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Barbara Billingsley

Born: 1915-12-22 - Died: 2010-10-16
Cause of Death:
Billingsley died due to complications with polymyalgia.


Death Summary: Billingsley died in her Santa Monica home due to complications of an inflammatory condition.

Who was Barbara Billingsley : Barbara Billingsley is known to many as the 'mom of America', for her portrayal as June Cleaver on the well known show 'Leave it to Beaver'. The show, and specifically her role would go on to be an archetype of the family and motherhood in the 1950's.

Billingsley was born Barbra Combes in Los Angeles, the daughter of a police patrolman. She would come to be known as Barbara Billingsley in 1941 after her marriage to Glenn Billingsley. During the 1940's Billingsley worked as a fashion model, and eventually landed a contract with MGM Studios. She landed minor roles in a few films, which would eventually lead to television.

In 1957, Billingsley signed a contract with Universal Studios where she landed her role as June Cleaver on Leave it to Beaver. During this time, many shows on television portrayed traditional family archetypes, with Father Knows Best, Make Room for Daddy, and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. The show debuted on CBS, and few know that the show was originally canceled. After the cancellation, ABC swooped in and picked the series. Here it would run for five seasons, and would air in over 100 countries. Cleaver's look on the show which had her wearing pearls and earrings while doing chores was an idea presented by Billingsley. As she wore these items in real life.

After her stint on Leave it to Beaver, Billingsley became typecast as a sweet, traditional mother and found it difficult to land roles after her iconic portrayal of June Cleaver. During this time she traveled abroad. She would eventually land in the public eye with her cameo appearance in the comedy, Airplane. The scene she appears in parodies her wholesome image, and is cherished by many who have seen the movie.

Billingsley is survived by her two sons, Drew and Glenn.
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