Tony Dow's fan mail from the '60s proves he was the ultimate heartthrob

Dow would receive thousands of fan letters per week while on Leave It to Beaver. Over half of them were from hopeful teenage bachelorettes.

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The '60s had its fair share of heartthrobs for tweens, teens and adults alike to all swoon over. Whether it was Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson or Frankie Avalon... there were many faces for fans to fawn over. 

However, Tony Dow deserves a spot at the top of the list. Dow may not have initially come to mind, but the Leave It to Beaver star was one of the biggest heartthrobs of his time. 

By most teen standards, he was an unusual idol for many to swoon over. He didn't sing, he didn't dance, his sense of style was basic and he was a pretty ordinary guy compared to other top teen idols of the decade.

Dow played the role of Wally Cleaver on Leave It to Beaver for its entire six seasons. Dow beat out around 270 other hopeful teens who originally auditioned for the part of Beaver's older brother. Leave it to Tony Dow to get the part.

Leave It to Beaver had already been on air for two seasons when Dow's success with women exploded in the form of fan mail and offers to prom. Teenage girls around the world decided Dow was worthy of being their idol.

Dow would receive over thousands of fan mail from young women all around the world each week. He was even popular in Japan during the early '60s.

In a 1962 interview with The Bristol Daily Courier, Dow said about 100 of the fan letters would be from boys his age, and the other 900 to 1,000 letters would be from hopeful girls.

"It's really rough answering some of them," Dow said. "The idea of going steady kind of appeals to me. But 2,000 miles is a long way to go just for a soda. But I try to answer them as nicely as possible."

In the interview, Dow said he begged Leave It to Beaver producers, Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher, to play down any romantic situations on the show, in hopes that he could slow down all the real romantic situations created by fans.

"We try to slow down the romance angle for Tony whenever possible," Mosher said. "But it's pretty hard to keep it out of the show altogether when letters, all in delicate feminine handwriting, roll in by the stacks."

According to the thousands of pieces of fan mail addressed to Dow, he was the best teen idol to ever live... in the '60s.

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43 Comments

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LoveMETV22 4 months ago
" All TV Show Requests To:"
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Or just use the:
Feature. That's what it's there for.
JHP 5 months ago
for my 2 cents

three stooges

"what's a heartthrob?"

"A pain in the neck" :) so cool - not trolling on Tony
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JHP 5 months ago
gee - won't get into that softball of a post - but we as in the UNTIED states know what it could be:)
MTEVENS 5 months ago
Thanks to MeTV I have been able to rewatch all of Leave it to Beaver over the last couple of years.

It's easy to see why the letter writers saw in Wally. He was nice looking, without vanity (except for that pug-nose episode). He was athletic without being a jock. He was kind, a gentleman, and you could trust him keep his word. His only flaw was that Eddie Haskel was his best friend, and would probably also be wherever you went on a date.
SrLerxst 5 months ago
"According to the thousands of pieces of fan mail addressed to Dow, he was the best teen idol to ever live... in the '60s."
Not exactly, MeTV. Ever heard of Ricky Nelson? And besides mid 1963 and Leave it Beaver in general hardly qualifies as "the 60's". However, in retrospect as Gen xer who gre up with this show, Beaver is no longer a hero of that show to me, and Wally/Tow as actor is much more impressive i real life.
PierreKhoury SrLerxst 5 months ago
Gen xer would be born when this show was off the air. You must have watched the reruns.
robert SrLerxst 5 months ago
Don Grady of My Three Sons fame had to be close to Dow. His show was not as good but was on a lot longer and Robbie Douglas had a little more pizazz than Wally Cleaver.
MichaelVegas 5 months ago
I was in charge of security and one time would not let Frank Herbert into the Convention because he did not have a badge
Mr305north 5 months ago
I really liked Shelly fabrases on donna Reed show
robert Mr305north 5 months ago
Too neurotic.
Mac2Nite 5 months ago
I simply adored "Wally" back in the 50's even though I was the same age as "Beaver" at the time. ❤️
LalaLucy 5 months ago
He was supremely likeable. I think that was the appeal. His interactions with his cast mates were always so natural. I would love to have met him.
GNOSTICTRACY 5 months ago
I met him and he was a very nice person.
Big3Fan 5 months ago
No one could throb my heart like Shelley Fabares could.
Big3Fan 5 months ago
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Big3Fan 5 months ago
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Big3Fan 5 months ago
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Mac2Nite wallyandbagfan 5 months ago
Never saw it colorized... cool...
tootsieg 5 months ago
I always thought Wally Cleaver was the ultimate big brother everyone would like to have.
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LoveMETV22 4 months ago
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LoveMETV22 wallyandbagfan 4 months ago
" Whatever Happened To Chuck Cunningham a TV movie coming soon to channel 1 in Philadelphia and Nationwide on January 15 2024."
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I heard about that but it said:

" Whatever Happened To Chuck Cunningham" January 15 2024
Available Exclusively on "The Retcon Network©®™" and Select Cable Providers " Pay-Not to View"

They may do a rebroadcast on April 1, 2024.


LoveMETV22 wallyandbagfan 4 months ago
Whatever Happened To Chuck Cunningham a TV movie coming soon to channel 1 in Philadelphia and Nationwide on January 15 2024.
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They have an audience all set to view the "premiere."
LoveMETV22 4 months ago
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harlow1313 5 months ago
Personally, I was attracted by Judy Hensler's body and intellect. I used to wish I could give her the business...
vinman63 harlow1313 5 months ago
I like the little tomboy Lauren Chaplin. Kathy Anderson.
robert harlow1313 5 months ago
They ended up firing her and replaced her with a hotter Penny for Beaver but he was a little slow out of the starting gate until that last season.
harlow1313 4 months ago
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harlow1313 4 months ago
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vinman63 4 months ago
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harlow1313 4 months ago
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Moody 5 months ago
I was a preteen heartthrob. All the girls in Sister Louise's 5th grade class were warm for my form!😂
Bapa1 5 months ago
Probably got some fake fan mail from Eddie and Lumpy.
Andybandit 5 months ago
I never never knew on TITB that Wally's was short for Wallace. I like that name. I thought it was short for Walter.
ncadams27 Andybandit 5 months ago
Sometimes Eddie would say “Can I go upstairs and see Wallace?” when June answered the door.
marilouc ncadams27 5 months ago
And, Aunt Martha called him Wallace. After all, he was a Bronson!
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