TOPANGA, Calif. (AP) — He is, and likely forever will be, best known as good old Wally Cleaver, the big brother who had to bail out a goofball sibling facing one dilemma after another on the classic TV series "Leave it to Beaver."
For the last dozen years, though, Tony Dow has been carving out a new career, as a sculptor with pieces that have shown at numerous venues, including what is arguably the world's premier art museum — the Louvre in Paris.
This weekend, more than 30 of Dow's pieces in bronze, steel and wood go on display closer to home at the Debilzan Gallery in Laguna Beach, and they could fetch several thousand dollars each from collectors. But despite his respected reputation as a sculptor, Dow acknowledges there could be as many people at Saturday's opening reception wanting to rub shoulders with the Beav's brother as see his art.
"I think it's hard, especially with the Wally image, to be taken seriously at pretty much anything other than that," he says with a chuckle and a shake of his head.
At 67, Dow has a head of grey hair and lives with his wife, Lauren, in the wooded Southern California arts colony of Topanga Canyon.
His reputation as a sculptor reached a new height four years ago when he had one of his bronze pieces accepted at 2008's Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts, a 150-year-old art show staged annually at the Louvre.
Dow, who painted as a youngster, began sculpting more than 30 years ago when he was still acting and directing. He planned to get serious about it when he retired from television.
Dow doesn't complain that he's still associated with his "Leave it to Beaver" character. He loved playing Wally opposite Jerry Mathers' Beaver from 1957 to 1963, so much so that he reprised the role as an adult for a TV movie and 104 more episodes of "The New Leave it To Beaver" during much of the 1980s.