AceShowbiz - Tony Dow is still alive, despite a statement from his management team stating otherwise. On Tuesday morning, July 26, representatives for the actor, best known for his his role as Wally Cleaver on "Leave It to Beaver", posted a message on Facebook stating that he had passed away.
The news, however, was later debunked, with Judy Twersky, a longtime friend of Tony, saying he was still alive as of 3:30 P.M. ET, when she spoke to Tony's wife, Lauren Shulkind. A statement from Tony's son Christopher Dow also revealed that his father is still alive, but is "in his last hours" and "under hospice care."
"This is a difficult time," Christopher posted on Facebook to correct the inaccurate report. "Dad is at home, under hospice care, and in his last hours. My wife and I are by his side along with many friends that have visited. He has a fighting heart."
Earlier on Tuesday, Tony's management team posted on his verified Facebook account that the actor had died. "It is with an extremely heavy heart that we share with you the passing of our beloved Tony this morning. Tony was a beautiful soul - kind, compassionate, funny and humble," the statement read.
In an "URGENT UPDATE" on the Facebook page, representatives Frank Bilotta and Renee James wrote, "This morning Tony's wife Lauren, who was very distraught, had notified us that Tony had passed and asked that we notify all his fans. As we are sure you can understand, this has been a very trying time for her. We have since received a call from Tony's daughter-in-law saying that while Tony is not doing well, he has not yet passed. Tony's son Christopher and his daughter-in-law Melissa have also been by his side comforting him, and we will keep you posted on any future updates."
Tony, born Tony Lee Dow, played Wally Cleaver, the older son of June (Barbara Billingsley) and Ward Cleaver (Hugh Beaumont), on television sitcom "Leave It to Beaver", which ran in primetime from 1957 to 1963. He reprised the role in a TV movie and on "The New Leave It to Beaver" in the 1980s.
He moved into writing, producing and directing while continuing to act. His directing credits include several episodes of "Harry and the Hendersons", "Coach", "Babylon 5", "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" and an episode of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine".
Tony battled depression in his 20s and spoke out for decades about his mental health challenges, long before it was common for celebrities to disclose that information publicly. He is a cancer survivor, but in May of this year, his wife announced that his cancer had returned, just a month after he celebrated his 77th birthday.