Tony Dow, best known for playing Wally Cleaver on Leave it to Beaver the popular sitcom from the golden era of American television, was initially reported dead a day before he passed while in hospice care.
Jerry Mathers, his co-star from Leave it to Beaver paid tribute to the 77-year-old in a Facebook post. He said, “It is with the utmost sadness I learned this morning of my co-star and lifelong friend Tony Dow’s passing”, adding, “He was not only my brother on tv, but in many ways in life as well. Tony leaves an empty place in my heart that won’t be filled. He was always the kindest, most generous, gentle, loving, sincere, and humble man, that it was my honor and privilege to be able to share memories together with for 65 years.”
Mathers continued, “Tony was so grateful for all of the love and support from our fans across the world. My wife Teresa and I send our deepest condolences to his wife Lauren, his family and to all of those who knew and loved him. The world may have lost a star today, but the heavens gained another.”
He played Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver and Dow played the role of his elder brother on the show. The deceased actor had been launched into showbiz with no prior experience after he walked into the audition for Leave it to Beaver and landed Wally’s part.
However, since then, Dow appeared in numerous television movies and shows, including a reunion with his Leave it to Beaver characters. Dow branched out into direction as well and helmed episodes of shows like ‘Babylon 5’.
Dow is also an artist and is known for his abstract sculptures. His wife Lauren had initially announced her husband’s death to his management team, in a distraught state, leading to the confusion about the actor’s demise.