Leave It To Tony


dow




On the 1950s TV series Leave it to Beaver, Tony Dow played Wally Cleaver, the big brother everyone wanted to have.
However, like most celebrities on sitcoms, when the show ended, he sought other gigs to support his acting career. Childhood stars have enough to deal with as they age, but when Dow was asked by a young television executive if he had ever done comedy before, he knew it was time to seek new horizons.
Dow found his answer in the arts, carving out a new life as a bronze sculptor, with his works featured in such prestigious galleries as the Louvre in Paris, France. The highlight of his artistic career came a few years ago when his bronze pieces were accepted by the  Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts. At age 67, he is well on his way to artistic fame.
Today, the modest, friendly, soft-spoken actor/sculptor lives with his wife in the Topanga Canyon art colony in California. However, despite his impressive reputation as an artist, people spotting him on the street still refer to him as Beaver’s older brother.
Personally, I’m glad he can handle the insult and stays calm, but when you are true to yourself in your professional life, I suppose it is natural. Besides, what other reaction would you expect from Wally.
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Comments

  1. So a horse can never change his colors no matter what greatness he accomplishes in his "new" field.
    How close minded we are. Tony's sculpture is outstandingly beautiful. He is not an actor, he is a sculptor of considerable note. You would think that a lot of the folks who recognize him as the Beaver's older brother Wally would have decreased in number by now.

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    1. Linda: You are so right. There are still enough Boomers around to make sure child actors of the 50s can be pigeon holed. However, Dow's work is world class. Indeed, he is a fine artist.

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  2. JJ: I googled his work.. Wow, I love it!. Remember Jed Allen? when I worked I waited on him and his arrogant attitude was not good.. All I said was "aren't you?" and his response: 'yeah, yeah, now can u help me?'... I have to admit I couldn't remember his name (at the time) but I sure remember the attitude.. If (child) actors are turned off when they are recognized for their childhood characters, maybe its because their talent never progressed? BTW Beaver Cleaver lives in my area and he runs a catering company... Makes me wonder where his business is, since its not advertised in our area... I do know I felt sorry for him because he was standing in our lobby hopping someone would recognize him... sadly, no one did..

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    1. Chrissy: I never heard of Jed Allen, but Dow's sculptures are fantastic, and he is still known as a very nice guy. Success never went to his head.

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  3. Chrissy: I never heard of Jed Allen, but Dow's sculptures are fantastic, and he is still known as a very nice guy. Success never went to his head.

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    1. he was a cocky actor on Days of Our Lives... (soap opera). I don't think he's done anything after that show..

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  4. That is awesome about Tony. I didn't know what had happened to him.

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    1. It is fun to follow-up on the old child actors.

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  5. This is a case of life's little ironies. Tony was a talented guy and his life could have gone in two directions and he would have been successful either way. However, that television executive with his ignorance set him on a different course. It might have seemed harder at first simply because it was new. Change is always scary. However, he learned something wonderful and valuable: he could be successful in multiple fields. That is a wonderful thing. And art is a totally different world. Hollywood is a vicious machine that tends to chew people up and spit them out. In some ways, leaving that world behind is not such a bad thing. It also sounds like Tony never believed his own "press." That is essential for anyone who is participating in the Fame Game. You start believing that stuff and you are done. You will lose yourself. It sounds like with all of his success in TV and art, he never forget who he was... that is pretty awesome.

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    1. That applies to everyone, not just TV stars and other celebrities

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  6. Woo hoo for Tony becoming a successful bronze scuptor. That's awesome!

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  7. I tried to be the perfect big brother too. But never reached that point.

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  8. I just noticed this on your blog, and had to read it as I'm a huge Leave It To Beaver fan! I'm so glad that Tony Dow has had great success as a sculptor. I read that he and Jerry Mathers remained close with Barbara Billingsley until her death.
    Julie

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    1. Julie: It was a terrific show from a much more innocent time. We have heard a great deal over the years about how it was not a realistic representation of the American family, but the critics missed the point. We used to aim at achieving close family ties where mom and dad passed a sense of morality and integrity on to the next generation. Now our kids are exposed to Rappers and Octo Mom. Give me a time machine!

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  9. What a great post, and how refreshing to hear of a child actor who does not appear on Dr. Drew's reality TV show!

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