After a harrowing 24-hour wait for a bed, Tony Dow, who played big brother Wally Cleaver in the golden age TV classic “Leave It to Beaver,” was hospitalized with pneumonia over the weekend.
Lauren Shulkind, the 76-year-old ex-child star’s wife, confirmed to TMZ that her husband of 41 years spent “24 hours” in the waiting room before being treated due to a shortage of hospital beds caused by a surge of Delta variant infections in California. As the area’s death toll approaches 25,000, Los Angeles County health officials have reported that 30 percent of new COVID-19 cases are “breakthrough” infections among fully vaccinated Los Angeles residents.
After being rushed to the emergency room Thursday night, Shulkind said the veteran actor, who played Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver’s older brother for 243 episodes from 1957 to 1963, tested negative for COVID-19 “five times.”
“On behalf of Tony and myself we thank you for your concern for him,” Shulkind told the outlet, announcing that her husband is now “on the mend” and “doctors think he could be released within a week.”
With almost no acting experience, the Hollywood native landed the role of Wally through an open casting call. He went on to guest star in “My Three Sons,” “Dr. Kildare,” “Lassie,” and “The Greatest Show on Earth” after six years on the hit sitcom, before landing a recurring role on “Mr. Novak.”
Dow, unlike many doomed child stars, took a break from the entertainment industry to serve in the National Guard from 1965 to 1968, and then went to journalism school while working in contracting and construction for luxury condominiums in the 1970s, according to his IMDb bio.
Dow later appeared in guest roles on shows like “Adam-12,” “The Mod Squad,” and “Love American Style” in the 1970s, and continued to work in films like “Knight Rider,” “Square Pegs,” and “Murder, She Wrote” in the 1980s.
From 1983 to 1989, he reprised his signature role as Wally opposite Jerry Mathers in “The New Leave It to Beaver.”
Dow transitioned to directing in the 1990s, helming episodes of “Coach,” “Babylon 5,” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” as well as working on visual effects for shows like “Doctor Who” and “Babylon 5.”
Dow, who is also a sculptor, reportedly spent the 2000s in his Topanga Canyon home creating art, according to TMZ. One of his bronze sculptures was even accepted into the Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts in 2008, a 150-year-old art show held each year at the Louvre in Paris, France.