RIP Tony Dow (Wally Cleaver)

by Curtis Lanclos

Tony Dow, the actor who portrayed Wally, the elder brother of Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver (played by Jerry Mathers) on the TV sitcom Leave It To Beaver from 1957 – 1963, has died today (July 27, 2022) from complications of liver cancer at his home in Topanga, California.

Dow also made several guest appearances on a variety of television programs, including My Three Sons, Dr. Kildare, The Greatest Show on Earth, Never Too Young, and five episodes of Mr. Novak in three different roles. He then took a break from acting to serve in the U.S. National Guard from 1965 to 1968. Once he returned to acting, he guest starred on the TV shows Adam-12, Love American Style, Knight Rider, Square Pegs, The Mod Squad, The Hardy Boys and Emergency! He reprised the role of Wally Cleaver in a television movie and on The New Leave It to Beaver from 1983 – 1989.

Dow was also an artist who produced abstract bronze sculptures. His mother from the television show Leave It to Beaver, the late Barbara Billingsley, had one of his bronze sculptures on display in her backyard garden.

In what was most likely his final public appearance, Dow was reunited with his Leave It To Beaver co-star Jerry Mathers at the Gallatin Comic Con 2021 in Gallatin, TN (just outside of Nashville) In November 2021. This event was hosted by Towne Square Records & Comics, and many fans of “Wally and the Beav” showed up for photos, autographs and to interact with Dow and Mathers one-on-one.

Dow is survived by his wife of 42 years, Lauren Shulkind, his son Christopher (from his previous marriage to Carol Marlow), a brother, and a granddaughter.

RIP Mr. Dow. Thank you so much for all of the pleasant memories.

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