Actor Tony Dow was hospitalized with pneumonia this weekend after having to wait over 24 hours for a hospital bed due to a surge in cases of the delta variant. Popular for playing Wally Cleaver on Leave It to Beaver, the 76-year-old actor tested negative for Covid-19 multiple times, according to his wife, Lauren Shulkind.
“Thanks for your patience on this update,” Tony’s manager Frank Bilotta wrote Monday on his official Facebook page. “Tony has been diagnosed with pneumonia but is in good spirits and is doing well. He was up walking around yesterday and his doctors think he should be able to return home within the week.”
“Lauren wants to thank you, his fans, for all your support,” he continued. “We will continue to post updates as soon as they are available.”
Tony missed an event at the Colorado Springs Convention on Sunday due to the sudden illness and had to wait in the emergency room for 24 hours before a bed was available.
In the area of Los Angeles, Ca., where Tony Dow and his wife Lauren live, health officials reported that 30% of all new Covid-19 cases were breakthrough infections of fully vaccinated patients. Los Angeles’ death toll recently rose above 25,000 cases as the delta variant spread.
Los Angeles Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said that “with these high rates of community transmission, more fully vaccinated people are getting post-vaccination infections.”
“However, this very same information also makes it clear how much protection fully-vaccinated people have,” she continued. “Most of us that are fully vaccinated, we don’t get infected. And if we do get infected, we don’t end up hospitalized and they are very unlikely to tragically lose their life to Covid if fully vaccinated.”
Tony’s wife Lauren confirmed that the 76-year-old had been tested five times for Covid-19 throughout the night and came up negative every time.
Just last week, Tony had been in good spirits, having appeared at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention in Maryland to sign autographs for fans of his role as Wally Cleaver on Leave It to Beaver.
Tony played the older brother of the titular Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver for six years from 1957-1963, totaling 234 episode appearances. He then appeared on ABC’s Never Too Young as Chet for 153 episodes starting in 1965, and would go on to make cameo appearances on General Hospital, Knight Rider, Murder She Wrote, and Star Trek: Deep Space 9.
He famously landed the role of Wally Cleaver with no previous acting experience and was a rare case of a child star whose career did not stall after their first major appearance. After Leave It to Beaver and Never Too Young, Tony briefly served in the National Guard, attended journalism school, directed and provided visual effects on the science-fiction series Babylon 5, and even learned how to sculpt.
One of Tony’s sculptures, a bronze figure of a woman holding a shield titled “Unarmed Warrior,” was displayed in the Louvre in Paris, France in 2008.
“Having something shown at the Louvre is about as good as you can get,” Tony said at the time. “Of course, I’m really proud of Leave It to Beaver and my directing career in television, those are great accomplishments, but this is interesting because I don’t think they know anything about that at the Louvre.”
Tony Dow is reportedly in better spirits now after being hospitalized. Conditions like pneumonia often weaken the immune system and can put patients in danger of contracting Covid-19, but after extensive testing at the hospital his manager wrote on Facebook that “Covid has been ruled out.”