Tony Dow, ‘Leave It To Beaver” Star & “Deep Space Nine” Director, Dead at 77

Tony Dow

Tony Dow Actor, director, sculptor Tony Dow is under hospice care.

Actor, director, and sculptor Tony Dow is dead at the age of 77 after a whirlwind day that involved a mistaken report of his death from his wife and management team, then an update that he was on hospice care, followed by a confirmation that he died on July 26, 2022. Dow first gained fame for his role as Wally Cleaver, the eldest child of June (Barbara Billingsley) and Ward Cleaver (Hugh Beaumont), and the younger brother of Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver (Jerry Mathers), on the beloved family sitcom “Leave It to Beaver.” Later in his career, after becoming a director, he helmed an episode of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” according to the Internet Movie Database.

“It is with an extremely heavy heart that we share with you the passing of our beloved Tony this morning,” Dow’s management team wrote on July 26 in a since-deleted statement on his Facebook page. “Tony was a beautiful soul – kind, compassionate, funny and humble. It was truly a joy to just be around him. His gentle voice and unpretentious manner was immediately comforting and you could not help but love him. The world has lost an amazing human being, but we are all richer for the memories that he has left us. From the warm reminiscences of Wally Cleaver to those of us fortunate enough to know him personally – thank you Tony. And thank you for the reflections of a simpler time, the laughter, the friendship and for the feeling that you were a big brother to us all. We will miss you. Frank Bilotta and Renee James- Tony’s Management Team & Dear Friends.”

A new statement posted by Dow’s management team on Dow’s Facebook page on July 27, reads in part, “Dear Family, Friends, & Fans… 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. 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.'”

Dow Became Part of the ‘Star Trek’ Lexicon When He Directed the ‘Deep Space Nine’ episode ‘Field of Fire’

Dow starred in “Leave It to Beaver” from 1957 to 1963, according to the Internet Movie Database. Years 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 IMDB, Dow made his directing debut with a 1988 episode of “The New Leave It to Beaver,” and went on to direct four additional episodes of that series, 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.”

According to Memory Alpha, he made his only visit to the “Star Trek” galaxy in 1999 to direct the “Deep Space Nine” episode “Field of Fire.” Premiering during the show’s seventh and final season, “Field of Fire” focused on Ezri Dax (Nicole de Boer), who joined forces with a previous host, Joran (Leigh J. McCloskey), to bring a killer to justice. The official “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion” notes that Dow landed the directing gig courtesy of “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.”

In Addition to His Career as an Actor & Director, Dow Enjoyed Success as a Sculptor


Dow’s career as an actor, visual effects supervisor/producer, and director overlapped with several “Star Trek” figures before and after “DS9.” According to IMDB, Keith Taylor appeared in eight episodes of “Leave It to Beaver” between 1960 and 1961, and 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.”

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 killed by a space virus. As the character dies, he utters the iconic — though never actually uttered on the show — “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.

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 had 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. He had announced in May 2022 that his cancer had returned and in that statement, he and his wife, Lauren, thanked fans for their “caring thoughts.”