R.I.P. Barbara Billingsley (1915-2010)

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R.I.P. Barbara Billingsley (1915-2010)

Postby J.M. Vargas » Sat Oct 16, 2010 3:14 pm

She's best rememberd as TV's June Cleaver from "Leave It To Beaver," but to many of us she will always be the jive-talking granny in "Airplane!": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKfS3udCCx0. :cry:
A family spokeswoman, Judy Twersky, said that Ms. Billingsley had died of polymyalgia, a rheumatoid disease, at her home in Santa Monica, Calif.

After working as a fashion model, Ms. Billingsley returned to Los Angeles, acted in local plays and was signed to a contract by MGM. In the 1940s and early ’50s her film roles were mostly small. Her movies included “The Bad and the Beautiful” (1952) with Kirk Douglas, “Shadow on the Wall” (1950) with Ann Sothern and “Three Guys Named Mike” (1951) with Jane Wyman. She later described her typical movie role as “the woman who was really the heavy but nobody knew it.” Her early television years included episodes of “Schlitz Playhouse of Stars,” “Four Star Playhouse,” “The Loretta Young Show” and “Make Room for Daddy.” Her first series, in 1955, was “Professional Father,” in which she played the wife of a child psychologist. She was also featured in “The Brothers,” in 1956, with Gale Gordon.

After the show went off the air in 1963, Ms. Billingsley, by then thoroughly typecast as June, saw few acting roles and concentrated on her own family. Her show business career was revived in 1980 by the movie comedy “Airplane!” in which she played a sweet passenger who communicates in “jive” with two streetwise black passengers — an ironic comment on her previous incarnation as America’s white-bread mom. After that there were guest appearances on “Mork & Mindy,” “Amazing Stories,” “The Love Boat,” “Murphy Brown,” “Roseanne” and other shows. From 1984 to 1991 Ms. Billingsley was the voice of the nanny in the animated series “Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies.” In 1983 she reprised her role as June in a television movie, “Still the Beaver,” which reunited her with many members of the original “Leave It to Beaver” cast (but not Hugh Beaumont, who died in 1982). That led to a cable series known first by that name and then as “The New Leave It to Beaver.” She also had a small part in the 1997 feature-film version of “Leave It to Beaver.”

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/17/arts/television/17billingsley.html?_r=1&hp=&pagewanted=print.
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