Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Barbara Billingsley, Beaver's TV Mom, Dies At 94

Barbara Billingsley, who gained supermom status for her gentle portrayal of June Cleaver, the warm, supportive mother of a pair of precocious boys in Leave It to Beaver, died Saturday. She was 94.

Billingsley, who had suffered from a rheumatoid disease, died at her home in Santa Monica, Calif., said family spokeswoman Judy Twersky.

When the show debuted in 1957, Jerry Mathers, who played Beaver, was 9, and Tony Dow, who portrayed Wally, was 12. Billingsley's character, the perfect stay-at-home 1950s mom, was always there to gently but firmly nurture both through the ups and downs of childhood.

Born Barbara Lillian Combes in Los Angeles on Dec. 22, 1915, she was raised by her mother after her parents divorced. She and her first husband, Glenn Billingsley, divorced when her sons were just 2 and 4.

Her second husband, director Roy Kellino, died of a heart attack after three years of marriage and just months before she landed the Leave It to Beaver role.

She married physician Bill Mortenson in 1959 and they remained wed until his death in 1981.

Survivors include her sons, three stepchildren and numerous grandchildren.

More on this story at the LINK.

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