Anthony Lee Dow
April 13, 1945
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Died||July 27, 2022 (aged 77)|
Topanga, California, U.S.
Anthony Lee Dow (April 13, 1945 – July 27, 2022) was an American actor, film producer, director and sculptor. He portrayed Wally Cleaver in the iconic television sitcom Leave It to Beaver from 1957 to 1963. From 1983 to 1989, Dow reprised his role as Wally in a television movie and in The New Leave It to Beaver.
Dow was born in the Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, the son of Muriel Virginia (Montrose), a stuntwoman in westerns, and John Stevens Dow, a designer, and contractor. In his youth, he trained as a swimmer and was a Junior Olympics diving champion.
With a little stage acting and two television pilots as his only acting experience, Dow's career began when he went on an open casting call and landed the role of Wally Cleaver in Leave It to Beaver. With the exception of the television pilot, for the show's entire run, from 1957 to 1963, he played the older son of June (played by Barbara Billingsley) and Ward (played by Hugh Beaumont) Cleaver, and the older brother of protagonist Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver (played by Jerry Mathers). As played by Dow, Wally was the "all-American" boy—an intelligent, polite teenager, trusted by his parents, popular with his peers, and liked by his teachers. (Wally was based on the series writer Joe Connelly's son, Jay.) In the show's later years, Dow grew into an attractive, athletic young man and was often featured in "heartthrob"-type magazines aimed principally at teen girls. Producers took advantage of Dow's popularity and scripted episodes delving into Wally's dating life, his after-school jobs, his friends, and his car.
After Leave it to Beaver, Dow appeared on other television shows, including My Three Sons, Dr. Kildare, The Greatest Show on Earth, Never Too Young, and on five episodes of Mr. Novak in three different roles. From 1965 to 1968, he served in the U.S. National Guard, interrupting his acting career. On his return to acting, he guest-starred on the television series Adam-12, Love, American Style, Knight Rider, Square Pegs, The Mod Squad, The Hardy Boys and Emergency!
During the 1970s, Dow continued acting while working in the construction industry, and studying journalism and filmmaking. In 1977, he parodied his role as Wally from Leave it to Beaver in The Kentucky Fried Movie, with Jerry Zucker playing Beaver.
From 1983 to 1989, Dow reprised his role as Wally Cleaver in a reunion television movie and a subsequent sequel series, The New Leave It to Beaver, for which Dow wrote an episode in 1986. In 1987, he was honored by the Young Artist Foundation with its Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award for his role as Wally Cleaver.
In 1989, Dow made his debut as a director with an episode of The New Lassie. It was followed by episodes of Get a Life, Harry and the Hendersons, Coach, Babylon 5, Crusade and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Dow served as the visual effects supervisor for Babylon 5. In 1996, he provided visual effects for the FOX television movie Doctor Who.
Dow also co-produced The Adventures of Captain Zoom in Outer Space in 1995, and It Came from Outer Space II in 1996.
In addition to acting, directing, producing, and writing, Dow was also a sculptor, creating abstract bronze sculptures. He said about his work: "The figures are abstract and not meant to represent reality, but rather the truth of the interactions as I see and feel them. I find the wood in the hills of Topanga Canyon and each piece evolves from my subconscious. I produce limited editions of nine bronzes using the lost wax process from molds of the original burl sculpture." Reuters wrote of Dow's work that it "features humanlike forms devoid of expression or detail; they are widely open to the viewer’s interpretation."
In December 2008, Dow was chosen as one of three sculptors to show at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts exhibition, located in the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris, France. He represented the United States delegation, which was composed of artists from the Karen Lynne Gallery. His sculpture shown at the Parisian shopping mall was titled Unarmed Warrior, a bronze figure of a woman holding a shield.
In the 1990s, Dow revealed that he had suffered from clinical depression. He subsequently starred in self-help videos chronicling this battle, including the 1998 Beating the Blues. Dow was also hospitalized with pneumonia in 2021.
In May 2022, Dow was diagnosed with liver cancer. On July 26, 2022, after a premature report of Dow's death, his family announced that he was alive at his home in Topanga, California. However, it was reported that he was in his "last hours" and under hospice care. Dow died the following day, July 27, at the age of 77.
- Leave It to Beaver (234 episodes, 1957–1963)
- The Eleventh Hour as Bob Quincy in "Four Feet in the Morning" (1963)
- Dr. Kildare (one episode, 1963)
- The Greatest Show on Earth (one episode, 1964)
- My Three Sons (one episode, 1964)
- Mr. Novak (five episodes, 1963–1965)
- Never Too Young (153 episodes, 1965)
- Adam-12 (one episode, 1970)
- Love, American Style (one episode, 1971)
- The Mod Squad (one episode, 1971)
- Emergency! ("Brushfire", 1972)
- Death Scream (1975)
- General Hospital (unknown episodes, 1975)
- The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977)
- The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (one episode, 1977)
- Square Pegs (two episodes, 1982)
- Quincy, M.E. (one episode, 1983)
- Knight Rider (one episode, 1983)
- High School U.S.A. (1983)
- Murder, She Wrote (one episode, 1987)
- The New Mike Hammer (one episode, 1987)
- Back to the Beach (1987)
- The New Leave It to Beaver, or Still the Beaver (1985–1989)
- Charles in Charge (one episode, 1989)
- Freddy's Nightmares, or Freddy's Nightmares: A Nightmare on Elm Street The Series (two episodes, 1990)
- The Adventures of Captain Zoom in Outer Space (1995)
- Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction (one episode, 1998)
- Diagnosis: Murder (two episodes, 1999)
- Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (2003)
- Babylon 5 (unknown episodes)
- The Adventures of Captain Zoom in Outer Space (1995)
- Doctor Who (1996)
- The New Leave It to Beaver (one episode, 1986)
- "Glimpse into Tony Dow's Life after 'Leave It to Beaver' and His Almost 40-Year Marriage". January 8, 2020. Archived from the original on November 9, 2021. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
- "'Leave It to Beaver' star Tony Dow 'doing well' after pneumonia hospitalization". USA Today. Archived from the original on November 9, 2021. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
- Gates, Anita (July 26, 2022). "Tony Dow, Big Brother Wally on 'Leave It to Beaver,' Dies at 77". The New York Times. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
- "Tony Dow (Wally Cleaver): The Beaver's older brother is a man of many talents". www.tvbanter.net. Archived from the original on June 12, 2017. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
- Dalton, Andrew (July 27, 2022). "Tony Dow, big brother Wally on 'Leave it to Beaver,' dies". Associated Press. Retrieved July 28, 2022.
- "Leave it to Beaver: Tony Dow". TV Land. Archived from the original on April 28, 2006.
- McLellan, Dennis (February 14, 2003). "Joe Connelly, 85; Helped Create 'Leave It to Beaver'". Los Angeles Times.
- Colella, Jennifer. The Leave It to Beaver Guide to Life: Wholesome Wisdom from the Cleavers! (Running Press, 2006). ISBN 0762427736, ISBN 9780762427734
- "Tony Dow, 'Leave It to Beaver' Star, Dies at 77". TheWrap via MSN. July 27, 2022. Retrieved July 28, 2022.
- "Tony Dow List of Movies and TV Shows". TV Guide. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
- "9th Annual Youth in Film Awards". YoungArtistAwards.org. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
- "Fans remember life of Tony Dow amid reports of his death". MeTV. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
- "Karen Lynne Gallery". www.karenlynnegallery.com. Archived from the original on March 7, 2016.
- Ferrell, David. "Tony Dow: Sculpting a Life After "'Leave It To Beaver'," Reuters (Oct. 24, 2010).
- "Tony Dow: From 'Leave It to Beaver' to the Louvre" Archived December 27, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. Los Angeles Times, November 11, 2008.
- GMA Archived July 26, 2022, at the Wayback Machine "Leave It to Beaver: 50 Years later". ABC News, September 19, 2007. Retrieved October 6, 2007.
- "Leave It to Beaver Alum Tony Dow Hospitalized with Pneumonia". People. August 30, 2021. Retrieved July 28, 2022.
- "Leave It to Beaver Star Tony Dow in His 'Last Hours' After Cancer Diagnosis, Son Says". People. July 26, 2022. Retrieved July 28, 2022.
- "'Leave It to Beaver' Star Tony Dow Hospitalized with Pneumonia". TMZ. August 29, 2021. Retrieved July 28, 2022.
- "'Leave It To Beaver' actor Tony Dow announces cancer diagnosis: 'It is truly heartbreaking'". Yahoo!. May 10, 2022. Archived from the original on May 8, 2022. Retrieved May 10, 2022.
- Andrew, Scottie (July 26, 2022). "Tony Dow's management team removes statement star has died". CNN. Archived from the original on July 26, 2022. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
- Evans, Greg (July 26, 2022). "Tony Dow Alive: Wife And Management Team Announced Death In Error; Son Says "He Has A Fighting Heart" – Update". Deadline. Archived from the original on July 27, 2022. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
Son, Christopher Dow, “Dad is at home, under hospice care, and in his last hours. My wife and I are by his side along with many friends that have visited. He has a fighting heart.”
- Overhultz, Lauryn (July 26, 2022). "Tony Dow, 'Leave It to Beaver' star, is under hospice care in 'last hours,' son says". Fox News. Archived from the original on July 26, 2022. Retrieved July 26, 2022.
- Saperstein, Pat (July 27, 2022). "Tony Dow, Who Played Wally Cleaver on 'Leave It to Beaver,' Dies a Day After Erroneous Announcement". Variety. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
- Overhultz, Lauryn (July 27, 2022). "Tony Dow, 'Leave It to Beaver' star, dead at 77, son confirms: 'He is in a better place". Fox News. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
- Bernstein, Adam (July 27, 2022). "Tony Dow, the all-American Wally on 'Leave It to Beaver,' dies at 77". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 29, 2022.
- "Tony Dow". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
- Wynne, Kelly. "Leave It to Beaver Star Tony Dow in His 'Last Hours' After Cancer Diagnosis, Son Says". People. Retrieved July 28, 2022.
- Everett, Todd (August 25, 1995). "The Adventures of Captain Zoom in Outer Space". Variety. Retrieved July 28, 2022.