Leave it to Beaver Star Tony Dow Announces Cancer Diagnosis

Posted 2022/05/08 5 0

Tony Dow, who played Wally Cleaver on the classic sitcom, has been diagnosed with cancer.

Former child actor Tony Dow could use a lot of support right now. Dow’s wife, Lauren Shulkind, has announced on the actor’s official Facebook page that the Leave it to Beaver star has been diagnosed with cancer, news that is “heartbreaking” for the family as he’d previously overcome the disease. The couple is asking for support at this time, as you can see in the statement below.

“Dear friends and fans of Tony Dow, I have some very sad news to share with you. Unfortunately, Tony has once again been diagnosed with cancer. He is approaching this reality so bravely, but it is truly heartbreaking. We want to thank you in advance for your caring thoughts. Our Love, Lauren & Tony.”

Now 77 years old, Dow is a former child star who achieved worldwide fame with his role as Ward Cleaver, the older brother to the titular Beaver, on the classic comedy series Leave it to Beaver. He appeared in all six seasons of the series from 1957 to 1963. The show followed Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver (Jerry Mathers) and his adventures and also starred Barbara Billingsley and Hugh Beaumont as the Cleaver parents.

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This was a role that has stuck with Dow throughout his life. In the 1980s, Dow reprised the role for a TV reunion movie along with the sequel series The New Leave It to Beaver. In more recent years, Dow has continued to be associated with the classic role with promotional appearances for MeTV advertising Leave It to Beaver reruns.

Leave It to Beaver Was Different from Other Sitcoms of the Time

“It’s kind of an interesting point of view because most shows like Father Knows Best, were shows [about] adults looking at their crazy kid’s antics,” Dow said of Leave It to Beaver in a 2017 interview. “And we were kids looking at the craziness of the world and trying to navigate through it. So it was a bit of a different approach. I think it had a lot to do with why it seemed so successful.”

On the show’s enduring legacy, Dow’s co-star Jerry Mathers added, “A lot of shows today are joke shows. They are set-up-set-up-joke. Leave It to Beaver‘s always a story and they’re several stories in it. It’s something you can watch over and over again. And obviously, people have for over 60 years.”


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