 1963, following the misadventures of Beaver along with Wally and their friend Eddie Haskell (Ken Osmond); Barbara Billingsley and Hugh Beaumont played Wally and the Beav’s parents, June and Ward Cleaver. The black-and-white TV series was based on the actual children of show writers Bob Mosher and Joe Connelly and inspired several spinoffs and reboots, including a 1997 movie starring Christopher McDonald and Erik Von Detten.
Dow reprised his role of Wally in the 1983 TV movie “Still the Beaver” and the ‘80s series “The New Leaver It to Beaver,” for which he also directed five episodes and wrote one. His other acting roles included appearances on “General Hospital,” “Lassie,” “Square Pegs,” and “The Love Boat,” plus played himself in the 2003 David Spade movie “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star.”
Dow’s career also included directing episodes for TV shows like “Harry and the Hendersons,” “Coach,” “Babylon 5,” “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”
According to Variety, Dow is survived by his wife Lauren and two children.