Leave It to Beaver actor Tony Dow is reportedly still alive after his representatives inaccurately posted a statement on Facebook announcing his death from liver cancer on Tuesday morning. The statement, which has since been deleted, was picked up by several major news outlets including The New York Times, CNN, and HuffPost.
According to TMZ, Dow, who played Wally Cleaver on the 1950s-era sitcom Leave It to Beaver, is currently in hospice and still breathing. ABC Eyewitness News’s George Pennacchio spoke with Dow’s wife, Lauren Shulkind, who confirmed that Dow was in hospice in a tweet, writing that Shulkind “inferred that Tony passed away” due to health issues he was experiencing overnight. “She is understandably distraught and grief-stricken about what’s been going on with Tony’s health,” Pennacchio wrote.
Tributes for Dow poured in on social media from fans and former costars including his Leave It to Beaver brother, Jerry Mathers, on Tuesday, after Dow’s managers, Frank Bilotta and Renee James, incorrectly announced his passing this morning. “It is with an extremely heavy heart that we share with you the passing of our beloved Tony this morning,” wrote Bilotta and James in the since-deleted post. “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.”
Last year, multiple news outlets incorrectly reported that former Bond girl and That ’70s Show star Tanya Roberts had died at 65 after her representative, Mike Pingel, and longtime domestic partner, Lance O’Brien, prematurely announced her death. Roberts passed away due to a urinary tract infection that spread to her kidney, gallbladder, liver, and blood stream 24 hours after the premature announcement.
Dow was diagnosed with liver cancer in May 2022. He is 77.