Having shared a statement on his verified Facebook account Tuesday morning about the death of Tony Dow, a well-known actor and director who starred as Wally Cleaver in the TV series “Leave It to Beaver,” had died, Dow’s management has removed it.
Judy Twersky, a longtime friend of Dow’s, reported that he was still alive at 3:30 p.m. When she spoke with Dow’s wife, Lauren Dow, he was still alive.
According to Lauren Dow, he is still breathing and receiving hospice care. Dow was unsure what happened with the statement from her husband’s management team earlier today, Twersky told CNN.
Dow rose to fame at age 12 after being cast in the sitcom “Leave It to Beaver.” In the role, Dow helped create a suburban nuclear family archetype for millions of viewers. The show ran from 1957 to 1963.
After auditioning on a whim, Dow learned the part was his after eating a hamburger and malt.
“My life went down the drain,” he said.
Wally Cleaver became inextricably entwined with Dow, who struggled to stand alone.
“It’s sad to be famous at 12, then grow up and become a real person, and nothing happens to you,” he said.
Several decades ago, a celebrity opened up about his mental health struggles. From the age of 20 to 40, Dow was undiagnosed depressed. He spoke at an association convention in 1993 as an honorary speaker.
I realize there is some irony to this,” he told the Baltimore Sun in 1993. I was on a show that epitomized the ’50s ideal world, and now I suffer from depression. But I am only one of the millions.”
After accepting his diagnosis and beginning treatment, Dow found hope, CBS reported. Sculpting ornate pieces at his home studio, he channeled that hope, too.
“Everyone should believe that they can feel better,” he said.
In the 1980s, Dow appeared in TV series and even reprised his role in “The New Leave It to Beaver.” He also directed episodes of series like “Harry and the Hendersons,” “Coach,” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”
Jerry Mathers, who starred opposite Dow as Beaver on their hit sitcom, told fans earlier this month that he’d been in contact with Dow, whose managers said he had “gone through various complications and treatments.”