October 16th, 2010
05:08 PM ET

Barbara Billingsley dead at 94

Barbara Billingsley, who wore a classy pearl necklace and dispensed pearls of wisdom as America's quintessential mom on "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.

Billingsley is survived by her two sons, Drew Billingsley of Granada Hills, California, and Glenn Billingsley of Phillips Ranch, California.

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  1. Jim Brieske

    Leave it to Beaver crossed a good period of time in which Rock and Roll came about. Leading up and thru the Cuban Missile Crisis to an assassination collaboration to a waste of time and money NASA moon program.
    Fortunately Barbara Billingsly and the rest of the cast/writers/director/crew of Leave it to Beaver simply provided a good show.
    She played her role perfectly, a true actor. She is in Heaven. She will forever be remembered on film presented in a number of areas.
    jim

    October 17, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jim Brieske

    Oh and why was going to the moon a waste of money and time?
    Because for a long time now, man has been able to see the moon with a telescope. It doesn't change it's condition as men are heading toward it in a space capsule!
    Ignorance will be your folly.
    jim

    October 17, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. Ancient Texan

    We lose yet another of the icons of the golden age of television. A time of great morals and ethics and sit-coms with a message. RIP Mom to us all.

    October 17, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. a

    I guess I just wasn't a fan of the show. She did come from a period in celebrity history when dignity and character counted for something. Unlike the "stars" of today.

    October 17, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. DENNIS

    @lisababy........uummmm........NO!

    October 17, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. headyby

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymMBEwtRZOg&w=640&h=390]

    October 17, 2010 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Christiane Eschner Bayes

    I came to America in 1976. Leave it to Beaver was a show that taught me a lot about family and values. I watched the reruns and they were of course not reruns to me. I am so glad she lived a happy full life. Good Bye Mrs Cleaver.

    October 17, 2010 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. tomcat

    @Tomcat who the hell are you? wanna play games? dont mess with me i am not in the mood. sorry no disrespect to a Mrs. Cleaver just mad.

    October 18, 2010 at 3:01 am | Report abuse |
  9. Ariana Nicole Roberts

    Barbara Billingsly's Mrs. Cleaver was a wonderfully definitive 'perfect homemaker' from the 50's/60's. My mother and grandmothers were always dressed in house dresses (and wore stockings knotted to their knees) and maybe not with the heels and pearls they also kept immaculate houses and cooked delicious things for the family to enjoy. 'June' gave the average housewife of that era class and she ruled the roost with all the 'boys' in the house (including Ward!). I remember one of her roles on a 'B' movie. It was "Living In A Big Way" from about 1946-47 that starred Gene Kelly and Marie McDonald. Barbara was a post-war wife that was a recipient of the houses built for the post-war veterans. She was gorgeous then too (I don't think her character was credited in the movie). She will be missed...RIP.

    October 18, 2010 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
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