Tony Dow, the actor best known for playing Wally Cleaver in sitcom Leave It To Beaver, has died aged 77.
His death was announced prematurely on Tuesday (July 26) by his wife, Lauren, who was “very distraught” after being led to believe that her husband had passed away. Since the mistake, Dow’s son Christopher has now confirmed the actor died on Wednesday (July 27).
A statement on his official Facebook page read: “We have received confirmation from Christopher, Tony’s son, that Tony passed away earlier this morning, with his loving family at his side to see him through this journey. We know that the world is collectively saddened by the loss of this incredible man.”
In a statement, Christopher said: “Although this is a sad day, I have comfort and peace that he is in a better place. He was the best Dad anyone could ask for. He was my coach, my mentor, my voice of reason, my best friend, my best man in my wedding, and my hero.”
In May this year, Dow announced that his liver cancer, which he’d been diagnosed with years before, had returned.
Leave It To Beaver, which centred on a 1950s suburban family, ran for six seasons between 1957 and 1963. The sitcom centred on a misbehaving boy called Beaver, his brother Wally, their friend Eddie, and their parents Ward and June.
Dow returned to the franchise for the ’80s TV movie Still The Beaver, as well as the series The New Leave It To Beaver, in which he directed five episodes and wrote one.
Later in his career, he also directed episodes of The New Lassie, Coach, Babylon 5, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Some of his other acting roles included appearances in General Hospital, Lassie and Murder, She Wrote.
In May 2020, Ken Osmond, who played Wally Cleaver’s best friend, Eddie Haskell, passed away at the age of 76.