Tony Dow, 'Leave It to Beaver's Wally Cleaver, Dead at 77

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Actor Tony Dow passed away on Tuesday. His official facebook account broke the news with a statement presumably written by his family or friends. It says that Dow died on Tuesday morning, and according to a report by Deadline the actor had previously been battling cancer.

“It is with an extremely heavy heart that we share with you the passing of our beloved Tony this morning,” the statement read. “Tony was a beautiful soul – kind, compassionate, funny and humble. It was truly a joy to just be around him. His gentle voice and unpretentious manner was immediately comforting and you could not help but love him. The world has lost an amazing human being, but we are all richer for the memories that he has left us. From the warm reminiscences of Wally Cleaver to those of us fortunate enough to know him personally – thank you Tony.”

“And thank you for the reflections of a simpler time, the laughter, the friendship and for the feeling that you were a big brother to us all,” the statement continued. “We will miss you.”

Dow is best-known for playing Wally Cleaver on Leave It To Beaver – one of the most iconic sitcoms of all time. He filled the role of big brother, as Wally was the elder sibling to the titular Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver played by Jerry Mathers. He set the tone for generations of family depictions where older brothers were shown to be competitive yet protective.

In his personal life, Dow had many interests outside of acting. He was a Junior Olympics diving champion before being cast on TV, with hopes of competing in swimming and diving at the highest levels. In later life, he became interested in sculpture as an art form, and found great success selling his work.

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Dow’s Facebook post has recently featured other third-person posts about his battle with cancer. Last week, the page’s operators wrote: “Tony has been in and out of the hospital with various complications and treatments. He and [wife] Lauren have been trying to maintain a positive spirit, though at times this proves difficult. The outpouring of love and concern from all of you certainly helps to ease this, and for that we thank you. We will post again when there is more to report. Until then, keep the good thoughts coming.”

The details on Dow’s condition have not been made public, but fans are already mourning the actor on social media. Many have shared what his work on screen meant to them over the years.