Tony Dow's 'Leave It to Beaver' Co-Star Mourns His Death After Earlier Confusion
Cover Images/ROGER WONG

Confirming the Wally Cleaver depicter's passing is his son Christopher Dow, who stayed by the actor's side while he was under hospice care in his final hours.

AceShowbiz - Tony Dow has passed away, after premature announcement on his death. The sad news was confirmed by his son Christopher Dow on Wednesday, July 27, a day after he debunked the false reports of the "Leave It to Beaver" actor's passing. He was 77 years old.

"We have received confirmation from Christopher, Tony's son, that Tony passed away earlier this morning, with his loving family at his side to see him through this journey," read a new update on Tony's official Facebook page. "We know that the world is collectively saddened by the loss of this incredible man. He gave so much to us all and was loved by so many. One fan said it best-'It is rare when there is a person who is so universally loved like Tony.' "

Christopher added, "Although this is a very sad day, I have comfort and peace that he is in a better place. He was the best Dad anyone could ask for. He was my coach, my mentor, my voice of reason, my best friend, my best man in my wedding, and my hero. My wife said something powerful and shows the kind of man he was. She said: 'Tony was such a kind man. He had such a huge heart and I've never heard Tony say a bad or negative thing about anyone.' "

One of Tony's friends who mourned his death is his "Leave It to Beaver" co-star Jerry Mathers. "It is with the utmost sadness I learned this morning of my co-star and lifelong friend Tony Dow's passing," Jerry also wrote on Facebook. "He was not only my brother on tv, but in many ways in life as well. Tony leaves an empty place in my heart that won't be filled. He was always the kindest, most generous, gentle, loving, sincere, and humble man, that it was my honor and privilege to be able to share memories together with for 65 years."

He went on remembering his onscreen brother, "Tony was so grateful for all of the love and support from our fans across the world." The 74-year-old added, "My wife Teresa and I send our deepest condolences to his wife Lauren, his family and to all of those who knew and loved him. The world may have lost a star today, but the heavens gained another."

One day prior, on Tuesday, false reports spread that Tony had passed away. Clarifying the reports, Christopher said in an updated statement, "This is a difficult time. 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."

Tony's reps also explained, "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 is survived by his wife of 42 years Lauren Shulkind, son Christopher, whom he shared with ex-wife Carol Marlow, a brother and a granddaughter.

Born Tony Lee Dow, Tony 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 was 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.

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