Jerry Mathers Shares Heartfelt Statement After Believing Tony Dow Had Died

(Left) Caleb Thomas / YouTube / (Right) Jerry Mathers / Facebook


As of 9:40 PM ET on July 26, Tony Dow is confirmed to still be alive.  His wife, Lauren, believed he had passed away and told his team to share the news with his fans on the morning of July 26.

However, Lauren was mistaken. An “URGENT” update on Tony’s Facebook page read:

This morning Tony’s wife Lauren, who was very distraught, had notified us that Tony had passed and asked that we notify all his fans. As we are sure you can understand, this has been a very trying time for her. We have since received a call from Tony’s daughter-in-law saying that while Tony is not doing well, he has not yet passed. Tony’s son Christopher and his daughter-in-law Melissa have also been by his side comforting him, and we will keep you posted on any future updates..”

A later update from Tony’s son, Christopher, said the following:

This is a difficult time. Dad is at home, under hospice care, and in his last hours. My wife and I are by his side along with many friends that have visited. He has a fighting heart.”

The previously reported story, with modifications to reflect new information, continues below this line…

Tony Dow, the actor beloved around the world for playing Wally Cleaver on Leave It to Beaver, was reported to have died on Tuesday morning (July 26) at the age of 77. But as clarified above, it has since been confirmed that Dow did not pass away at that time.

Dow has been battling cancer, and went public with his diagnosis in May.

The actor’s managers and good friends Frank Bilotta and Renee James mistakenly shared the news of his passing in a now-deleted statement on Dow’s official Facebook page. Devestated people who loved Tony reacted to the news before it was confirmed that he was still alive.

One of the most heartfelt reactions came from Jerry Mathers, who played Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver on Leave It to Beaver. Dow’s character, Wally, was Beaver’s older brother on the show.

Dow and Mathers have maintained a close bond over the years. As Mathers said in a now-deleted post on Facebook when he believed that Dow was gone…

It is with the utmost sadness I learned this morning of my co-star and lifelong friend Tony Dow’s passing. He was not only my brother on tv, but in many ways in life as well. Tony leaves an empty place in my heart that won’t be filled.He was always the kindest, most generous, gentle, loving, sincere, and humble man, that it was my honor and privilege to be able to share memories together with for 65 years.”

Mathers ended his post by sending his condolences to Dow’s wife, Lauren, and to all of his loved ones. “The world may have lost a star today, but the heavens gained another,” Mathers said.

Jerry Mathers / Facebook

Dow and Mathers often got together to reminisce about the time they spent filming Leave It to Beaver. Watch one of their interviews below.