Leave It to Beaver star Tony Dow still alive despite death reports
UPDATE: Actor Tony Dow is still alive and news outlets were mistaken in their reporting of his death. The Facebook post announcing his death has now also been removed.
According to Deadline, Dow is reportedly near death and receiving hospice care at home, with his son Christopher Dow telling the outlet his father is in “his last hours”.
Los Angeles ABC reporter George Pennacchio told Deadline that the confusion was due to some health issues overnight, with Dow’s wife Lauren inferring “that Tony had passed away to some people close to her” and the news quickly spread.
Pennacchio says Lauren admits she’s been “a little fuzzy” these days as she helps care for her husband and is “sorry” for the miscommunication.
“She told me she now feels ‘foolish’ about what has transpired since his death has been reported around the world,” Pennacchio said. “While she did say he passed, she now understands the miscommunication and is sorry for causing a commotion in this challenging time.”
ORIGINAL STORY: Actor Tony Dow, best known for his role as Wally Cleaver in the 1950s American TV hit sitcom Leave It to Beaver, died Tuesday at age 77, his friends and management team said.
Dow, whose career in television as an actor, director and producer spanned seven decades, died on Tuesday morning, according to a statement posted to Facebook.
A cause of death was not disclosed, though he and his wife, Lauren, said in May that he was suffering from a recurrence of cancer.
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In Leave It to Beaver, Dow played the teenage older brother of the title character, Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver. Dow’s role in the show – which ran from 1957 to 1963 and depicted an idealised American family living a carefree life in a postwar suburb – made him a cultural icon.
“The world has lost an amazing human being, but we are all richer for the memories that he has left us,” said the statement signed by members of his management team, describing Dow as compassionate, funny and humble.
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“Thank you for the reflections of a simpler time, the laughter, the friendship and for the feeling that you were a big brother to us all. We will miss you.”
In late May, Dow shared a Facebook message thanking his fans for their well-wishes and detailing his health progress, including his experience with cancer treatment.
Dow reprised his role as Wally Cleaver in the 1980s for a spinoff movie, Still the Beaver, and a TV series, The New Leave It to Beaver. He also appeared in the daytime series General Hospital.
Jerry Mathers, who starred as the naive Beaver in the series, mourned Dow’s death in a Facebook post that included a picture of the pair from recent years.
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“He was not only my brother on tv, but in many ways in life as well. Tony leaves an empty place in my heart that won’t be filled,” Mathers wrote.
Dow is also credited as director for more than a dozen TV shows, including The New Leave it to Beaver and Harry and the Hendersons in the 1990s.
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