The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Sunday, September 25, 2022


Tony Dow, big brother Wally on 'Leave It to Beaver,' dies at 77
He went on to a varied career as an actor, director, producer and sculptor, but he could never shake his association with the sitcom that brought him stardom. His death came a day after it was announced erroneously.

by Anita Gates



NEW YORK, NY.- Tony Dow, who became a star at 12 as Wally Cleaver, the barely teenage older brother on the popular 1950s and ’60s comedy series “Leave It to Beaver,” died Wednesday at his home in Topanga, California. He was 77.

His death was confirmed by his manager, Frank Bilotta. On Tuesday, his representatives announced his death erroneously in a Facebook post; it was later deleted, but not before many news organizations, including The New York Times, published obituaries, relying on that post as confirmation of the death. In May, Dow said he had been diagnosed with liver cancer.

He had gone on to a varied adult career, finding mixed success as an actor, a director, a producer and later a sculptor, but he could never quite shake his association with “Leave It to Beaver,” a dose of early-life fame that might have contributed to his later struggles with depression.

The central character on the sitcom was the button-cute, trouble-prone Beaver Cleaver, played by Jerry Mathers, but whenever Beaver needed the benefit of counsel from someone older and wiser who was not likely to yell at him, he turned to Wally, his only sibling and most trusted confidant. They shared a bedroom — and an en suite bathroom — in an immaculately kept two-story house in Mayfield, a fictional, walkable, crime-free and apparently all-white American suburb.

Wally was a good student, polite to his elders and a responsible good guy “dripping with decency and honesty,” as Brian Levant, executive producer of the 1980s sequel series “The New Leave It to Beaver,” described him to The Arizona Republic in 2017. Wally played Chinese checkers with his brother in their room, sometimes went along with his friend Eddie Haskell’s misguided pranks and was young enough in the first season to ask, “Dad, if I saved up my allowance, could I buy a monkey?”

And he would never “squeal on” the Beav, unless he had to.

As the seasons passed, Wally matured, capturing the attention of adolescent female viewers, but his attitude toward his brother remained largely unchanged. “What did you go and do that for?” he would ask. And, “Will you stop being nice to me and just go back to being a little creep?”

But when he was talking to his parents, Wally was more thoughtful. As he observed at the end of one episode, “For a little kid like that, a lot of stuff sure goes on in his head.”

“Leave It to Beaver,” which also starred Barbara Billingsley and Hugh Beaumont as the boys’ polished, suburban-perfect parents, was on the air from 1957 to 1963, but it endured far longer, in endless reruns and as a pop culture touchstone for the baby boom generation.

Anthony Lee Dow was born in Hollywood, California, on April 13, 1945, the son of John Stevens Dow, a designer and contractor, and Muriel Virginia (Montrose) Dow. His mother was a stuntwoman in Westerns and had been the movie double for silent screen star Clara Bow.

Tony Dow was an athletic boy who won swimming and diving competitions. In fact, it was a coach who suggested that Tony accompany him to an acting audition, the boy’s first. He had virtually no acting experience when he was cast as Wally Cleaver in “Leave It to Beaver.”




“I was always a little rebellious,” the website The Outsider quoted him as saying in 2021, and success had come so easily. His face was soon on the cover of magazines aimed at teenage readers. After six years, as the fictional Wally was preparing to go to college, Dow was ready to move on to something new.

He appeared as a guest star on series like “Dr. Kildare” (1963), “My Three Sons” (1964), “Lassie” (1968), “The Mod Squad” (1971), “Love, American Style” (1971) and “Emergency” (1972). He was a regular on “Never Too Young” (1965-66), a soap aimed at teenage audiences. But he soon realized he had been hopelessly typecast as his “Leave It to Beaver” character.

In his 20s, he began to suffer from clinical depression, which he described as a “self-absorbing feeling of worthlessness, of hopelessness.” Helped by psychotherapy and medication, he became a spokesperson for the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association.

“I realize there’s a perceived irony about this,” Dow told the Chicago Tribune in 1993, acknowledging that his name and face were associated with one of the sunniest series in broadcast history. But fame was part of the problem.

“If you have anonymity, you can sit in the corner and pout and nobody cares,” he said. “But if you’re a celebrity, pouting is frowned upon.”

Twenty years after “Leave It to Beaver” went off the air, it returned — in the form of a CBS television movie, “Still the Beaver” (1983). It reunited the cast, with the exception of Beaumont, who had died in 1982 at 72. Wally was by then a lawyer who had married a high school sweetheart. Beaver was going through a messy divorce.

The film became a Disney Channel series for one season and returned on TBS as “The New Leave It to Beaver” from 1986 to 1989. The series offered monsters in the closet; mishaps with borrowed cars, bicycles, comic books, football tickets and prom dates; and a seemingly unending supply of flashbacks (clips from the original series).

In the ’90s, Dow turned to directing, hired for episodes of shows such as “Coach,” “Harry and the Hendersons,” “Babylon 5” and, of course, his own “The New Leave It to Beaver.” He directed a television movie, “Child Stars: Their Stories” (2000), and produced two others, “The Adventures of Captain Zoom From Outer Space” (1995) and “It Came From Outer Space II” (1996).

When he appeared on camera in movies or television later on, it was often with a healthy dose of amused self-awareness. In David Spade’s comedy “Dickie Roberts, Former Child Star,” Dow sang in the front row of a glee club of former child stars. His last screen role was on a 2016 episode of the anthology series “Suspense.”

Along the way, Dow also had a contracting business and did visual effects for film. But he found his passion when, in his 50s, he began doing sculpture, working primarily in burl wood and bronze. In 2008, his sculpture “Unarmed Warrior” was shown in Paris at the Salon de la Societé Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Carrousel du Louvre.

He was with his first wife, Carol Marlow, from 1969 until their 1980 divorce. He married Lauren Shulkind, a ceramic artist, in 1980. She survives him, along with his son, Christopher; his brother, Dion; and a granddaughter.

Dow said in the end that he was no longer troubled by the outcome of his early success. “I felt that way probably from the time I was 20 until I was maybe 40,” he said in a 2022 interview on “CBS Sunday Morning.” “At 40, I realized how great the show was.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.










Today's News

July 28, 2022

The Städel Museum opens an exhibition of works by painter Ottilie W. Roederstein

Lourdes Grobet, photographer of Mexico's masked wrestlers, dies at 81

Free family fun at Tate this summer with Yayoi Kusama's The obliteration room and Tate Draw

Public Art of the University of Houston System announces 2 new commissions + 20 new acquisitions, on view Fall 2022

Charm City at Asya Geisberg Gallery connects Baltimore abstract artists to New York

A Gentil Carioca Rio de Janeiro extends Rodrigo Torres's 'Livro de Quartzo' until August 13

Mid century Modern steals the show with £15,000 haul at Ewbank's

House of Illustration rebranded and renamed as Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration

U.S. authors dominate Booker Prize nominees

Coeur d'Alene Art Auction's $ 16.4 million sale sets the standard for 2022

Daisuke Yokota Sediments extended through August 13 at Casemore Kirkeby

Tony Dow, big brother Wally on 'Leave It to Beaver,' dies at 77

Pangolin London explores the career of one of Britain's most exceptional bronze founders Ken Cook

Joni Mitchell reclaims her voice at Newport

Dallas Museum of Art diversifies board with new appointments

Goodman Theater names Susan V. Booth as artistic director

David Warner, actor who played villains and more, dies at 80

Heritage Auctions welcomes Joe Orlando as Executive Vice President of Sports

MMoCA presents "Home": An Exhibition that explores the tenuous and elusive concept of home

Manetti Shrem presents 'Young, Gifted and Black: The Lumpkin-Boccuzzi Family Collection of Contemporary Art'

JG.Limited will hold its online-only inaugural sale

A maestro and his musicians face scrutiny over ties to Russia

Tate announces international conference 'Reshaping the Collectible: Learning Through Change'

Two operas conjure apocalypses personal and cosmic

Art & Antiques For Everyone - The UK's Largest Vetted Antiques and Fine Art Fair Exhibition Show

How to withdraw money from mostbet?

3 good reasons to use soakaway crates

4 common uses of abrasive blasting

Why Businesses Should Have a 360-Degree View of the Customer




Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful