RIP: Tony Dow

Tony Dow, best known for playing Wally Clever on the television series Leave It to Beaver, died today from complications caused by cancer.  Mr. Dow was 77.

Tony Dow earned the role of Wally Cleaver despite little acting experience.  Mr. Dow played Beaver’s older brother throughout the series run from 1957 to 1963.  He reprised the role in a television movie and the subsequent series The New Leave It to Beaver which ran from 1983 – 1989.

When the original Leave It to Beaver series ended, Mr. Dow continued to act making guest appearances on television series such as Dr. Kildare, My Three Sons and Never Too Young.  From 1965 – 1968, Mr. Dow served in the National Guard.  When Mr. Dow returned to acting he alternated between television and feature films.  Appearances include: Adam 12, Love American Style, The Mod Squad, Emergency, Death Scream, General Hospital, Kentucky Fried Movie, Quincy, Murder She Wrote, Knight Rider, The New Leave It to Beaver, Charles in Charge, Freddie’s Nightmares and Diagnosis Murder.

Mr. Dow also wrote an episode of The New Leave It to Beaver, directed episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space 9, Babylon 5, Get a Life and Coach.  He was also a producer on The Adventures of Captain Zoom in Outer Space and It Came from Outer Space II.  In addition Mr. Dow was an accomplished sculptor.

Had Tony Dow only played Wally Cleaver in his career, he would merit mention.  His portrayal of Wally Clever made such a huge impact on the many kids who watched the show.  I’m sure that parents would admonish their unruly children to be more like Wally.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Tony Dow’s family, friends and fans.