Barbara Billingsley Biography

(Best Known for Her Role as ‘June Cleaver’ in the TV Series ‘Leave It to Beaver’)

Birthday: December 22, 1915 (Capricorn)

Born In: Los Angeles, California, United States

Barbara Billingsley was an American actress known for her roles in TV shows such as ‘The Brothers’ and ‘Leave It to Beaver’, and films like ‘The Unfinished Dance’, ‘The Valiant Hombre’ and ‘The Airplane!’ Most of her works on the big screen were, however, unaccredited. She was born in Los Angeles, California, and had an unstable childhood. She developed an early interest in acting and began her career with mostly unaccredited roles in major motion pictures in the 1940s. Later in the 1950s, she moved to supporting roles. She was more successful as a TV actress. She gained much popularity after she started appearing in the TV series ‘Leave it to Beaver’. The series was met with positive reviews from the critics. She reprised her role in its sequel ‘The New Leave it to Beaver’ and became a household name. Her other popular TV shows were ‘Four Star Playhouse’, ‘The Mommies’, and ‘Murphy Brown’. She lived a long and productive life and passed away in 2010, at the age of 94.
Quick Facts

Also Known As: Barbara Lillian Combes

Died At Age: 94


Spouse/Ex-: Roy Kellino (m. 1953), William Mortensen (m. 1959), Glenn Billingsley (m. 1941 - div. 1947), Roy Kellino (m. 1953–1956), William Mortensen (m. 1959–1981)

father: Robert Collyer Combes

mother: Lillian Agnes McLaughlin

children: Drew Billingsley, Glenn Billingsley Jr.

Born Country: United States

Actresses American Women

Height: 5'5" (165 cm), 5'5" Females

Died on: October 16, 2010

place of death: Santa Monica, California, United States

Notable Alumni: Los Angeles City College

Cause of Death: Polymyalgia

U.S. State: California

City: Los Angeles

More Facts

education: Los Angeles City College

Childhood & Early Life
Barbara Billingsley was born in Los Angeles, California, as Barbara Lillian Combes on 22nd December 1915, to Robert Collyer Combes and Lillian Agnes. Her father was an assistant chief of police, while her mother was a foreman at a knitting mill. Her parents divorced when she was around the age of four.
She began her acting career a year after she started attending Los Angeles Junior College. She debuted as a theater actress and appeared in the play ‘Straw Hat’. For some time, she also worked as a fashion model.
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Barbara Billingsley initially appeared in unaccredited roles in films, such as ‘Faithful in My Fashion’, ‘Three Wise Fools’, ‘The Unfinished Dance’, ‘The Saxon Charm’ and ‘Any Number Can Play’.
In the late 1940s, she started playing supporting characters as well, in movies like ‘Air Hostess’ (1949), ‘Trial with Jury’ (1950), ‘Pretty Baby (1950) and ‘Three Guys Named Mike’ (1951). Meanwhile, she also started appearing in the TV shows ‘City Detective’, and ‘Cavalcade of America’.
Her first important role was in the situational comedy series ‘Professional Father’, which aired from January to July in 1955. She gained popularity after her role in the sitcom ‘Leave it to Beaver’. The show became a hit and achieved an iconic status in US.
In ‘Leave it to Beaver,’ she played one of the main characters, named June Cleaver, who appears alongside her husband, Ward. She is the mother of two sons, Wally and Beaver. The show aired for several years and earned two Emmy nominations. It was met with positive reviews from the critics.
In 1983, Barbara portrayed her character June Cleaver once again in ‘Still the Beaver’, a TV movie based on the series. The same year, she was seen in another TV movie ‘High School USA’.
Between 1983 and 1989, she again portrayed June Cleaver in the TV series ‘The New Leave it to Beaver’, the sequel to ‘Leave it to Beaver’. It was met with mostly positive reviews, though it was not as successful as the prequel.
In the animated TV series ‘Muppet Babies’ (1984–91), she had a voice role. The show was much appreciated by the critics. It aired for several years and won a few awards and nominations.
The later movies of her career include ‘Airplane!’ (1980), ‘Back to the Beach’ (1987) and ‘Leave it to Beaver’ (1997). Her last works on TV were guest roles in shows like ‘Parker Lewis Can’t Lose’, ‘Empty Nest’, ‘Roseanne’ and ‘Mysterious Ways.’ Her final TV film was ‘Secret Santa’.
Major Works
Barbara Billingsley’s most important work on TV is undoubtedly the TV show ‘Leave it to Beaver’. The show ran for several years, covering 234 episodes. It gained positive reviews from the critics and achieved an iconic status in the country. Billingsley earned much appreciation for her role of June Cleaver.
Billingsley’s significant works on the big screen include the 1980 satirical disaster film ‘Airplane!’ It was a parody of the disaster film genre, especially the 1957 film ‘Zero Hour’. The film also had the actors Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Peter Graves and Leslie Nielsen. The movie won a ‘Writers Guild of America’ award, and a Golden Globe nomination and a BAFTA nomination.
Family & Personal Life
Barbara Billingsley was first married to Glenn Billingsley, with whom she had two sons. Glenn was a restaurateur, and the couple lived in Florida till the end of their marriage in 1947.
Her next marriage was to director Roy Kellino in 1953. They were married for three years, until Kellino’s death in 1956.
She married Dr. William Mortensen in 1959. The couple remained married for many years, till Mortensen passed away in 1981.
She passed away due to polymyalgia at her home in Santa Monica, California, on October 16, 2010. She was interred at Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery, Santa Monica. She was 94 at the time of her death.

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