‘Leave It to Beaver’: ‘Wally Cleaver’ Actor Tony Dow Explained Why He Was ‘Rebellious’ After Show

by Will Shepard

Leave It to Beaver has been off-air for almost 60 years now. The show was the calling card for the early 1960s and was incredibly popular. Tony Dow was one of the main characters on the show and was beloved by anyone who watched.

However, the Leave It to Beaver star had an incredibly difficult time finding work after the show. While Dow is certainly not the only one to be typecast because of the show, he struggled with his career.

While re-runs of the show are not all too common, people still recognize the show. There are still ways to watch all 234 episodes of Leave It to Beaver. Tony Dow was arguably the heart of the show. In an interview with Arizona Central in 2017, he explains what life was like after the show.

“It’s nice to be remembered any way you can, so I have accomplished that,” Dow said. “I’m much more appreciative of the show. I was not unappreciative, but I was always a little rebellious.”

Tony Dow continued to explain how much he struggled with being typecast as Wally Cleaver. Understandably, he was frustrated that he could never get any consistent work after Leave It to Beaver.

“And I was a little angry that when I’d go after parts, a lot of the times I wouldn’t get them because I was too identified with the Wally character,” he said.

Tony Dow Really Struggled with Being Typecast as Wally Cleaver From “Leave It to Beaver”

Even though Tony Dow was never able to get consistent work, he was able to get minor roles. The roles came roughly once a year, and he would act in one to two episodes. The Leave It to Beaver actor was frustrated and consequently rebellious. Nonetheless, he still recognizes how incredible the show was and its place in pop culture history.

“I think it’s amazing they did that show 60 years ago, and it’s still relevant,” Tony Dow said about Leave It to Beaver.

In his later years, Dow has learned to take his life a little less seriously. The Leave It to Beaver star said that he struggled with a lot of issues because he wasn’t able to find work. He dealt with depression and other health issues.

“I’ve learned to take things less seriously. I always thought if you’re going to do something, do it better than anybody else can do it, even if it’s sweeping up the broom closet. I learned it’s okay for me to not be assertive, especially now,” Dow continued. “I’m perfectly happy making sculpture and living where we live.”