Tony Dow, the actor best known for starring in Leave It to Beaver, died on July 27 at age 77. Dow was reported to be in hospice for cancer but alive on July 26, following several premature reports of his death. Dow’s son Christopher officially announced his death in a post on the actor’s Facebook page shared by Dow’s team, Vulture has confirmed. “Although this is a very sad day, I have comfort and peace that he is in a better place,” said Christopher in the post. “He was the best Dad anyone could ask for. He was my coach, my mentor, my voice of reason, my best friend, my best man in my wedding, and my hero.”
Dow played Wally Cleaver throughout the 234-episode run of Leave It to Beaver, the oldest son of the Cleaver family. He also appeared in four seasons of the sequel show The New Leave It to Beaver from 1983–1989. Of the idyllic family life depicted on the show, Dow said, “I think it’s a safe place to go, a thing to aspire to.” Dow also starred in shows like General Hospital and Never Too Young for a time, and directed episodes of Coach and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Later in life, sculpting burlwood became his “passion.” He is survived by his wife, Lauren Shulkind, whom he married in 1980, and his son, Christopher.