As most people know, Tony Dow was my big brother on Leave it to Beaver. Ironically, he was really “the Beaver” in his real life family because he only had an older brother and he was the youngest. I on the other hand was the eldest of my 4 siblings so I actually was the “Wally” in my real family.
How Tony Dow got the part on Leave it to Beaver
Tony was a phenomenal athlete and had trained to be a swimmer and diver from a very early age. He received many accolades and awards through the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) including Junior Olympics diving champion. Before Leave it to Beaver, he had hopes of someday competing in the Olympics. Although I had been an actor since the age of 2 years old, Tony’s only acting job prior to Leave it to Beaver was in a pilot for a television series similar to Tarzan where he played the “Boy” character. The show did not sell and Tony’s second foray into acting on television was in Leave it to Beaver. He wasn’t in our original pilot which was called “It’s a Small World.” The boy who played Wally grew about 5 inches between the time the pilot was filmed and we went into production of the series. He was almost as tall as Hugh Beaumont so the producers decided to put out another casting call for a boy who was more height appropriate for that age. Tony’s true life ability as an athlete was a perfect fit for Wally, he was cast for the part, and the rest is television history!
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