'Leave It to Beaver' star Tony Dow dies at 77: 'Lost an amazing human being'

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(NEXSTAR) – Tony Dow, who starred as Wally Cleaver on “Leave It to Beaver,” has died, his management team confirmed in a statement shared to his official Facebook page.

Dow, 77, had recently been diagnosed with cancer, his wife confirmed in May. At the time, she did not specify which type of cancer Dow was battling.

“It is with an extremely heavy heart that we share with you the passing of our beloved Tony this morning,” reads a statement posted by Frank Bilotta and Renee James on Tuesday.  

“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. 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.”

Dow, 77, is perhaps best known for playing Wally Cleaver, brother to Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver, on “Leave It to Beaver” between 1957 and 1963. Dow appeared in all 234 episodes, as well as the 1983 TV reunion film “Still the Beaver” and the sequel series “The New Leave It to Beaver,” which ran for four seasons in the mid-‘80s. He also made appearances in popular shows including “My Three Sons,” “Lassie” and “Adam-12.”

In addition to acting, Dow had directed television episodes of “The New Leave It to Beaver,” “Harry and the Hendersons,” “Coach” and “Babylon 5,” as well as nearly a dozen other series, according to IMDb.

He had also become a sculptor in later years, with one of his pieces being temporarily displayed as part of an exhibition at the Louvre, the L.A. Times reported in 2008.

News of Dow’s death follows reports of his health scares in recent years, including his hospitalization for pneumonia in August 2021. At the time, his agent told The Hollywood Reporter  he was “in good spirits” despite the diagnosis.

Months later in May, Dow’s wife Lauren Shulkind had also revealed Dow was “once again” diagnosed with cancer, suggesting he had battled the disease previously.

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