Tony Dow

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Tony Dow
Leave It to Beaver Tony Dow 1961.jpg
Dow in 1961
Tony Lee Dow

(1945-04-13) April 13, 1945 (age 76)
Hollywood, California
  • Actor
  • director
  • producer
  • sculptor
Years active1949–present

Tony Lee Dow (born April 13, 1945) is an American film producer, director, sculptor, and television actor. He is best known for his role in the television sitcom Leave It to Beaver, which ran in primetime from 1957 to 1963. Dow played Wally Cleaver, the elder son of June (played by Barbara Billingsley) and Ward (played by Hugh Beaumont) Cleaver, and the brother of Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver (played by Jerry Mathers).

Early life and career[edit]

Dow was born in Hollywood, California, to John Stevens Dow, Jr. (1908–1987), a designer and general contractor, and Muriel Virginia Dow (née Montrose) (May 27, 1906 – April 30, 2001),[1] a stunt woman in early Westerns and Clara Bow's movie double in Hollywood. In his youth, Dow trained as a swimmer and was a Junior Olympics diving champion.[2] He won the role of Wally Cleaver in Leave It to Beaver in a casting call with almost no acting experience.[2][3]

Dow continued to perform on Leave It to Beaver for six years, until the series ended in 1963. After that, he appeared on other television shows, including My Three Sons, Dr. Kildare, The Greatest Show on Earth, Never Too Young, and on five episodes of Mr. Novak in three different roles. Then, from 1965 to 1968, he served in the National Guard, interrupting his acting career. On his return to acting, he was a guest star in the television series Adam-12, Love American Style, Knight Rider, Square Pegs, The Mod Squad, The Hardy Boys, and Emergency![4]

During the 1970s, Dow continued acting while working in the construction industry and studying journalism and filmmaking.[3]

From 1983 to 1989, Dow reprised his role as Wally Cleaver in a reunion television movie and in a subsequent series The New Leave It to Beaver.

In 1987, he was honored by the Young Artist Foundation with its Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award for his role as Wally Cleaver.[5]

Dow's most recent screen appearance was in the 2003 film Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star.[4]

In April 2019, Dow was seen promoting the Leave It To Beaver television series and other classic television series on the MeTV television network.[citation needed]

Behind the camera[edit]

In 1986, he wrote an episode of The New Leave It to Beaver. In 1989, he made his debut as a director with an episode of The New Lassie, followed by episodes of Get a Life, Harry and the Hendersons, Coach, Babylon 5, Crusade, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He served as the visual effects supervisor for Babylon 5. In 1996, he provided visual effects for the Fox television movie Doctor Who.

Personal life[edit]

Dow married Lauren Shulkind in June 1980.[2][6]

Dow (top) with his Leave It to Beaver co-stars (L–R): Hugh Beaumont, Barbara Billingsley and Jerry Mathers, circa 1959

In the 1990s, Dow revealed that he has suffered from clinical depression. He has since starred in self-help videos chronicling this battle, including the 1998 Beating the Blues.[7]

Dow has become a sculptor, creating abstract bronze sculptures. He said about his work, "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."[8] One of his bronze pieces was on display in the backyard garden of Barbara Billingsley, who played his mother on Leave It to Beaver. He was chosen as one of three sculptors to show at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts exhibition, in the Carrousel du Louvre, in Paris, France, in December 2008. He represented the United States delegation, which was composed of artists from the Karen Lynne Gallery. His abstract shown at the Louvre was titled "Unarmed Warrior", a bronze figure of a woman holding a shield.[9]


Dow was hospitalized on August 26, 2021, due to pneumonia. He was tested for COVID-19 five times, all of which returned negative results. His manager, Frank Bilotta, released a statement on Facebook four days later confirming Dow was healthy and active, presumed to recover and would be able to return home. His wife, Lauren Shulkind, released additional information on his hospitalization, claiming it took the E.R. 24 hours to find a hospital bed for him, because of uprising COVID cases taking up occupancy.[10]

Selected filmography[edit]


Visual effects[edit]



  • The New Leave It to Beaver (one episode, 1986)



  1. ^ Profile. Accessed October 2, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Tony Dow (Wally Cleaver): The Beaver's older brother is a man of many talents". Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Leave it to Beaver: Tony Dow". TV Land. Archived from the original on April 28, 2006.
  4. ^ a b Tony Dow profile. Accessed October 2, 2015.
  5. ^ "9th Annual Youth in Film Awards". Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  6. ^ "Who is Carol Marlow?". Omnilexica. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  7. ^ GMA "Leave It to Beaver: 50 Years later"]., September 19, 2007. Retrieved October 6, 2007.
  8. ^ "Karen Lynne Gallery". Archived from the original on March 7, 2016.
  9. ^ "Tony Dow: From 'Leave It to Beaver' to the Louvre". Los Angeles Times, November 11, 2008.
  10. ^ "'Leave It to Beaver' star Tony Dow hospitalized with pneumonia, waited 24 hours for a bed due to COVID". August 30, 2021. Retrieved August 31, 2021.

External links[edit]