Friday, July 20th, 2018

Barbara Billingsley “June Cleaver” Dies Today October 16 2010 at 94


barbara billingsley Barbara Billingsley June Cleaver Dies Today October 16 2010 at 94Boomer54 Mark Note: As boomers we grew up with June and Ward Cleaver, Wally, Beaver, Eddie Haskell and Clarence “Lumpy.” This was a time where everyone watched the same poplular shows. There was only 3 tv stations and the networks shut down at midnight usually closing with the inspiring video “High Flight”: Honoring America’s Fallen Pilots and then the station reappearing at 6 am the next morning. As baby boomers we continued to watch the series in re-runs, it didn’t matter we had seen the same episode 10 times before.

I will always have very fond memories of “Leave to Beaver.”

Below is the tribute to Barbara and “June Cleaver.” Also, there are three terrific videos including a reunion of the cast on GMA about the 50th Anniversary of the show.

Barbara Billingsley, who played the charming housewife and mom June Cleaver in the television show “Leave it to Beaver,” has died at age 94, a family spokeswoman said Saturday.

The actress passed away at 2 a.m. (5 a.m. ET) Saturday at her home in Santa Monica, California, after a long illness, spokeswoman Judy Twersky said. A private memorial is being planned.

“America’s favorite mother is now gone. I feel very fortunate to have been her ‘son,’” actor Tony Dow, who played Wally Cleaver, said. “We were wonderful friends and I will miss her very much. My deepest sympathies to her sons, Glenn and Drew, and her entire family.”

Born December 22, 1915, in Los Angeles, Billingsley began her career as a model in New York City in 1936. She was under contract to MGM in 1945 before becoming a household name with the launch of “Leave it to Beaver” in 1957. The show was canceled in 1963.

The TV character actress became part of TV history when she took the role of June Cleaver in the classic comedy from 1957 to 1963.

She was rediscovered by a new generation in 1980 when she played the jive-talking female airline passenger in the hit comedy Airplane! and reprised her June Cleaver role for a 1983 TV movie and an ’80s cable series.

Although Barbara has been confined to her bed in her Santa Monica home for many months, she always perked up when recalling her days on Leave It to Beaver.

In the show, Billingsley often could be seen doing household chores wearing pearls and earrings. The pearls were her idea, which in real-life is actually her trademark. The actress has what she termed “a hollow” on her neck and thought that wearing a strand of pearls could cover it up for the cameras. In later seasons of the show, she also started wearing high heels to compensate for the fact that the actors who played her sons were growing up and getting taller than her. The sitcom proved to be very lucrative for Billingsley.

After six seasons and 234 episodes, the still-popular series was finally canceled due to Billingsley and the rest of her castmates wanting to move on to other projects, especially Mathers, who retired from acting to enter his freshman year in high school.

All the Leave It to Beaver actors got along well on-camera and off with Billingsley, especially Mathers. Mathers remarked, “Barbara Billingsley has always been great. Barbara Billingsley is one of my favorite people, and she knows it.” Mathers said she was like a mentor, second mother and even a close professional friend to work with.

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50th Anniversary of “Leave It To Beaver” On GMA

Leave it to Beaver TRIBUTE to Ward Cleaver and Fathers 1983
Few shows in television history have been able to return to their origins with such a memorable tribute to an individual cast member. In a 1983 television special, “Still the Beaver” returned after a twenty year absence from prime-time. Executives quickly discovered that there was still an audience for this classic program of the 1950′s and 1960′s.

One significant challenge before the producers was in resolving the notable absence of Hugh Beaumont as “Ward Cleaver.” Beaumont’s death in 1982 was integrated into the script so perfectly that it leaves us with one of the most emotional tributes to fatherhood ever broadcast.

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