Barbara Billingsley’s passing yesterday was not necessarily a surprise (she was, after all 94 years old) but it was still a loss and a reminder of just how much we (this culture, this country, tv) have changed over the past 50 years.
The woman who played the Beaver’s mom (June Cleaver) on the legendary tv series Leave it to Beaver (and who made wearing pearls and high heels the signature of every housewife during that era), died Saturday, October 16th, of polymyalgia (a rheumatoid disease, at her home in Santa Monica, Calif).
Below are clips from one of the last interviews Billingsley gave where she discusses (among other things) how she managed to become the face of the 50’s housewife (pearls, heels and all). She makes a funny comment about a question Oprah asked her once in an interview a few years back (in defense of Oprah, I would’ve asked Billingsley the same question). While she’s legendary for her portrayal as a 1950’s housewife, my favorite role of Ms. Billingsley’s will always be seeing her “jive-talk” in one of my favorite movies, Airplane.
Thoughts and prayers to her family.