‘Leave It to Beaver’s Tony Dow Dead at 77: Jerry Mathers Remembers His Late Costar

by Joe Rutland

UPDATE 4:40 PM ET: Tony Dow is reportedly still alive, per TMZ. The post from Dow’s Facebook page breaking the news this morning has now been removed. Dow’s manager reported that the actor’s wife, Lauren, “believed her husband was dead.” TMZ adds that Dow remains in hospice care.

Upon hearing news of Leave It to Beaver costar Tony Dow dying at 77 years old, Jerry Mathers offered his condolences. Mathers, who played Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver on the classic TV sitcom, would go on Facebook on Tuesday morning. Deadline reported that Mathers shared his thoughts on that social media platform.

“It is with the utmost sadness I learned this morning of my co-star and lifelong friend Tony Dow’s passing,” Mathers would write on Facebook. “He was not only my brother on tv, but in many ways in life as well. Tony leaves an empty place in my heart that won’t be filled. He was always the kindest, most generous, gentle, loving, sincere, and humble man, that it was my honor and privilege to be able to share memories together with for 65 years.

Jerry Mathers Sends Condolences To Family of Tony Dow

“Tony was so grateful for all of the love and support from our fans across the world,” Mathers wrote. “My wife Teresa and I send our deepest condolences to his wife Lauren, his family, and to all of those who knew and loved him. The world may have lost a star today, but the heavens gained another.” Dow was battling with cancer before his death. At this time, there is no official cause surrounding Dow’s passing. Funeral arrangements are still pending.

Of course, Tony Dow played lovable-yet-brotherly Wally Cleaver opposite Mathers. Leave It to Beaver has become an iconic show in reruns over the decades. Barbara Billingsley and Hugh Beaumont also starred as parents June and Ward Cleaver, respectively.

In an interview with Fox News, Dow talked about his relationship with other cast members. “It was great,” he said. “You always hear stories about all these arguments on set. We never had any of that. They wanted us to be as much of a family as possible, for Jerry and I to very much be like regular kids.

“They actually asked our parents not to let us watch the show on TV so we wouldn’t get a big head,” Dow said. “So there are probably some episodes that I haven’t seen yet… And there was no swearing on set at all, not even from the crew. They wanted to keep it as family-friendly as possible at all times.” Tony Dow leaves behind his second wife, Lauren, and a son, Christopher. While acting was a part of his life, Dow also would go behind the cameras as a director. Among the shows he would direct include Babylon 5 and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Yet Dow also found comfort in being a sculptor and carpenter. Reportedly, one of his works was in Billingsley’s house, too.