‘Leave It To Beaver’: How ‘Wally’ Actor Tony Dow Dealt with Struggles of Childhood Stardom

by Emily Morgan
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Tony Dow, who played the adorable Wally Cleaver on “Leave It to Beaver,” once opened up about struggling with the title of “child star.”

Child actors rarely become icons like Ron Howard, Elizabeth Taylor, Neil Patrick Harris in their adult life. 

They often have deeply troubled personal lives after having so much fame at such a young age. As they transition into adulthood, they’re unable to maintain their success. 

For Dow, he was one of the biggest child stars of the 1950s, as the iconic show began airing when he was just a preteen.

‘Leave It To Beaver’s’ Tony Dow Opens Up About Childhood Fame

During an interview with Fox News, Stephanie Nolasco asked him how he dealt with the so-called “curse” that comes with being a child star. 

“When I wasn’t filming my life was normal,” he said. “My parents wanted to make sure it was normal. When I wasn’t doing the show, I was at school. We had family vacations during the summers, and I had my group of friends. And I appreciated that. It’s difficult to make the transition from being a kid actor to an adult actor because all sorts of things happen.”

He added, “Your voice changes. You’re no longer the cute little kid. You go through an awkward age and don’t get hired, so you quit… I wasn’t neglected by my family… I also started college and kept acting… Then I decided to stop and try other things, like directing, to keep things interesting. But my life was sort of consistently the same. So I didn’t have trouble with that transition. And I’m still keeping busy today.”

Even though fans will mostly remember Dow for his role on “Leave It To Beaver,” he also made other appearances in note-worthy roles. 

He appeared in the sketch-comedy film, The Kentucky Fried Movie. Dow also tried his hand at directing. He directed classic science fiction episodes such as “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Babylon 5.”

Dow also appeared in the reboot of “Leave It To Beaver,” in “The New Leave It to Beaver” alongside members of the original cast. 

Even though he didn’t become a major star with high celebrity status, he still accomplished a wide variety of projects in the industry. 

Outsider.com