Saturday, May 18, 2024

Barbara Billingsley, 94, Always June Cleaver


All day Saturday there was an outpouring of love and nostalgia for Barbara Billingsley. The actress was 94, and will forever be remembered for her role as June Cleaver, America’s favorite mom, on “Leave it to Beaver.”

“Beaver” ran from 1957 to 1963. It still resonates a half century later.

Billingsley’s most famous repeated line: “Ward, I’m worried about the Beaver.”

And it was her cameo in “Airplane!” that solidified Billingsley’s place in American culture. She talked jive with two passengers, and made history all over again.

“Cut me some slack, Jack!”

I often thought Billingsley and Hugh Beaumont, who played Ward, were giving their delivery a little sarcasm. Their performances are so good you can read anything into them that you want.

Thanks for everything Barbara. You will never be forgotten.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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