“Leave It to Beaver” star Tony Dow has been diagnosed with cancer

Tony Dow, best known for his role in Leave It to Beaver, has been diagnosed with cancer.

The beloved actor, who played Wally Cleaver on the iconic sitcom, and his wife Lauren shared the heartbreaking news Thursday, TMZ reported.

The couple said they were grateful for fans’ prayers in advance, but didn’t reveal what type of cancer Dow is battling.

News of the ailing actor’s health problems broke in August last year when he was briefly hospitalized with pneumonia.

His concerned wife shared on Facebook that he was forced to wait 24 hours for a hospital bed due to the surge in Delta variant COVID-19 cases in California at the time.

Despite having a “violent cough” that “was causing pain all over his head,” Dow was in good spirits, with no fever, just using plenty of IV fluids, Lauren said at the time.

Dow (above) played Wally Cleaver on the iconic sitcom.
Dow (above) played Wally Cleaver on the iconic sitcom.
Getty Images

The Hollywood-born actor landed the role of Wally through an open audition and had almost no acting experience. After six years on the smash sitcom, he secured guest roles on My Three Sons, Dr. Kildare, Lassie and The Greatest Show on Earth before landing a recurring role on Mr. Novak.”

Unlike many doomed child stars, Dow was exploring new avenues of professional life, such as sculpting, as his career faltered, according to his website.

He took a break from the entertainment industry to serve in the National Guard from 1965 to 1968 and attended journalism school in the ’70s, according to his IMDb bio.

Tony Dow in "Leave it to the beaver."
Dow (far right) starred in all 234 episodes of the sitcom from 1957 to 1963.
Courtesy of the Everett Collection

Dow later returned to the small screen in the ’70s with guest appearances on Adam-12, The Mod Squad, and Love American Style, and continued working on Knight Rider, Square Pegs in the ’80s. and “Murder, She Wrote” to name a few.

From 1983 to 1989 he reprized his iconic role as Wally opposite Jerry Mathers in The New Leave It to Beaver.

Dow transitioned to directing in the ’90s, stepping behind the camera to direct episodes of Coach, Babylon 5, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Leave a Comment