No one will ever forget her, the ‘supermom’ from the 50’s, the era of Eisenhower, when there was still a breeze of innocence in the air. She was the perfect picture of “mom,” the loving, gentle and oh so wise one to Beaver and Wally Cleaver. Always dressed to the nines, dresses, high heels and pearls, even while vacuuming or baking a pie for the kids, she was the model picture of the 1950’s mother, and many people tried to emulate her example. This is a huge loss, and many feel it’s like they have lost a relative.
Billingsley began her career as a model in New York before being contracted with MGM. She began work on many different television shows before landing the perfect role, June Cleaver. Since, she had many smaller roles and guest spots in movies and television, most notably as the elderly passenger who spoke ‘jive’ in ‘Airplane!’ She also appeared on ‘Roseanne’ in an episode where we see the return of many iconic mothers to give Roseanne motherly advice. Billingsley refused to take on any role that would make fun of June Cleaver.
‘Leave it to Beaver’ can still be viewed on television. If you have not watched, it’s a must. Great iconic show. Hopefully one of the great “oldie” television stations will start to air it more often.
Billingsley is survived by sons Drew and Glenn Billingsley, stepson William Mortensen Jr. and 16 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren. Private services are scheduled.
Thank you Barbara for sharing your wonderful gift, and giving our future generation something to aspire to.