The actor Tony Dow passed away while in hospice care at his home in Topanga Canyon, California. He was known as Wally Cleaver in Leave It To Beaver, but also directed episodes of Star Trek and Babylon 5, and worked as a sculptor later in life.

Dow’s death was mistakenly announced on Monday, but it was later clarified by his son Christopher Dow that he was still in “his last hours” after being recently diagnosed with liver cancer.

Christopher made an emotional statement on his father’s Facebook page confirming his death and saying, “He was the best Dad anyone could ever ask for. He was my coach, my mentor, my voice of reason, my best friend, my best man in my wedding, and my hero.”

Anthony Lee Dow was born in Hollywood, California on April 13, 1945. As a child, Dow was an accomplished swimmer and diver and even won a Junior Olympics Diving championship. At 12, however, he would be cast in Leave It To Beaver after auditioning for the show with little acting experience. He played the protagonist’s older brother character Wally Cleaver for the whole show besides its original pilot.

The show had ceased production by the time Dow turned 18. He appeared on a great many TV series post-Beaver including General Hospital and Murder, She Wrote, but never had as long-running a role as that foundational family sitcom. He later branched into writing, directing, and producing, hopping both behind and in front of the camera for the show’s sequel series The New Leave It To Beaver.

Dow was open about struggling through depression while in his 20s. He told The Chicago Tribune, “One day I couldn’t get out of bed, couldn’t go to work, couldn’t do anything. There’s this kind of self-absorbing feeling of worthlessness, of hopelessness. It’s like a spiral. The more you think about it, the worse it gets.”

After working extensively in the entertainment business, Dow also founded his own construction company that built luxury buildings and concentrated on painting and sculpture in the latter part of his life. He had one bronze sculpture exhibited in Paris at la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, a program put on by the Louvre, in 2008.

Dow is survived by his first wife Carol Marlow, their son Christopher, and his wife of over 40 years, Lauren Shulkind

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