‘Leave It to Beaver' Actor Tony Dow in Hospice Care, Son Says

Tony Dow, who played the older brother Wally Cleaver to Jerry Mathers' Beaver in "Leave it to Beaver," has been battling a re-occurrence with cancer.

Actor Tony Dow.
Getty

Actor, director and artist Tony Dow, best-known for his role as Wally Cleaver in the family sitcom "Leave it to Beaver," is still alive, but "not doing well," according to an updated statement from his managers.

The statement issued early Tuesday afternoon and citing a family member comes hours after a post announcing Dow's death was published by his management team on his official Facebook page. The original post was later removed.

"This morning Tony's wife Lauren, who was very distraught, had notified us that Tony had passed and asked that we notify all his fans," managers Frank Bilotta and Renee James said in the updated post. "As we are sure you can understand, this has been a very trying time for her. We have since received a call from Tony's daughter-in-law saying that while Tony is not doing well, he has not yet passed. Tony's son Christopher and his daughter-in-law Melissa have also been by his side comforting him, and we will keep you posted on any future updates."

Dow's son later confirmed to NBC News that his father is in hospice care.

"He has family and friends surrounding him," son Christopher Dow said in a statement. "He is on hospice and in his last hours. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers during this difficult time."

Tony Dow
American Broadcasting Companies via Getty Images
Unspecified - 1961: Tony Dow appearing on the ABC tv series 'Leave It To Beaver', episode 'Wally's Track Meet'. (Photo by American Broadcasting Companies via Getty Images)

Dow, who played the older brother to Jerry Mathers' Beaver in "Leave it to Beaver," has been battling a re-occurrence with cancer, which he had beaten back twice. His managers wrote last week that Dow had been "in and out of the hospital with various complications and treatments."

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"Leave it to Beaver" aired from the late 1950s and early 1960s. Dow started playing Wally when he was 12 years old.

The Cleavers were led by a mom and dad portrayed by Barbara Billingsley and Hugh Beaumont, with Mathers playing the always-mischievous Beaver and Dow being his more straight-laced older brother, Wally. Mathers shared words about his friend and co-star in a Facebook post Tuesday.

When the show's run ended, Dow moved more into writing and directing, but continued to make appearances on shows including "The Love Boat," "Charles in Charge" and "Lassie." As a director, he helmed episodes of shows including "Coach," "Babylon 5,'' "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine'' and "Swamp Thing.''

Dow also became an accomplished artist and sculptor. One of his bronze sculptures was once displayed at the Louvre in Paris.

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