‘Leave It To Beaver’ Star Tony Dow Hospitalized for Pneumonia

by Joe Rutland

“Leave It To Beaver” star Tony Dow, who played Wally Cleaver, has reportedly been hospitalized with pneumonia since Thursday.

According to a report from TMZ, Dow’s wife Lauren said the actor-director has been tested five times for COVID-19 while in the hospital. All of those tests have come back negative.

Dow was in the emergency room for 24 hours, though. Why? No beds were available. Lauren Dow did say her husband was getting better and could be out in a week.

“On behalf of Tony and myself, we thank you for your concern for him,” Lauren Dow said to TMZ.

Tony Dow, 76, played Wally from 1957-65 opposite Jerry Mathers, who played Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver. “Leave It To Beaver” aired during a time on television where shows about good-natured families without dysfunction were popular.

That didn’t mean dysfunction didn’t happen, though. The Cleavers, with Hugh Beaumont and Barbara Billingsley playing parents Ward and June Cleaver, simply kept on going with old-fashioned Americana living. Some of the best episodes did have elements where “Beaver” usually found himself in trouble. Everything from bringing a goat home to ending up in a billboard coffee cup. Getting caught up in these funny but harmless situations were all part and parcel of “Leave It To Beaver.”

The half-hour comedy ran for one season on CBS before moving to ABC for the rest of its five seasons on television. Today, Dow and Mathers remain the only major stars from the show still alive. Beaumont and Billingsley have died as has Ken Osmond, who played troublemaker Eddie Haskell on the sitcom.

‘Leave It To Beaver’ Star Almost Skipped Out On Audition

Let’s talk about Mathers for a minute. Did you know that the “Leave It To Beaver” star almost didn’t make it to his audition? Imagine this show without Jerry Mathers as “Beaver.”

Well, that didn’t happen but it almost did. There was something about the audition process that did not appeal to Mathers.

In a 2010 interview, Mathers talked about it with the American Archive of Television.

“Well, actually,” Mathers said. “The audition process, of course, was how I got the job. But, how I got it is probably the most interesting part because ‘Leave it To Beaver’ was a cattle call.”

A cattle call audition is open for anyone to attend. That didn’t sound good to Mathers.

He was just nine years old but already had worked in Hollywood a bit.

Glen Shaw, Mathers’ agent, liked the pilot. Shaw convinced Mathers’ mother that the television series would be good to try.

“Basically, there were about 5,000 people on the interview,” Mathers said. “They were looking for two brothers and their friend.”

The show ended up with Mathers and Dow acting together.