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“Dear friends and fans of Tony Dow, I have some very sad news to share with you,” Shulkind wrote. “Unfortunately, Tony has once again been diagnosed with cancer. He is approaching this reality so bravely, but it is truly heartbreaking.
“We want to thank you in advance for your caring thoughts. Our Love, Lauren & Tony.”
Tony Dow has been diagnosed again with cancer, his wife confirmed on Facebook. (gotpap/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
The former child star played the role of Wally Cleaver in the hit series for all six seasons of the show. It starred Jerry Mathers and Dow, Barbara Billingsley, Hugh Beaumont and Ken Osmond, among others.
The show originally aired on CBS before switching to ABC and produced a total of 234 episodes between 1957 to 1963.
The actor, 77, participated in the show’s 1983 reunion, “Still the Beaver,” and the show’s sequel series, “The New Leave It to Beaver.”
Dow has been battling health issues in the past year. He was hospitalized in August 2021 with pneumonia. He celebrated his 77th birthday last month.
Jerry Mathers and Tony Dow on the set of “Leave It to Beaver.” (ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)
In January, Dow opened up about his private battle with depression. He initially believed the character wouldn’t define him as he grew older, “but it did.”
“And I was gonna have to live with it for the rest of my life,” the actor recalled during an appearance on “CBS Sunday Morning.” “I thought, ‘This isn’t fair.’ You know? I mean, I’d like to do some other stuff. I’d like to do some interesting stuff. You know, it’s sad to be famous at 12 years old or something, and then you grow up and become a real person, and nothing’s happening to you.”
Dow claimed the sadness he initially felt following the success of “Leave It to Beaver” transformed into anger, which led to a struggle that he said plagued him for years.
“Anger, if it’s untreated, anger turns to depression,” Dow explained. “But depression isn’t something you can say ‘Cheer up’ about. You know, it’s a very powerful thing. And it’s had a lot of effect on my life.”
Tony Dow on “Leave It to Beaver.” (ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)
Dow shared that medication and therapy helped him cope with his depression. He also credited pursuing his childhood love of art for giving him a sense of purpose. Today, he’s “got it under control pretty much.”
Fox News’ Stephanie Nolasco contributed to this report.