Here’s all you need to know about the personal life of Tony Dow, who played Wally Cleaver on ‘Leave It to Beaver’

Tony Dow was born on April 13, 1945. He became successful in Hollywood at a young age after starring in Leave It to Beaver. He played Wally Cleaver, the All-American older brother of protagonist Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver (played by Jerry Mathers) and son of Ward and June Cleaver.

Subject: Jerry Mathers, Tony Dow Program: “Leave It To Beaver” – “Wally Goes Steady” On Air: Premiere – Sat. Sept. 30, 8:30-9 p.m., EDT

Jerry Mathers said in a 2006 interview with the Television Academy Foundation, “Wally is the perfect big brother. He’s the champion basketball player, football player. He does everything right. He’s a huge letterman. He gets A’s on all his papers. Everyone loves him.”

“It was a fun time, a good show and unique in that it looked at the world through a child’s point of view,” Dow told Boomer Magazine in 2014. “Jerry [Mathers] was amazing. That first year all the shows [storylines] were from [the writers’] kids’ experiences.”

American actors Tony Dow, Hugh Beaumont, Barbara Billingsley and Jerry Mathers. (Photo by R. Gates/Courtesy of Getty Images)

Dow never dreamed of becoming an actor according to the Washington Post.  He was more interested in athletics but a friend advised him to audition for a TV series called Johnny Wildlife, and Dow ended up being cast.

Dow when he isn’t acting enjoys sculpting abstract bronze sculptures.  “The figures are abstract and not meant to represent reality but rather the truth of the interactions as I see and feel them,” he said. “I find the wood in the hills of Topanga Canyon and each piece evolves from my subconscious.”

Tony Dow attends ABC TV Affiliates Party on May 9, 1983 at the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

A few weeks before his death, Dow revealed the battles he fought including being famous at a young age.

He confessed in an interview with CBS in 2022, “I’d like to do some other stuff. I’d like to do some interesting stuff. You know, it’s sad to be famous at 12 years old or something, and then you grow up and become a real person, and nothing’s happening to you.

Tony Dow during 2nd Annual TV Land Awards – Arrivals at The Hollywood Palladium in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)

Anger, if it’s untreated, anger turns to depression,” Dow added: “But depression isn’t something you can say ‘cheer up!’ about. You know, it’s a very powerful thing. And it’s had a lot of effect on my life.”

Dow’s life was cut short after he was diagnosed with Cancer in May 2022.

According to The Washington Post., Dow’s death was due to complications from liver cancer.

Everett Collection /

“We know that the world is collectively saddened by the loss of this incredible man,” their statement reads. “He gave so much to us all and was loved by so many. One fan said it best—’It is rare when there is a person who is so universally loved like Tony.’”

He will forever live in memories; Rest In Peace, Dow.

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