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Tony Dow, who portrayed Wally Cleaver on ‘Leave It to Beaver,’ dies at age 77

Actor Tony Dow, who played Wally Cleaver on the long-running 1950s sitcom “Leave It to Beaver,” died Wednesday morning at the age of 77 due to complications from liver cancer. Dow’s death was officially announced on the actor’s official Facebook page, and confirmed by his son and Dow’s agent, Frank Bilotta. On Tuesday, Dow’s management team had erroneously announced the actor’s death in a Facebook post that has since been deleted. Later on Tuesday, Dow’s manager and his wife, Lauren Shulkind, both said that Dow was still alive and in hospice care.

Dow portrayed Beaver’s older brother, Wally on “Leave It to Beaver” from 1957 to 1963. After “Leave It to Beaver” ended, Dow continued to act, but also served in the National Guard between 1965 and 1968, according to TMZ.   Dow later reprised the beloved role for another six years on The New Leave It to Beaver, which aired from 1983 to 1989, as well as in the Still the Beaver TV movie in the early ‘80s.  The California native continued to act on TV throughout the next several decades, including a starring role in 153 episodes of Never Too Young in the mid-‘60s. In the ‘70s and ‘80s, Dow made appearances on Lassie, My Three Sons, Mr. Novak, Murder, She Wrote and Charles in Charge.

Dow directed five episodes of Still the Beaver and wrote one for that show, later branching out into directing other series, including “Harry and the Hendersons,” “Coach,” “Babylon 5,” “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”

Dow is survived by his wife Lauren, son Christopher, brother Dion and one grandchild.

Editorial credit: s_bukley /

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