‘Leave It to Beaver’ Star Made a Mark on ‘Trek’

Tony Dow and Jerry Mathers

Gett Tony Dow and Jerry Mathers at an awards show.

The biggest common denominator between two classic television franchises is celebrating a birthday on April 13, 2022. He is the link between “Star Trek” and “Leave It to Beaver.” And it’s none other than “Leave It to Beaver” star and “Deep Space Nine” director Tony Dow, who is turning 77 years old.

Dow, from 1957 to 1963, played Wally Cleaver, the eldest child of June (Barbara Billingsley) and Ward Cleaver (Hugh Beaumont), and the younger brother of Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver (Jerry Mathers). Decades later, from 1983 to 1989, he co-starred alongside Billingsley and Mathers on a popular reboot, “Still the Beaver,” which was also known as “The New Leave It to Beaver.” According to the Internet Movie Database, Dow made his directing debut with a 1988 episode of “The New Leave It to Beaver,” and went on to direct four more episodes of that show, as well as episodes of “The New Lassie,” “Get a Life,” “Harry and the Hendersons,” “Coach,” “Babylon 5,” “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show,” “Crusade,” “Cover Me: Based on the True Life of an FBI Family,” and “Manhattan, AZ.” He also served as a visual effects supervisor or visual effects producer on “The Adventures of Captain Zoom in Outer Space,” “Doctor Who: The Movie,” and “Babylon 5.”

Leave It to Beaver

GettyTony Dow and Jerry Mathers in a publicity still from ‘Leave It to Beaver.’

Directing ‘Deep Space Nine’

His sole visit to the “Star Trek” universe happened in 1999 when he arrived at Paramount to direct the “Deep Space Nine” episode “Field of Fire,” which aired during the show’s seventh and final season. “Field of Fire” centered on Ezri Dax (Nicole de Boer), who joined forces with a previous host, Joran (Leigh J. McCloskey), to bring a killer to justice. According to the official “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion,” Dow landed the directing gig thanks to “Lost in Space” actor Bill Mumy, who was a mutual friend of Dow’s and “Deep Space Nine” writer-producer Ira Steven Behr and had previously guest-starred on “Deep Space Nine.”

“Ira showed me ‘The Darkness and the Light’ as an example of what they wanted to accomplish in this episode,” Dow told “Deep Space Nine Companion” authors Terry J. Erdmann and Paula M. Block. “It had the same sort of mystery feeling, with a renegade who kidnaps Kira (Nana Visitor). Ira told me that it was really the only other show of this type that they’d done. There isn’t much violence on this series, so when it does occur, it’s something to be reckoned with. My objective was to create an atmosphere of apprehension and a bit of panic about what was going on.”

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Not surprisingly, Dow’s career as an actor, visual effects supervisor/producer, and director intersected with numerous “Star Trek” figures before and after “Deep Space Nine.” Keith Taylor appeared in eight episodes of “Leave It to Beaver” between 1960 and 1961, and he later played one of the children in the “Star Trek: The Original Series” episode, “Miri.” Also in 1960, Dow shared scenes with Majel Barrett in the episode “Beaver and Violet.” Barrett would soon meet Gene Roddenberry, who created “Star Trek.” In 1971, Dow co-starred in the television movie “A Great American Tragedy,” which also featured William Windom and William Sargent. Windom famously played Commodore Decker in “The Original Series” episode “The Doomsday Machine,” while Sargent portrayed Dr. Thomas Leighton in “The Conscience of the King.” Dow and Windom also both guest-starred in an episode of “Murder, She Wrote” in 1987.

Tony Dow and Majel Barrett

ABCTony Dow (top right) and Majel Barrett (bottom left) in a scene from ‘Leave It to Beaver.’

 

More ‘Leave It to Beaver’ & ‘Star Trek’ Connections 


During the run of “The New Leave It to Beaver,” according to IMDB, several “Star Trek” actors appeared on the show, among them William Schallert, Liz Vassey, Ray Walston, Ed Begley Jr., and Ian Abercrombie. Later, in 1990, Dow appeared in “Dust to Dust,” an episode of “Freddy’s Nightmares.” The episode featured frequent “Star Trek” guest actor and eventual “Voyager” regular Tim Russ in the role of Dr. Picard, and cast Dow as a character who is killed by a space virus. As the character dies, he utters the iconic — though never actually uttered on the show — “Star Trek” phrase, “Beam me up, Scotty.”

“The Adventures of Captain Zoom in Outer Space,” a sci-fi comedy TV movie from 1995, called upon Dow’s talents as an actor and visual effects producer. It co-starred such familiar “Trek” names as Nichelle Nichols, Ron Perlman, Liz Vassey, and Daniel Riordan. Dow directed five episodes of “Babylon 5” between 1997 and 1998, and the “Trek” actors he put through their paces included Tracy Scoggins, Bill Mumy, Patricia Tallman, Andreas Katsulas, Leigh McCloskey, and Walter Koenig.

VideoVideo related to ‘leave it to beaver’ star made a mark on ‘trek’2022-04-12T16:30:04-04:00

Dow made the news in the summer of 2021 when he was hospitalized in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic with pneumonia. More recently, in January of 2022, he was the subject of an eight-minute “CBS Sunday Morning” segment. Speaking to interviewer Jim Axelrod, Dow discussed his career, life as a former child star, dealing with depression, and his joy of sculpting. Dow seems to have stopped performing and directing to focus on sculpture, and according to his Facebook page, his pieces are on display and available through the Bilotta Gallery in Florida.


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