Tony Dow has lived a fulfilling life, with a career spanning decades. However, recent news of his "death" devastated many of his fans, but it turned out to be a false alarm. Now his wife and son and spending their final moments with the actor.
Tony Dow is recognized for his many roles, including appearing in the TV shows "My Three Sons," "Dr. Kildare," "The Greatest Show on Earth," and "Never Too Young."
However, many remember him for his most prominent role as Wally Cleaver in the primetime TV show "Leave It To Beaver," which ran between 1957 and 1963. He then reprised his role in the movie "The New Leave It to Beaver" between 1983 and 1989.
Actor Tony Dow attends The Hollywood Christmas Parade benefiting the Toys For Tots Foundation on December 1, 2013 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images
Dow has had a pretty enviable life, but sadly he is now living out the final days of his life, according to his son Christopher. It is an unexpected twist of fate as the star announced only two months ago on his Facebook page that his health had greatly improved.
The update comes a day after Dow's wife, Lauren Shulkind, gave a wrong update about the actor to his management team, saying that he had passed on. According to Variety.com, the since-deleted Facebook post by Dow's management team read:
"It is with an extremely heavy heart that we share with you the passing of our beloved Tony this morning. Tony was a beautiful soul – kind, compassionate, funny, and humble."
The actor's son later explained to Fox News Digital that Shulkind was distraught about her husband's health and that at the time she'd made the announcement, she had believed him to be dead. He wrote on Facebook:
"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."
Fans worldwide were devastated at the news of the actor's "passing" and took to Twitter to send their condolences and pay respects to the man who had graced the screens for decades and made their childhoods enjoyable.
American commentator Jerry Lawler expressed how sad it was that his life-long TV favorite was no more and took to his Twitter to send condolences and pay tribute to the great actor.
"Man, so sad to hear that a life-long TV favorite of mine, Tony Dow, Wally from "Leave It To Beaver" just passed away. R.I.P. Wally." He wrote.
Others expressed sadness at losing such an iconic actor by posting throwback photos of the "Back To The Beach" actor. However, the news soon became a cause of alarm after a later controversial announcement revealed that the actor, though still ill, was alive and kicking.
Twitter user @mariamb18 said she'd heard he was in hospice and wondered how it was that his wife, one of the closest people to him, had pronounced him dead, while others showed confusion at the news.
Another Twitter user, @MichaelBuckelew, wondered how Dow's wife could have been mistaken about his death while all she had to do was wait for a pronouncement from doctors. As it stands, the news has caused a lot of confusion among fans.
SON SAYS DOW HAS A FIGHTING HEART
Actor Tony Dow participates in The Hollywood Show Day 2 held at Westin Los Angeles Airport on January 13, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images
Even though the actor has gained indelible fame in his career, becoming a top lister in the business, his personal life has not always been smooth.
The star battled clinical depression in his 20s. Even though he did not recognize the illness then, he remembers feeling grumpy, increasingly irritable, and having a poor attitude towards many things.
Suddenly, he could not get out of bed, couldn't go to work or do anything. He eventually sought help, went under medication to treat his illness, and even made the self-help video "Beating The Blues" as a way of helping others with the same condition.
Even so, his condition was only the tip of the iceberg, and the actor would later battle two bouts of cancer. It is unclear when he was first diagnosed with the condition, but the family announced that it had returned in May 2022.
On June 20, 2022, Skulking posted his health updates on the actor's Facebook, noting that he would undergo another Immunotherapy infusion the following week.
THE SECRETS TO A LONG-LASTING MARRIAGE
Dow and Shulkind have been married since 1980, and after so long together, it is understandable why she would be so devastated at her husband's failing health. Shulkind posted on the actor's Facebook page in June, commemorating their 42nd anniversary.
In the post, dated June 20, Shulkind recalled their wedding on Laguna Beach among the hermit crabs and tide pools. She then asked everyone to keep Dow in their thoughts as he battled with ill health.
Tony Dow and Lauren Shulkind during 2004 TV Land Awards airing March 17, 2004 - Red Carpet Arrivals at The Palladium in Hollywood, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images
In an industry where short marriages and quick divorces are the order of the day, the couple's 42-year marriage is one of a kind. The two shared their little nuggets of wisdom about staying married.
During an interview with Fox 61, the "Love, American Style" actor said his secret was never to argue with his wife. He also shared that another secret was not always trying to be right or win a discussion or argument. His wife agreed with him, then added that it also helped to be friends besides being husband and wife.
Now, after so long together, Shulkind and the actor's only son are preparing to say their goodbyes to Dow as he lives out his "last hours." Christopher disclosed that he and his wife were by the actor's side, caring for him during his final moments.
It might be the final stretch for the "Death Scream" actor, and the future may seem bleak, but what remains certain is that, living or not, his fans will remember him for his legacy and for his fantastic work for generations to come.
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