Tony Dow, the beloved television actor who rose to fame portraying older brother Wally Cleaver on the hit 1950s sitcom Leave It to Beaver, has recently been hospitalized with pneumonia. Due to the large number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the Los Angeles area, the star had to wait for 24 hours before being admitted into his room. Join Facts Verse as we take a look at the tragic reason why Leave It to Beaver star Tony Dow was hospitalized.
Tony Dow is a television actor that rose to fame portraying the character of Wally Cleaver on the show Leave It to Beaver. Wally was the older brother of the show’s titular character, Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver. The actor has recently been hospitalized for pneumonia, and was forced to wait for 24 hours before being admitted into the hospital due to the extreme amount of COVID-19 cases in the Los Angeles area. Thankfully, the actor was eventually given treatment, and his wife says that he is quickly recovering.
Of course, both Tony and his wife wondered if the illness that Tony was suffering from was COVID-19. Thankfully, the actor has tested negative multiple times. According to his wife, the actor will likely only be in the hospital for a week or so before being released. With the recent news of Tony’s hospitalization, fans have taken a renewed interest in the former child star’s past, and what he’s been up to in the years since appearing on the hit show Leave It to Beaver.
Leave It to Beaver aired from 1957 to 1963. After the show came to an end, Tony made some guest appearances in other shows. However, he eventually decided that he needed to take a break from acting and ventured out into other career fields. In 1965, Tony joined the National Guard. He stayed there until 1968, at which point he took up working as a contractor, performing renovations on luxury condos. In the 1970s, the former child star began studying journalism.
When Tony was hired to play Wally on Leave It to Beaver, the young boy didn’t have any prior acting experience. Another child performer had already been cast in the role for the show’s pilot, but proved too old by the time that filming for the rest of the show’s episodes began. An open casting call was put out, and Tony was one of the kids that answered it. Tony was given the role, and the rest is history!
After Leave It to Beaver came to an end, Tony continued performing for a few years before deciding to take his break from acting. Some of the shows that Tony appeared as a guest star on after Leave It to Beaver came to an end include The Greatest Show on Earth, My Three Sons, and Adam-12. In 1963, he was given a recurring role on the series Mr. Novak that saw him appear in five episodes. When Tony felt that he wasn’t getting roles that were worthy of his time, he decided to dedicate his time to other things.
Tony returned to acting after studying journalism, and achieved some modest success on television throughout the 1980s. Although the actor never returned to the iconic status that he had held during his years on the original Leave It to Beaver, he was rarely hurting for work throughout the decade. In 1982, he played the father of a girl played by a young Sarah Jessica Parker on the show Square Pegs. Tony also guest starred on numerous other programs during the decade, including Knight Rider, Quincy M.E., and Murder, She Wrote. In 1985, Tony was cast to reprise the role of Wally Cleaver on The New Leave It to Beaver.
In addition to Tony, The New Leave It to Beaver also featured much of the rest of the Leave It to Beaver cast returning to reprise their roles. The only main former cast member that didn’t return to the sequel program was Hugh Beaumont, who played the Cleaver family patriarch. Sadly, the actor had already died at that point in history.
The New Leave It to Beaver was a success, lasting for over 100 episodes before coming to an end at end of the decade, in 1989. The show had been going by the name of Still the Beaver for it’s first season, and was preceded by a made-for-television reunion film of the same name. The first season of the show aired on The Disney Channel, which was relatively new at the time. The new name came with the network change, when the show began airing on WTBS.
Tony continued acting on television after The New Leave It to Beaver came to an end, appearing in a 1989 episode of Charles In Charge. In 1990, Tony appeared in two episodes of Freddy’s Nightmares, which was a television show based upon the popular A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. In his later life, Tony would venture out into other fields of interest again, becoming a sculptor with works on display in the Louvre! If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! As well, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!
After his successful return to television acting during the 1980s, Tony Dow decided it was time to take a step behind the camera. In the 1990s, Tony began directing. Over the course of the decade, the former child star directed several episodes of notable television programs, including the science fiction shows Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Babylon 5. Tony also worked behind the scenes of shows in other ways, even performing visual effects on Doctor Who!
After his successful time behind the cameras, Tony felt that it was time to take another break from filmed entertainment. The actor instead decided he was going to pursue art in a different way. It was in the 2000s that Tony took up sculpting, and he proved to be incredibly good at it. In 2008, a bronze sculpture of Tony’s was featured at an art show in the Louvre. Of course, the Louvre is one of the preeminent art museums in the world, located in Paris, France.
Although Tony never achieved fame in Hollywood as an adult that could match his fame on the original Leave It to Beaver, the former child star turned out much more mentally stable than many others both before and since. Tony has come to credit much of this mental wellness to his parents, who sheltered him from much of the toxicity of the Hollywood industry. In fact, Tony wasn’t even allowed to watch Leave It to Beaver during the years that he was filming it!
In addition to not being able to watch his own show, Tony was put through public school and treated pretty much like a normal child by his parents. This allowed the young boy to grow up without much of the delusional thinking and unhealthy behavioral patterns that have caused other child stars to self-destruct in later years. Tony has also said that the cast and crew of Leave It to Beaver always maintained a safe and family-friendly atmosphere that wasn’t much different from what the show portrayed to audiences.
By the time Leave It to Beaver came to an end, the show had lasted for six seasons and 234 episodes. Although Tony went on to find great success in his life outside of the show, he suffered for depression for a time after the show aired it’s final episode. During the actor’s early 20s, he started feeling intrusive negative thoughts about himself. He didn’t think anything of it at first, but eventually felt so sad that he couldn’t bring himself to get out of bed. It was at this point that the actor decided to seek professional help, and was diagnosed with depression. Thankfully, his depression has been treated, and the actor is currently happy as can be!
Whenever Tony has talked about his period of depression, he hasn’t been afraid to mention the irony of how the reality of his depression contradicted with the idyllic fantasy represented by Leave It to Beaver. Tony has even wondered if spending so much time on the set of the show as a child resulted in him having unrealistic expectations about how friendly of an environment the real world was. While it’s possible that Tony’s time on the show had a mild negative impact on the young actor’s psyche, he still turned out better than many of his peers due to the influence of his parents.
Tony was born on April 13, 1945, and is currently 76 years old. Hopefully, he will be released from the hospital soon with a clean bill of health! The only other surviving former main cast member from Leave It to Beaver is the Beaver himself, Jerry Mathers. Jerry is currently 73 years old. He has led a similar life to his on-screen older brother, venturing outside the world of entertainment. He joined the United States Air Force Reserve in 1966, and went on to get an education in philosophy from the University in California.
Besides Tony and Jerry, the rest of the main former Leave It to Beaver cast members have passed away. This includes Ken Osmond, Barbara Billingsley, and Hugh Beaumont. Hugh was the first one to go, and was thus the only main cast member not to return for The New Leave It to Beaver. Hugh died of a heart attack in 1982, at the age of 72. Barbara died in 2010, at the age of 94. Ken Osmond, who played the Cleaver’s neighbor, Eddie Haskell, died just recently. Ken became a police officer after his time on the show, and was shot in the line of duty in 2020.
Although Leave It to Beaver fans were incredibly worried when they heard the news that Tony Dow had been hospitalized, it appears that he is fine and will make a full recovery very soon! Comment down below to share if you’re sending Tony your best wishes, or if you were surprised to learn any of the interesting trivia featured in this video! As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!