The news of "Leave It To Beaver" star Tony Dow swept through the entertainment industry after the actor's team released a statement. However, minutes later, the actor was confirmed alive, although his wife thought he had died.
Tony Dow was one of the beloved stars of the series "Leave It To Beaver," which was a fan favorite during its run. However, the actor has recently been battling health issues after his cancer diagnosis in May 2022. His team's conflicting reports over the past weeks resulted in a pendulum of emotions.
Yet, it all came to a head when his team announced he had died on the morning of Tuesday. In the statement released, they lauded him as a beautiful soul who was kind, compassionate, funny, and humble.
Actor and artist Tony Dow with wife Lauren Shulkind at home in Topanga, California on June 29, 2014 in Topanga, California. | Source: Getty Images
The news sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry as many major news publications relayed the information. However, new information has emerged that the actor is still alive, and the death announcement from his team came too soon.
The actor's son Christoper and his wife denied he had died and that they were with him at his home. According to reports, the actor's wife, Lauren, mistakenly thought her husband had died during the night at their home, and she informed his team.
Wife, Lauren Shulkind and actor Tony Dow attend The Fifth Annual TV DVD Awards Gala event Honoring Classic TV and the 50th Anniversary of The Donna Reed Show and the program's debut on DVD. | Source: Getty Images
The actor's health issues had caused Lauren much stress, and she was understandably grief-stricken. He has been in hospice care at the couple's home, and due to some health problems overnight, Lauren implied that her husband had passed to some people close to her, and the news quickly spread.
Now that it has been determined that Dow is still alive, Lauren noted she felt foolish, and it was all her fault. She also apologized for causing a commotion during an already difficult period. Lauren admitted that although she miscommunicated the news of Dow's death, she loves and adores her husband.
TONY DOW'S CAREER AND DEPRESSION ISSUES
Promotional studio portrait of actors Tony Dow and Jerry Mathers from the television series, 'Leave It to Beaver,' circa 1957. | Source: Getty Images
Dow was born into an entertainment family as his mother, Muriel Montrose, worked as a stuntwoman in early Western movies. She worked as a body double for actress Clara Bow and actor Mack Sennett's Bathing Beauty. Her work as one of Hollywood's first stunt women inspired her son, Dow, to go into movies.
As a youngster, Dow took an interest in diving and eventually became a junior Olympic and Western states champion. At 11, in 1956, the youngster was invited by a lifeguard at the pool where he worked to come along for an audition for a pilot of the series "Johnny Wildlife."
Dow surprisingly got cast without prior reparations or expectations. Although the series' pilot did not sell, it served as a launchpad for his career.
Leave It To Beaver episode: 'Captain Jack'. Tony Dow tries to feed small pet alligator. | Source: Getty Images
After "Johnny Wildlife" did not sell, Dow started going for interviews and auditions, and he had been on countless before landing a role on "Leave It to Beaver."
The series, which epitomized a supposed ideal world of the '50s, became a nationwide hit after its debut in 1957. It aired for six years until it went off the air in 1963 when Dow was just 18 years old. Afterward, he made guest appearances on series like "M. Novak," "My Three Sons," and "Dr. Kildare."
The actor also got cast on daytime soap shows like "Never Too Young" and "General Hospital." However, almost six years after "Leave It To Beaver" ended, Dow started getting afflicted with clinical depression, although he was unaware at the time.
American actor Tony Dow looks over his shoulder while sitting on a beach, Santa Monica, California. | Source: Getty Images
The feeling engulfed him slowly, and he became irritable and grumpy. He also became more irritable and developed a poor attitude towards things. Sadly things got worse one day when he could not get out of bed, go to work, or do anything.
The self-absorbed feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness left him paralyzed, and the more he thought about it, the worse it got. The actor subsequently went to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with clinical depression, the child-actor syndrome.
Dow was getting recognized for something he did as a 12-year-old, and his projects afterward did not receive the same recognition.
Tony Dow attends ABC TV Affiliates Party on May 9, 1983 at the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, California. | Source: Getty Images
However, he was able to turn it around with prescribed therapy and medications. Also, getting busy with his arts helped ease the feeling gradually. The actor called it a treatable illness and noted that the therapy is a blue pill that works.
Years later, while speaking as the honorary spokesman at the annual convention of the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association, Dow noted:
"I feel comfortable talking about this publicly, but I don't do it a lot. This association here is doing a lot of great work. They feel it's important for the public to realize that depression isn't something you have to keep in the closet."
TONY DOW'S PERSONAL LIFE
Dow was married for the first time to Carol Marie Theresa Marlow on June 14, 1969, until March 10, 1980, when they divorced. During their marriage, the couple became parents to son Christopher Dow on March 26, 1973.
The actor's second marriage came when he married his current wife, Lauren Carol Shulkind, on June 16, 1980. Lauren fell in love with the actor because of his sweetness, softness, and vulnerability.
She also stayed with him through his difficulties and helped him to overcome and talk about them. The pair also share a love for artworks. Even before their marriage, the couple was regularly seen enjoying time. In 1979, they were pictured together in Texas on tour with "So Long, Stanley,"
Tony Dow during The 2001 Directors Guild Awards at Century City Hotel in Century City, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images
In 1986, six years after their marriage, they moved to Topanga, and the couple even got a collie named Maggie. Then, for Lauren's 40th birthday, the couple went to sea world to play with the penguins.
As they got older, the couple also enjoyed spending time together at Camp Dow, also known as Wally World, playing board games. Dow, who has also become a grandfather, refers to his grandkids as his happiness and he often enjoys spending time with his son Christopher and his granddaughter Tyla.
Actor and artist Tony Dow works on a sculpture in his studio on June 29, 2014 in Topanga, California. | Source: Getty Images
The actor who has overcome clinical depression has since turned to his artwork, which also helped him overcome the sickness. According to his wife, Lauren, Dow is not just a sculptor but is much more talented and also does furniture and houses.
One of his abstract sculptures even got displayed at the Louvre. The actor, alongside sculptors from the Karen Lynne Gallery, had their works shown at the iconic art museum in Paris. Their artworks were shown as part of the Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts exhibition.
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