Leave it to Beaver star Tony Dow – who played Wally Cleaver on the iconic sitcom – announces he has cancer: Actor and wife of 41 years heartbroken by diagnosis
- Dow, 77, and Lauren, his wife of 41 years, announced he has been diagnosed with cancer
- The couple did not specify what type of cancer the actor has
- Dow played Wally Cleaver in all 234 episodes of Leave It To Beaver from 1957 to 1963
- He starred alongside Jerry Mathers and late stars Hugh Beaumont, Barbara Billingsley and Ken Osmond
- He has also appeared on TV shows including Lassie, Adam-12, Mod Squad, Knight Rider, Charles in Charge and Murder, She Wrote
Leave It to Beaver actor Tony Dow announced Thursday that he has been diagnosed with cancer.
The Los Angeles native, 77, and his wife of 41 years, Lauren, said they were heartbroken over the diagnosis, TMZ reported, and were thankful of prayers from fans, in advance.
Dow did not name the type of cancer he has been diagnosed with.
Dow dealt with health problems in August of 2021 when he landed in a hospital while battling a case of pneumonia, TMZ reported, noting that he had to spend 24 hours in the emergency room due to a surge in the coronavirus Delta strain at the time.
Lauren told TMZ that Dow did not have COVID-19, as he tested negative for the virus five times.
‘On behalf of Tony and myself we thank you for your concern for him,’ she told the outlet.
Dow played the role of Wally Cleaver on Leave It to Beaver in all 234 episodes of the show from 1957 to 1963 alongside Jerry Mathers, and late stars Hugh Beaumont, Barbara Billingsley and Ken Osmond.
Leave It to Beaver actor Tony Dow, 77, said Thursday that he has been diagnosed with cancer. The actor is pictured with his wife Lauren, who he married in June 1980.
Dow played the role of Wally Cleaver on Leave It to Beaver in all 234 episodes of the show from 1957 to 1963
The actor who played Wally Cleaver appeared on the famed show with Jerry Mathers (front) and late stars Hugh Beaumont and Barbara Billingsley who played June and Ward (back)
Jerry Mathers (left) in character as Beaver with Tony Dow as Wally in a publicity photos taken during the 1960-1961 season
Dow reprised the role of Wally Cleaver for the 1983 TV film Still the Beaver, a 1987 episode of The Love Boat and The New Leave It to Beaver TV series from 1983-1989.
He has also appeared on TV shows including Lassie, Adam-12, Mod Squad, Knight Rider, Charles in Charge and Murder, She Wrote.
The TV veteran has also worked extensively as a director, having helmed multiple episodes of shows including Harry and the Hendersons, Babylon 5, Swamp Thing and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show.
In addition to his show business endeavors, Dow had focused on sculpting for decades, with his work showcased in art exhibitions worldwide, according to his website.
Dow played Wally Cleaver for the entirety of Leave It To Beaver’s six-year run, from 1957 to 1963. He reprised his role in the 1980s in a reunion movie and series The New Leave It To Beaver, but last year revealed he struggled with depression after being typecast
Dow earlier this year spoke with CBS Sunday Morning, saying that he struggled with depression over being typecast after finding fame early in life as Wally on Leave It to Beaver.
‘I was gonna have to live with it for the rest of my life,’ he said. ‘I thought: This isn’t fair. You know? I mean, 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 for you.’
He opened up about how he became angry, adding that ‘anger, if it’s untreated, anger turns to depression.
‘Depression isn’t something you can say “Cheer up!” about,’ he said. ‘You know, it’s a very powerful thing. And it’s had a lot of effect on my life.’
Dow said that along with undergoing therapy and taking medication, his work with sculpting has had a therapeutic impact in his depression battle.
‘I’ve got it under control pretty much.’ he said. ‘You know, I think people should take the leap of faith that they can feel better.’
Dow and his wife Lauren, who wed in June 1980, are pictured together in a shot posted to his Instagram in 2018
Dow and Mathers were reunited in 2010 in LA at a PaleyFest event in honor of the series
Ken Osmond and Tony Dow in a scene from Leave it to Beaver in 1957
Dow earlier this year spoke with CBS Sunday Morning , saying that he struggled with depression over being typecast after finding fame early in life as Wally on Leave It to Beaver
Dow was pictured reading in a shot posted to his Instagram by his wife Lauren
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