‘Leave It to Beaver’ star Tony Dow now dead, son confirms after premature announcement

A day after Tony Dow, the star of “Leave It to Beaver,” was accidentally pronounced dead, his son issued confirmation Wednesday that his father died after a long battle for health in hospice care. He was 77.

The actor and director is best known for his role as older brother Wally Cleaver on the hit show.

“We know the world is collectively saddened by the loss of this incredible man,” said a statement on the actor’s official Facebook page. “He gave us all so much and was loved by so many. One fan said it best: ‘It’s rare that there is a person as universally loved as Tony.'”

Dow’s representatives had previously issued a statement announcing the beloved actor’s passing.

His wife, Lauren Dow, confirmed to Eyewitness News on Tuesday that her husband was alive and breathing at the time, but was in a hospice in their home.

She confirmed it was a miscommunication and regrets that she caused a commotion at a difficult time.

The actor — who rose to fame at age 12 when he was cast on the soon-to-be-win sitcom “Leave It to Beaver” — revealed in May that he had been diagnosed with cancer.

Dow, who said he had undiagnosed depression from age 20 to 40, spoke out about his mental health issues for decades, long before it was common for celebrities to make that information public.

In 1993 he was an honorary speaker at a congress for the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association.

“I realize there’s irony about this,” he told the Baltimore Sun of his depression in 1993. “You know, the fact that I was on a TV show that embodied the supposed ideal world of the 1950s, and here I’m suffering from depression. But I’m just one of the millions.”

Dow told CBS that once he accepted his diagnosis and started treatment, he found hope. He also brought that hope to art by sculpting ornate pieces in his home studio.

“I think people should take the plunge that they can feel better,” he said.

Dow continued to work in Hollywood, starring in TV series and even reprising his role in “The New Leave It to Beaver” in the 1980s. He has also directed episodes of such series as ‘Harry and the Hendersons’, ‘Coach’ and ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’.

Jerry Mathers, who starred opposite Dow as Beaver in their hit sitcom, told fans earlier this month that he had been in contact with Dow, who the executives said had “been in and out of the hospital with various complications and treatments.”

CNN contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.

Leave a Comment