UPDATE: TMZ brings word that the post has now been deleted and that Dow's management confirms he's still alive. CBS News brings word directly from Dow's wife Lauren Dow, that the actor is still alive for the time being. Our original story follows.
Tony Dow, who played Wally Cleaver on the beloved sitcom Leave it to Beaver, has died. He was 77 years old. The actor, who was hospitalized in late 2021 with pneumonia, appeared in over 200 episodes between 1957 and 1963. Rumors of Dow's passing had been circulating all morning, but the news was confirmed by Steve Scott of WCBS in New York on social media. There is no official word on Dow's cause of death, and no comment yet from his family.
In addition to his acting, Dow is a director, producer, and artist who has done both visual effects work for TV and sculpture. According to TMZ's breakdown of his accomplishments, some of his sculpture work has been exhibited at the Louvre.
"It is with an extremely heavy heart that we share with you the passing of our beloved Tony this morning," said a statement delivered to Dow's official Facebook page this morning. "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's directing work includes episodes of Babylon 5, the original Swamp Thing show on USA Network, Star Trek, and the TV spinoffs of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Harry and the Hendersons. His visual effects work reached as far as Doctor Who. Dow's Star Trek episode was Deep Space Nine's "Field of Fire."
As an actor, Dow appeared in a wide variety of TV roles between 1957 and 2016, from Adam-12 and General Hospital to Diagnosis Murder and Freddy's Nightmares. His most recent acting role was on a 2014 reinvention of the long-running radio series Suspense.
Leave it to Beaver is one of the first massively popular family sitcoms, and set the template for that kind of show for years to come. In addition to the main series, various cast members (including Dow) came back for revivals and TV movies over the years. From 1983 to 1989, Dow reprised his role as Wally Cleaver in a reunion television movie and in a subsequent series The New Leave It to Beaver, the latter of which he directed some episodes for.
Our condolences go out to Mr. Dow's family, firends, fans, and collaborators during this difficult time.0comments