Tony Dow's management team removes statement star has died
After sharing a statement on his verified Facebook account Tuesday morning that Tony Dow, an actor and director best known for his role as older brother Wally Cleaver on "Leave It to Beaver," had died, Dow's management team has removed the statement.
According to Judy Twersky, a longtime friend of Dow's, he was still alive as of 3:30 p.m. ET, when she spoke to Dow's wife, Lauren Dow.
Lauren Dow told Twersky he is still breathing and receiving hospice care. Dow was unclear what happened with the statement from her husband's management team earlier today, Twersky told CNN.
Dow was thrust into stardom at age 12, when he was cast on the soon-to-be-smash sitcom "Leave It to Beaver."
In the role, Dow helped create the archetype of a suburban nuclear family and became a household name to millions of viewers. The show ran from 1957 to 1963.
In a January interview with CBS Sunday Morning, Dow recalled learning over a hamburger and malt that he was offered the part after auditioning on a whim.
Wally Cleaver, the straight-arrow teenage son, star athlete and Boy Scout, became inextricably tied to Dow, who said he struggled to stand on his own.
"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 happened for you," he told CBS.
Dow, who said he experienced undiagnosed depression from age 20 to age 40, spoke out for decades about his mental health challenges, long before it was common for celebrities to disclose that information publicly.