Actor Tony Dow said Friday that he had been brought to the brink of suicide by depression, and he asked Congress to spend more money for research on mental disorders.
Dow played Wally Cleaver in the Leave It to Beaver television series that has become an icon for suburban, white, middle-class life in 1950s America.
Speaking to the congressional caucus on biomedical research, Dow said people with depression are "regular people, I mean, who could be more regular than Wally Cleaver?"
Dow said he began experiencing depression in his early 20s, and the pain it caused him was worse than anything else he has ever felt.
He said the treatment he has received over the years has saved his life.
Dow is now a director and producer.