Tony Dow, Leave It To Beaver Star, Passes At 77

Tony Dow, star of the iconic 1950/60s sitcom Leave It To Beaver died today at the age of 77.
Tony Dow (screen captures via Leave It To Beaver)

UPDATE: The original reports by Tony Dow’s management were premature as his family came out to say a few hours later that while he was on his deathbed, he had not yet passed.

Dow’s son Christopher confirmed to PEOPLE: “This is a difficult time. Yes he is still alive but in his last hours. Under hospice care.

Today, the family has confirmed the actor, considered “the best big brother in sitcom history” has indeed passed. RIP Tony Dow.

Variety has since amended its report. Here’s my post from earlier today:

Tony Dow, best known for his portrayal of Wally Cleaver on the iconic television sitcom Leave It to Beaver of the late 1950s and early ’60s, died Tuesday. He was 77.

Dow was reportedly diagnosed with liver cancer in May.

“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,” his friends and representatives, Frank Bilotta and Renee James, said in a statement.

“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. We will miss you.”

Gaining fame as a member of the Leave It to Beaver cast throughout its run from 1957 to 1963, Tony Dow became a Hollywood heartthrob – to young girls and young gays alike. He went on to appear in dozens of TV series and later became an accomplished artist and sculptor.

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CBS Sunday Morning profiled Dow this past January. In the segment, he shared how Leave It To Beaver came to define his life in ways he never wanted. His anger led to depression which he overcame, in part, through his art.