Tony Dow Dies

Everybody’s going to have an opinion. But I think the show is the most natural and most realistic representation of the late ‘50s, early ‘60s that was on the air. And most of the stories came from real life. – Tony Dow

Tony Dow is best known for playing Wally Cleaver, son of Ward (Hugh Beaumont) and June (Barbara Billingsley) and older brother of the Beaver (Theodore- Jerry Mathers) on the 1957-1963 TV sitcom, “Leave It To Beaver”. He would even reprise this role from 1986-1989 on “The New Leave It To Beaver” show. Tony was born April 13, 1945, in the Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. His mom was a stuntwoman in westerns and his dad was a designer, and contractor.

In his youth, he was a Junior Olympics diving champion and with very little acting experience landed the role of Wally at an open casting call for “Leave It To Beaver”. Dow grew into an attractive, athletic young man and was often featured in “heartthrob”-type magazines aimed principally at teen girls. The producers quickly took advantage of this and started scripting episodes showing Wally’s dating life, his after-school jobs, his friends, and his car.

After Beaver, he appeared in episodes of “My Three Sons”, “Dr. Kildare”, “The Greatest Show on Earth”, “Never Too Young”, and on five episodes of “Mr. Novak”. From 1965 to 1968, he served in the U.S. National Guard and on his return appeared in episodes of “Adam-12”, “Love, American Style”, “Knight Rider”, “Square Pegs”, “The Mod Squad”, “The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries”, “Charles in Charge”, and “Emergency!”.

In the 1970s, Tony would work in the construction industry, while studying journalism and filmmaking. He parodied his Wally Cleaver role in the 1977 “The Kentucky Fried Movie”. In 1986, while on “The New Leave It To Beaver” sitcom he wrote an episode for the series.

In 1989 he debuted as a director on an episode of “The New Lassie” followed by episodes of “Get a Life”, “Swamp Thing”, “Harry and the Hendersons”, “Coach”, “Babylon 5”, “Crusade”, and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”. He also served as visual effects supervisor for “Babylon 5” and for the FOX television movie “Doctor Who”. He also co-produced ‘The Adventures of Captain Zoom in Outer Space” in 1995, and “It Came from Outer Space II” in 1996.

All this and he was also a sculpture of abstract bronze sculptures. In December 2008, Dow was chosen as one of three sculptors to show at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts exhibition, located in the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris, France.

The figures are abstract and not meant to represent reality, but rather the truth of the interactions as I see and feel them. I find the wood in the hills of Topanga Canyon and each piece evolves from my subconscious. I produce limited editions of nine bronzes using the lost wax process from molds of the original burl sculpture.

Tony Dow

He represented the United States delegation, which was composed of artists from the Karen Lynne Gallery. His sculpture shown at the Parisian shopping mall was titled Unarmed Warrior, a bronze figure of a woman holding a shield. Tony Dow had been diagnosed with liver cancer and died in hospice in Topanga, California, at the age of 77, July 27, 2022. Dow is survived by his wife, Lauren, and his son, Christopher, from his first marriage to Carol Marlow. I will always remember him as Wally!


Tony Dow

Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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