Tony Dow, beloved actor behind Wally Beaver in the classic TV series Leave It to Beaver, has suffered a variety of health struggles in recent years. Back in August, the actor was diagnosed with pneumonia, an illness that left him hospitalized. Though he’s now recovered from the pneumonia, his latest diagnosis has put him in an even graver situation.
As reported by TMZ, on Thursday, the former child star’s wife, Lauren Dow, shared the heartbreaking news that Tony Dow was diagnosed with cancer. Neither Dow nor his wife gave the specific type of cancer the actor is battling, but asked fans for their prayers and positive thoughts.
After his time with Leave It to Beaver, Tony Dow battled depression, a condition he says had a huge effect on his life, but taught him the importance of faith. “I’ve got it under control pretty much,” Dow told CBS Sunday Morning, “You know, I think people should take the leap of faith that they can feel better.”
Hopefully, Tony Dow maintains his positive outlook through his newest health struggle and comes out the other side healthier than ever.
‘Leave It to Beaver’ Star Jerry Mathers Talks Friendship With Tony Dow
Though the series finale of Leave It to Beaver aired nearly 60 years ago, the two child actors of the series, Tony Dow and Jerry Mathers, remain close friends to this day. In an interview with Today, Jerry Mathers explained their relationship. “We’re good friends,” Mathers said. Anything goes on in our families, we know about it”. Ever the older brother, Tony Dow couldn’t resist adding, “He’s still a squirt, though.”
When asked if they were friends right away, they both said yes. Jerry Mathers then launched into admiration for his Leave It to Beaver costar. “Tony was a great athlete,” Mathers said. “I’m the oldest in my family, so I never had a big brother. But he was an AAU swimming and diving champion.”
Tony Dow expressed appreciation for his fictional younger brother as well. “He was a great actor from the time he was six years old,” Dow said. “He showed me how to do it.”
In an earlier interview with the Television Academy Foundation, Jerry Mathers further expounded on his feelings of admiration for Tony Dow. “Tony Dow was an athlete. He was training to be an Olympic swimmer and diver. He had no ambitions to be an actor. If you look at him on a lot of the shows, he’s got his shirt off. I mean, he was muscular. He was a gymnast, he was a trampolinist. He was the perfect big brother.”