‘Leave It to Beaver’ Star Tony Dow’s Wife Explains Similarities to Wally

by Michael Freeman

It’s not uncommon for actors to share qualities with the characters they portray onscreen. In a recent interview, Leave It to Beaver star Tony Dow’s wife discussed what he has in common with Wally.

Considering the fact actors frequently play more than one character in their careers, it’s only natural to share certain qualities. Sitting down with CBS Sunday Morning, Tony Dow and his wife fielded questions from host Jim Axelrod. Amid some trouble Dow endured, his wife of 40 years, Lauren, helped him recover. Axelrod asked her what she fell in love with and after remarking the qualities seemed very “Wally-like,” inquired about other qualities he shared with his onscreen persona. Lauren responded it isn’t Dow who is like Wally, but the opposite.

When asked what Lauren fell in love with, she replied “His sweetness. Softness, vulnerability.” Axelrod knew his next question was cliche, but couldn’t help and ask how else Dow was like Wally. “I think there’s a lot of Tony in the character,” she said. “They’re intertwined. Wally was very much like Tony.”

Actors often inject a bit of themselves into their characters, and Lauren firmly believes that is the case. If you think about it, Dow was given the lines to say, but ultimately his tone and delivery gave the character life.

Regardless, whether Tony is like Wally or vice versa, the actor seems content with where his life is now.

Tony Dow Didn’t Think His ‘Leave It to Beaver’ Role Would Define His Life

You often hear of child actors getting their big breaks or becoming stars for the rest of their lives. However, that isn’t always a good thing and can sadly become a defining feature for the rest of their lives. Much to his dismay, this happened to Tony Dow and plagued his life for a long time.

In the same CBS Sunday Morning interview, Dow talked about his iconic role in great detail. One thing he had no idea about was how his role would shape his life. According to him, it became a defining feature and something he’d live with for “the rest of his life.”

“I thought, this isn’t fair,” Dow told Axelrod. “I’d like to do some other stuff. I’d like to do some interesting stuff. You know, it’s sad to be famous at 12 years old or something, and then you grow up and become a real person. And nothing’s happening for you.” That sadness turned to anger over many things, like his acting career not going anywhere.

“Anger, if it’s untreated, anger turns to depression,” he continued. ” The depression isn’t something you can say ‘cheer up’ about. Ya know, it’s a very powerful thing. And it’s had a lot of effect on my life.”

Luckily, Dow said he found Lauren who helped him talk about his problems and move forward with his life.