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Updated: June 02, 2024

Tony Dow

Born - Tony Lee Dow April 13, 1945 Hollywood, California, US

Occupation - Actor, director, producer, sculptor

Dow is best known for his role in the television sitcom Leave It to Beaver, which ran in primetime from 1957 to 1963. Dow played Wally Cleaver, the elder son of June ( Barbara Billingsley ) and Ward Cleaver ( Hugh Beaumont ), and the brother of Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver ( Jerry Mathers ).

Early life and career:

Dow was born in Hollywood, California, to John Stevens, a designer and general contractor, and Muriel Virginia Dow ( nee Montrose ) ( May 27, 1906–April 30, 2001 ), a stunt woman in early Westerns and Clara Bow's movie double in Hollywood. In his youth Dow was a Junior Olympics diving champion. He won the role of Wally Cleaver in a casting call with almost no previous acting experience.

Dow remained on the series until it ended in 1963. After the run of Leave It to Beaver, he appeared on My Three Sons, Dr. Kildare, Mr. Novak ( five episodes in three different roles ), The Greatest Show on Earth, and Never Too Young. From 1965 to 1968 Dow served in the National Guard, interrupting his acting career. On his return to acting, he guest-starred in Adam-12, Love American Style, Square Pegs, The Mod Squad, The Hardy Boys and Emergency!

During the 1970s Dow continued acting while working in the construction business and studying journalism and filmmaking. In 1987 he was honored by the Young Artist Foundation with its Former Child Star "Lifetime Achievement" Award for his role as Wally Cleaver.

Dow's most recent screen appearance was in the 2003 film Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star.

Behind the camera:

In 1986, he wrote an episode of The New Leave It to Beaver, and in 1989, he made his directorial debut with an episode of The New Lassie, followed by episodes of Get a Life, Harry and the Hendersons, Swamp Thing, Coach, Babylon 5, Crusade, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Dow also served as the visual effects supervisor for Babylon 5. In 1996, he provided visual effects for the Fox television movie Doctor Who.

Personal life:

Dow ( top ) with his Leave It to Beaver co-stars ( L–R ) Hugh Beaumont, Barbara Billingsley and Jerry Mathers, circa 1959 In the 1990s Dow revealed that he has suffered from clinical depression. He has since starred in self-help videos chronicling this battle, including "Beating the Blues" ( 1998 ).

Dow has become a serious, and respected sculptor, creating abstract bronze sculptures. In his artist statement, he says the following about his work: "The figures are abstract and not meant to represent reality but rather the truth of the interactions as I see and feel them. I find the wood in the hills of Topanga Canyon and each piece evolves from my subconscious. I produce limited editions of nine bronzes using the lost wax process from molds of the original burl sculpture." One of his bronze pieces was on display in the backyard garden of Barbara Billingsley, who played his mother on Leave It to Beaver. Dow was chosen as one of three sculptors to show at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts exhibition, in the Carrousel du Louvre, in Paris, France, in December 2008. He represented the United States delegation, which was composed of artists from the Karen Lynne Gallery. His abstract shown at the Louvre was titled, "Unarmed Warrior," a bronze figure of a woman holding a shield.


NBC Children's Theatre ( 1 episode, 1949 ) Leave It to Beaver ( 234 episodes, 1957–1963 ) The Eleventh Hour as Bob Quincy in "Four Feet in the Morning" ( 1963 ) Dr. Kildare ( 1 episode, 1963 ) The Greatest Show on Earth ( 1 episode, 1964 ) My Three Sons ( 1 episode, 1964 ) Mr. Novak ( 5 episodes, 1963–1965 ) Never Too Young (Unknown episodes, 1965) Adam-12 ( 1 episode, 1970 ) Love, American Style ( 1 episode, 1971 ) The Mod Squad ( 1 episode, 1971 ) Emergency! ( Brushfire episode, 1972 ) A Great American Tragedy ( 1972 ) Death Scream ( 1975 ) General Hospital ( Unknown episodes, 1975 ) The Kentucky Fried Movie ( 1977 ) The Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew Mysteries ( 1 episode, 1977 ) The Ordeal of Bill Carney ( 198 1) Square Pegs ( 2 episodes, 1982 ) Still the Beaver ( 1983 ) Quincy M.E. ( 1 episode, 1983 ) Knight Rider ( 1 episode, 1983 ) High School U.S.A. ( 1983 ) Murder, She Wrote ( 1 episode, 1987 ) Back to the Beach ( 1987 ) The New Leave It to Beaver aka Still the Beaver ( 1985–1989 ) Charles in Charge ( 1 episode, 1989 ) Freddy's Nightmares aka Freddy's Nightmares: A Nightmare on Elm Street The Series ( 2 episodes, 1990 ) The Adventures of Captain Zoom in Outer Space ( 1995 ) Playing Patti ( 1998 ) Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction ( 1 episode, 1998 ) Diagnosis: Murder ( 2 episodes, 1999 ) Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star ( 2003 )

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