Monday October 18, 2010 6:55 am
Barbara Billingsley, Famous TV Mom, Dies
Barbara Billingsley, one of TV's legends, has died. Billingsley was better known to TV audiences as June Cleaver, the mom on Leave it to Beaver. That classic TV sitcom ran on CBS in 1957, then on ABC until 1963.
“People still talk about it and write letters, telling how much they watch it today with their children and grandchildren,” said Billingsley several years after the show had been canceled. Though it was still very popular in 1963, the show called it quits after the sixth season because the two youngest stars, Jerry Mathers and Tony Dow, wanted to move on. “We knew we were making a good show, because it was so well-written,” Billingsley stated in the same interview.
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Barbara died on Saturday in her Santa Monica home at the age of 94 after a lengthy illness. Her son, Glenn Billingsley, released a statement: “She was every bit as nurturing, classy and lovely as June Cleaver, and we were so proud to share her with the world.”
Billingsley left the public eye after Beaver went off the air, though she did make a hilarious cameo appearance in the ribald comedy classic Airplane! (In the video above, you can see her wearing trademark June Cleaver pearls and jive-talking to two passengers on the ill-fated plane.)
Barbara continued to make cameo and TV appearances throughout the remainder of her career. She once said she was “honored” to be a famous television mom.
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