Barbara Billingsley – A Pearl of a Lady

Barbara and Jerry

Barbara Billingsley was a good friend and an even better mentor.  For me she was like the favorite teacher that we all had in school.  I was lucky enough to work with her for six years and have a life-long relationship with her.  She was a very kind woman and a generous philanthropist who supported many charities always ready to give anyone in need a helping hand.  Barbara was even more sparkling and fun than June Cleaver.  Every once in a while she would get frustrated or upset and we always knew when that was because she would say, “Hell’s bells” and then put her hands over her mouth with her cutest “oops” look.  This was the only “curse word” that I ever heard her say.  And she always looked flustered and turned red when she realized that other people had heard her say that.  She would then apologize profusely.

Barbara was always eager to teach a rambunctious lad (i.e. Me) proper civility and manners.   An example of this was when I would rush ahead of her to see what was beyond the next door.  She would reach up and grab me by the very short hairs at the nape of my neck and pull me back very gently and say, “Jerry, ladies always go first.”  And, this is what she was—a truly regal lady.  I miss her very much.

86 Responses to Barbara Billingsley – A Pearl of a Lady

  • jean lenz says:

    I always loved the show and thought of her as a magnificent lady!!! i still watch it on the weekends on retro tv.that was tv at its finest.

  • Hilary says:

    Hubby used to go to Billingsley’s, a restaurant (sadly, no longer in business) in the San Fernando Valley, owned by one of Barbara’s sons. He thought the son was great fun and a real mensch (Yiddish for really, really good guy). The apple didn’t fall far from the tree! 🙂 Thanks for the memories, Jerry.

  • chris guilfoyle oliverio says:

    Thanks for sharing your web site, ironically I know as you grew up you were so fortunate to have that type of career and grow up with a lot of great family and friends from your show.
    I want to let you know I think you are an inspiration to me The reason I am saying that is I have went through some very tough times since 1998 and still do with my husband that has had all type of different effects from having a cancerous brain tumor, no matter what type of day I had whether I was sick in bed with the flu physically and mentally exausted every day the one thing that would ironically always no matter pick me up off of the ground was watching your shows and so for that I say thank you
    God Bless and I wish you and your family the best of the holidays
    Thanks Chris Guilfoyle Oliverio aka shorty from Cincinnati OHIO
    Also to all the staff which is also your family and friends Merry Christmas to all of the below individuals some of the individuals are not with us today but they are thought of every day by a lot of family friends and fans.
    Barbara Billingsley
    Hugh Beaumont
    Tony Dow
    Jerry Mathers
    Ken Osmond
    Frank Bank
    Sue Randall
    Diane Brewster
    Richard Deacon
    Stephen Talbot
    Rusty Stevens
    Richard Correll
    Stanley Fafara

    • Carolyn jean says:

      The “Decent” generation. One didn’t have to try to find a decent program back then . Now a days I don’t even hardly want to turn on the TV because of so much filth . I worry about my grandchildren and what they might see on TV. Sure there are some decent, good programs but far and few between.

  • Janie Sue Poole says:

    If only thjere were more parents & ppl like “June & Ward”,there would be less tradgedy,like mass shootings & other crimes.I grew up just in the right era to have all these great old family shows in my life.I will live in the 50’s & 60’s forever!Oh!Mr.Ed too!LOL!

  • Jerry Coffey says:

    Barbara certainly was a real lady and we all gathered round the tv to watch Leave It To Beaver! It left you with that “real good feeling” !

  • Pamela Arnone says:

    I love hearing anything about the actors from Leave it to Beaver. June and Ward are the perfect parents, sad we can’t have more Parents like them. Thanks for all the fun information about a Wonderful show !!!! Sincerely Pamela

  • Frank Scales says:

    Jerry, what a lady June must have been. Just goes to show how well she did! You’re honoring her memory with integrity, and speak so highly of someone who had a big place in your life.

    Merry Christmas

  • Steve Salkof says:

    What a great tribute to a wonderful woman indeed. I truly enjoy watching all the episodes of Leave It To Beaver. It was, and always will be, a reflection of us growing up during the great times of our lives.

  • Ashley says:

    That is sweet. She sounds just like my grandma who passed a few months ago. She too taught me manners & how to be proper. I’ll never forget the life lessons she taught me.

  • Shelly C : says:

    I loved her on TV. She always was the perfect TV mom. The only thing is she had to get Ward to talk to you & your brother when you were bad. LOL.

  • Sarah Warrington says:

    So glad you have all these wonderful memories, thanks for sharing them with us. I watch Leave it to Beaver everyday!!

  • Paula Byler says:

    I love this show and Barbara and the cast. I always WANTED a family like this, but unfortunately it wasnt meant to be, as my parents were divorced when I was 7 and I have been divorced too… I always wanted to live in that happy family….

  • Craig Vance says:

    Barbara Billingsley, you are in all our hearts from the TV show and “Leave It To Beaver” will always be on our TVs somewhere. I think Ward, June, Wally and Beaver were a fantasy All-American family for all of to remember, and a happy family You came to our family rooms in a much simpler, easier time and we are left with those great memories. Jerry Mathers, you and Tony Dow, Wally, were great as brothers as were your friends on the show, never to be duplicated.

  • Randy Robinson says:

    Jerry, I think we will all miss one of America’s greatest Moms. Thank you for posting this kind and touching tribute.

  • James Robinson says:

    It’s great to see you use the word mentor, Jerry. She was an excellent actress, under appreciated probably. I think her brilliance can be seen in her reaction shots, conveying so much with just the right look or expression as opposed to simply saying lines.

  • Mike mcqueen says:

    It is obvious The Beaver loved Barabara. I would have guess she was proper it came across on the show. You can’t fake class that good. It has to be who you are and I bet that’s how she got the role. Great show period. I saw pictures of Frank Bank and he looked like he might have health problems. I saw him on Ken Osmonds Facebook. I have to ask you, has it been a blessing to be that famous?

    Mike McQueen. distant cousin to the actor Steve McQueen, that and a dollar will get me a cup of coffee. Lol

  • Kathleen Rydel says:

    It was very nice of you to share your memories about this this very special lady. May she rest in peace.

  • Michael R. Grady says:

    VERY NICE REFLECTIONS OF A VERY CLASSY LADY! WE NEED MORE LADIES LIKE HER IN OUR MODERN WORLD TODAY!

  • Kathy says:

    Wow how lucky you are – and we inturn are lucky to feel like we were apart of all of this. Its too bad we cant go back to the simple way of life. I have all the episodes and watch some daily (thats no joke) – I love the episode where you are selling water – who would have ever known it would come to that. Barbara was an excellent actress and portrayed the part of being your mother wonderfully. Thank you for sharing these fascinating memories with us.

  • Corrina Countryman says:

    I’ve had “mentors” in my life. I know exactly what you mean. She sounds like she was a very nice lady.

  • I very much appreciate your vignette about Barbara Billingsley. I think those of us who grew up with you must have been influenced by her – And you- in ways that we may not be fully aware of. Anyway, those days are gone although they live on through you and us and we honor them now through you. Thanks Mr. Mathers!

  • daniel livengood says:

    JUNE reminds me so of my own MOTHER and when i see the show it not only reminds me of simpler better times it also reminds me of my own wonderful childhood memories. yes indeed JUNE was a class act for sure she will always be in mind and heart and i believe ill see her in heaven one day:)

  • Rob Swan says:

    Leave it to Beaver – is one of my all time favorite shows. I have been watching the LITB show ever since it was released back in 1957 & have been watching the LITB show ever since. Barbara Billingsley, Hugh Beaumont, Tony Dow & Jerry Mathers and all of the other cast members brought a wonderful human quality to the series. The LITB series represents American suburban everyday life a much simpler & in many ways a much better era – the mid-late 1950s & early 1960s.

    I had the pleasure of meeting Barbara Billingsley on a few occasions — a wonderful person. Barbara was a very gracious & a very classy lady. Barbara Billingsley’s wonderful ” old school values ” are deeply missed today.

    Thank you for sharing the Leave it to Beaver series & it’s wonderful legacy.

    All the best,

    – Rob Swan

  • David DuBois says:

    Dear Jerry, I wish my first e-mail to you was regarding a happier topic. My deepest sympathies to you and the friends and family of Barbara’s. I’m 51 and grew up watching ‘Leave it to Beaver’. I had the most enjoyable privilege to have met Barbara in 1993 on a flight from Chicago to Orange, Co. CA when I was a flight attendant for United. I remember seeing Barbara walking down the isle of the airplane and as big as life and I immediately recognized her and said, “this is gona be a great flight..We’ve got the Beaver’s mom onboard! She rolled her eyes and said something affectionately sarcastic and we had a wonderful time chatting for the next 4 hours! Just before we landed I asked Barbara not just for her autograph but maybe some words of wisdom. This is what she shared with me…’Dear David, Thank You for a wonderful flight. Remember Faith instead of fear! Love, Barbara Billingsly’ I will treasure this memento the rest of my life!

    • admin says:

      Wow. How nice that you had a chance to spend time with Barbara on that flight and now have such a treasured memory of her. She truly was an amazing spirit and I feel so privileged to have known her.

  • Carole Newman says:

    I loved everyone on the show, and I thought Barbara was a jewel of a woman…the perfect mom…God bless her for being such a kind and talented lady.

  • Jon says:

    You could tell by her acting that she was and will always be the perfect mom to come home to after school or when there was trouble. By what I read here she was that lady in life and it is so refreshing to just watch her at her best on Leave to Beaver a real women with class!

  • James Herrera Wright says:

    I still love to watch leave it to Beaver. My wife is still in love with Tony Dow, because she says he was so handsome. I always wanted to look like Tony Dow. Barbara was a wonderful show mother, she was always looking good in her dresses.

  • Vickie says:

    I loved her character, she was a real lady and great example of a loving wife and mom. I am currently on Season 2 of Leave it to Beaver! Timelss!

  • Ann Marie says:

    I loved the Cleaver family… June and Ward were such an inspiration as parents..I loved the show.. I still watch it on reruns.. Its so sad that they are gone, but never forgotten.. Barbara was a classy beautiful lady.. She will definitely be missed.. My condolences to you Jerry, and Barbara:s family.. Leave it to Beaver is the best show ever…

  • Marc 305 says:

    Your show was way before my time, but in the last few years I have watched many re runs, and have become a big fan. On a personal note I have to tell you what I think about you. Although the years have passed and you are now 65. I think it is great that you have remained youthful inside. You have embraced social media and connected with a new generation through facebook, that is something that neither Tony or Ken have done. There are some people who never age, no matter how many years go by, and you are definitely one of them. Barbara would have proud of you!

  • Rollo Tomasi says:

    What a dear lady. RIP. A jewel on and off the screen. She ‘stole the show’ with her performance on “Airplane”!

  • cheryl vega says:

    Oh what a wonderful, beautiful woman she was! I loved it when she giggled! It was so precious! Rest in peace, lovely Barbara!

  • Catherine Sandberg says:

    I always enjoyed watching Leave it to Beaver. It was a nice clean show to watch. Every once in a while I will tell someone about the brussels sprouts episode. Found out much later that Jerry actually liked them. It was excellent acting.

  • Nancy Kazel-Ramos says:

    Leave it to Beaver was a classic I grew up with, and loved Barbara and the whole cast of memories!

  • Carol says:

    I’m a huge Cisco Kid fan, and saw Barbara Billingsley as a stubborn senorita rescued by the Cisco Kid and Pancho in the 1948 movie “Valiant Hombre.” I would have recognized that voice anywhere! I grew up watching Leave it to Beaver and she was always the ultimate lady. By the way — Jerry, I saw you perform at a place called Frontiertown in North Carolina back in the late 60s!!

  • Rainy says:

    I always thought Barbara to be a striking beauty, even as she aged. The first two years of Beaver she was more comedic. Wish her character would have retained that, but June was still a classic TV mom.

  • Mari says:

    What a wonderful TV mom she was, and it’s so great to hear your memories. I love Leave It To Beaver still. It’s my favorite show from that time period. I was only 3 when it premiered, but I know I’ve seen it in reruns practically ever since.

    Roseanne is my favorite 90’s show, and I loved the episode with the sitcom TV moms guest starring, especially seeing Barbara again!

    This is my first visit to your website, Jerry. It certainly won’t be my last!

  • Nicole Kenna says:

    I’ve been a big fan of Leave it To Beaver since I was little.I really enjoyed this show, and it gave a lot of great advice! Barbara Billingsley had class! There will never again be another one like her! She will be missed! God Bless the LITB cast,and the family of Barbara Billingsley! RIP, Barbara!

  • Bombermom says:

    Leave it to beaver is one of my favorite shows. I watch almost everyday. I’ve been watching since I was a kid, wholesome T.V., don’t get that on T.V. anymore. Beaver was so adoreable. All the cast were terrific.

  • Cassanndra Morrison says:

    Hi Jerry! I, also, grew up watching “The Beaver” and loved it (and everyone in it) to pieces (with the possible exception of Eddie Haskell LOL) sorry Ken wasn’t able to leave that character behind and play other roles but in those days “typecasting” usually meant the end. That doesn’t really happen today as much, audiences seem more willing to let their favorite actors move on to other roles than they used to be and that’s good.

    And Barbara helped with that when she demonstrated that she knew how to speak “jive” on AIRPLANE. That scene STILL brings a smile to my face.

    As for YOU, young man. Watching you work with legends like Alfred Hitchcock, Shirley Maclaine, Royal Dano (can we ever forget his role as “Elijah” in John Huston’s version of MOBY DICK?) Edmund “Santa Claus” Gwenn. and the good old Bachelor Father himself (John Forsythe) was a treat. THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY is one of my favorite films.

    So here’s a big hug and a hello from MINNEAPOLIS!!!

  • Krista says:

    Just the other day introduced my 8 yr. old to “Leave it to Beaver”! It’s now a favorite of hers! And “The Beaver” is her favorite character, too! 🙂 We started watching “Still the Beaver” from 1983 today and she got to see “The Beaver” all grown up!

    “Leave it to Beaver” is just simply good TV! Thank you to all who worked to produce it!

    • jim horak says:

      Hi Jerry, The ” Beav ” is my favorite show. I am 51 and have a hectic job and life. I work in Chicago and when I have stressed out days I come home and watch the Beav and that makes my day a lot better. A friend of mine who I don’t speak often, but when we do, we always get caught up on the episodes. We laughed at each other and comment were 51 and we still talk about LITB episodes. Anyways, not sure how often you read this but I have a request for you. If you could e-mail me I WOULD APPRECIATE IT! Thanks for the memories.

      Jim

  • Mark Bassett says:

    Referring to the “Hells Bells” she used to say. Maybe she listened to ACDC. Just a thought.

  • Glenn Lezon says:

    I too had the pleasure of meeting Barbara in Chicago. In fact it was the same year that the gentleman spoke of as being one of the flight attendants on her trip from Chicago to CA.

    Barbara spoke at a symposium for the Museum of Broadcast Communications regarding TV moms. I waited patiently to talk and ask for her autograph. I was actually last in the line and happy for it.

    She was as beautiful as we all know her, and I was so happy to have met her. I mentioned that my own mother, who adored watching her on LITB had recently passed away, and how much she reminded me of my mom. I also mentioned that I shared the same name, Glenn, as one of her sons.

    I will never forget that day, and now 20 years later at age 55, that moment is frozen in time. There won’t be another like her. Such true, genuine class. Another time and place.

  • Vickey Saal says:

    I have always loved Leave it to Beaver and I watch everyday, makes me feel like a kid again, such good wholesome tv!

  • john says:

    jerry,enjoyed all 6 seasons of litb finished last night. age60, also tks for all your help in diabetic education.

  • Becky says:

    I grew up watching this show also. I., too, still watch reruns. It brings back wonderful childhood memories of simpler times.

  • Paul pasquale says:

    What a joy the two of you — Beaver and Wally — must have been to her. Even though your schedule must have been incredibly demanding, she must have stepped back every now and then and realized what a great time this was in her career. There’s a scene at the end of the episode “Cleaning the Beaver,” where your character is headed out the door (for school, I think). She looks like she’s doing all she can to just stop herself from giving you a gigantic (and unfortunately unscripted) hug. I wrote a N*x review describing this as the best kid-centered show ever written. After re-watching over 80 episodes so far, nothing has changed my mind.

  • Alan tobin says:

    Barbara was awesome. While I watched the reruns of leave it to beaver as a boy, when I saw her in airplane I thought that was the highlight of the movie since she was so out of character. I still have the hat you signed for my ex who graduated from Beaver College.

  • Pamela Arnone says:

    Love JUNE/Barbara, such a perfect mom and Actress. Still LOVE the show, would like to jump in the TV and have the Cleavers as my family. Hard to believe how things have changed. Sad for this generation that they don’t have this kind of entertainment. God Bless Barbara “Happy Birthday”

  • Rob says:

    Jerry a fine lady indeed. MeTV serves up to episodes every morning during breakfast. My escape to a better time. Thank you for that.

  • Rob Swan says:

    Leave it to Beaver was ( and still is ) one of my all time favorite shows. LITB represented what was right in out society during the mid-late 1950s and the early 1960s. Watching LITB brings back many wonderful memories from that era. At age 66, I still watch, frequently, LITB on the complete ( 6 seasons ) DVD series.

    Barbara Billingsley was a wonderful person – very classy lady. I met Barbara Billingsley on a couple of occasions – she was wonderful. Barbara was as gracious in person, as she was on the LITB series as ” June Cleaver. ” It was an honor to meet Barbara Billingsley.

    I have always had tremendous respect – and deep admiration – for all of the Leave it to Beaver cast members. LITB represented the best of the best of what TV had to offer back in the day.

  • Edna f chambers says:

    I watched every episode of Leave it to Beaver.I loved it and watch it now when I can get it on TV. I’d watch it now if it came in any channel. I kinda grew up with the show. Love all the characters. The wholesomeness. I love the purity if the show. Love it love it love it still!!!!!!

  • Chris says:

    Thanks for sharring you memories with us. I still love watching leave it to beaver. I was actually watching it earlier. You guys made up the best show from that era. So glad you have so mny fond memories of Barbra.

  • Dolores Rincones says:

    Thank you Jerry for sharing your special memories on such an extraordinary and special lady, Barbara Billingsley. I loved the show “Leave it to Beaver” then and now. Not only was it interesting to see what kind of trouble the Beav was going to get into but how Ward and June were going to react to it. Their reactions were priceless sometimes. The one liners by June had perfect timing and her facial expressions were outstanding! Thank you for all the good memories! Merry Christmas and Happy 2015!!! God bless!!!

  • Miles Nelson says:

    Earlier this year, I was watching the episode where you and Wally were at odds with each other. When your Mother asked your Father about how bad it was that the boys were not getting along, your Father said that at least the two of you were together, even though you weren’t getting along. Unlike he and his brother who had come down to sharing a Christmas Card and Birthday card each year. Even though this was script in an episode, it hit me in that moment of watching a rerun, that truly, I and my brother were in that same relationship of 2 cards a year! So I sat down and started writing to him regularly, and calling him when I can, leaving a message if I don’t make phone contact. He has never come into the computer or cell phone media, so I have to remember that the old ways of contact still do exist. We are 300 miles apart and only get to see each other 2 to 3 times a year. Barbara Billingsly was TRULY a Lady! Like unto my Mother and Sisters, and the Same age as my Mother! My Dad would have had his Century mark this year!

  • Julie Smith says:

    Merry Christmas and God bless you and your family! I love the show and still watch it.Such good memories!

  • Christopher Chipps says:

    Barbara Billingsley was a very pretty lady. I loved her as June Cleaver. Her character of June Cleaver always reminded me of my step mother.

  • Regina Hampson says:

    Ive always loved the way she dressed,even when she was outdoors! Even Eddie Haskle liked the way she looked. Im sure she was good to u on and off the show.this was my favorite show when i was growin up And still is!

  • Hello, Mr. Mathers. I was just checking on some of the old T.V. shows on line that I grew up with. ‘Leave It To Beaver,’ was one of them. I just wanted to say, thank you for such good times and memories that the show brought me so many years ago. I had the pleasure of meeting, Tony Dow once. He appeared at the Tanglewood Golf event in Clemmons, North Carolina to help raise funds along with Bob Hope and other celebrities.
    I still have the Polaroid picture of Mr. Dow, that he was so gracious to let me take. What a swell guy.
    Much thanks to all the cast, crew and affiliates of the show.
    Best wishes in 2015.

  • Jon Ogren says:

    Love the show all these years! It’s on antenna TV here Mon. thru Fri. here at noon PT for an hour. Today they showed the final episode! I didn’t even remember this episode. Looking thru the scrapbook and flash back to the first season. Then they started over with the first episode in 1957. Mrs. Camfield gave Beaver a note to give to the parents. He never did give it to them. He thought he was in trouble.

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