Below are the people and organizations that have been special to us over the years and to whom we owe a debt of gratitude. A sincere "thank you" to them all.
Tony and Lauren Dow
We all remember Tony Dow – a.k.a, Wally Cleaver – of “Leave It to Beaver”. Well, Tony has been up to just a few things since that classic show and, in fact, the BrownUllstrup Foundation brought Tony to Delavan, Wisconsin at Lake Lawn Resort to star in the play “Love Letters” for performances on November 3-5, 2017
“Love Letters” follows the correspondence between Melissa and Andy starting with an invitation to her birthday party when they were just children. Over the years, they keep up with each other through their school years, marriages, and careers. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, “Love Letters” shows us the complexity of relationships with the joy and heartbreak that accompany them.
Tony stars in Love Letters with his wife, Lauren.
Tony Dow grew up in an artistic atmosphere and a house filled with his parent’s eccentric friends so it was no surprise that as a young child Tony developed a love for creating art especially assemblage and scavenging for things of interest.
But, as fate would have it, in 1957 he fell into the role of "Wally" on the hit show, "Leave It to Beaver" which would change the course of his life. When the show ended in 1963, he went on to do dozens of guest starring appearances on scores of television shows. In the 1980s, Tony began his directing career accumulating over 70 hours of television shows which kept him busy for the next twenty years.
Throughout his life he has pursued many forms of creativity: first as an actor and then as director, writer and producer, builder, woodworker, painter and, finally, sculptor. Tony was chosen along with thirteen artists to represent America at the prestigious Société Nationale Des Beaux-Arts Salon 2008 in the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris with his bronze sculpture "Unarmed Warrior.”
Tyla’s adoring grandfather, Tony, his wife, Lauren, and their Bergamasco puppy, Poppy, live in a home handcrafted by them in the Santa Monica Mountains near Los Angeles. The Dows work on their creative projects as a team, and “Love Letters” is a particularly enjoyable project.
Lauren Dow started her career as a print model for Muehlebach’s Bridal Shop in Kansas City. She traveled the world with her Old English Sheepdog, Gladiola, starting out living in Taiwan during the Vietnam conflict. She later owned Fetich Art Gallery of Native Peoples of the World in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Lauren went on to study Design at Kansas City Art Institute and became a television and radio producer at B/R/B Ad Agency in Kansas City. It is there she met Tony Dow when she cast him in a McDonald’s TV spot. Additionally, Lauren co-produced “Child Stars: Their Story” for A & E Network and was a co-creator of “Behind the Silver Screen,” a book that profiled seventy-four residents at the Motion Picture and Television Campus in Los Angeles. Working as a team with Tony in handcrafting their home in Topanga, California near L.A., she has passionately created mosaic embeddings throughout their house and garden for nearly thirty years. Lauren loves working side by side with Tony on countless hands-on projects and is thrilled to be performing together in “Love Letters”.
Steve and Mike consider themselves very lucky to count Tony and Lauren as friends and were very happy to welcome them to Wisconsin to perform in "Love Letters".
John O'Leksy (1964-2017)
It is with deep sorrow that we say good-bye to one of our artists, John O'Leksy. We have always enjoyed his myriad of voices and characters over the years. Whenever we hear the words, "Hello...I'm Orson Welles", we will always think of John.
Below is his obituary from the Kenosha News and beneath that is the biography we kept on file for him.
John O'Leksy, 52, of Kenosha, passed away on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, at Kenosha Hospital.
John A.J. O’Leksy has worked as a professional actor in the Chicago and Milwaukee markets in theatre, television and radio as well as print ads. You may remember him from some commercials for American Mattress, SE. Wisconsin Transport, Ho Chunk Casino, Milwaukee Admirals, and Walgreens. John has appeared on television as Al Capone in The History Channel’s “Days That Shook the World-St. Valentine’s Day Massacre”. And there was the Altoids advertisement where he was dressed in drag as Carmen Miranda complete with fruit headgear (his mother was so proud). And he’s a helluva whistler!