Sunday, October 17, 2010

RIP Barbara Billingsley




Back in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s there was a US sitcom named Leave it to Beaver. The Beaver of this show was a young boy named Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver, played by Jerry Mathers. The show concerned his adventures at school, at home and in his neighbourhood and it portrayed an idealised 1950’s suburban family, much like the families in Father Knows Best and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.

This was a time when Leave it to Beaver’s Dad (named Ward and played by Hugh Beaumont) did everything, including relaxing on the weekend, in a coat and tie, and Mum, portrayed by Barbara Billingsley, did the housework in pearls and high heels.

Barbara Billingsley, aged 94, died yesterday at her home in Santa Monica, California from a rheumatoid disease.

Apart from her role as June Cleaver, Billingsley will also be remembered for her spoof of her white-bread image by portraying the jive speaking passenger in Airplane (1994).


See Barbara Billingsley in the Leave it to Beaver introduction at:
and the jive speaking scenes from Airplane at:

Theodore was referred to as both "Beaver" and "The Beaver" in the show.  The nickname came about because Wally, Beaver's older brother, wasn't able to say Theodore, saying "Tweder" instead.  Ward and June thought that Beaver sounded better,  thus giving rise to some unintended double meanings, such as:

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