LOS ANGELES (AP) — 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.Her nephew was one of my roommates in college, and I met her on several occasions back in the late 1970's. She was a charming lady. My personal favorite character that Ms. Billingsley portrayed was the "Jive Lady" in the 1980 movie Airplane! Here's a clip from the funniest movie of all time.
Billingsley, who had suffered from a rheumatoid disease, died at her home in Santa Monica, 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.
Rest in peace, and thanks for the memories.
UPDATE: I found this interesting piece where Ms. Billingsley talks about learning how to speak jive.