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It’s June Cleaver!

It's June Cleaver

By Beverly Washburn, Hollywood Memories

I’d like to start by thanking those of you who have been reading my column. It means a lot to me.

I thought this month I would write about one of my favorites, Barbara Billingsley.

She will forever be known to millions of people around the world as the mom, June Cleaver on the TV show, Leave It To Beaver.

Before that show, I had the pleasure of playing her daughter in a short-lived (one season) 1955 TV show called “Professional Father.” We did it live before an audience every Saturday at CBS Television City in Los Angeles.

It was a sitcom, but unfortunately only did “fair” in the ratings. Nonetheless, it will always remain one of my fondest memories.

One of the reasons was Barbara. She was the sweetest, most loving woman in the world. When the show was cancelled, she gave me a beautiful gold necklace with a charm on it that was called “Thursdays child.” It was a wonderful gift since I was born on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day.
Barbara had been an actress since the 40s in mostly uncredited shows. She was also a fashion model and had only a few credits to her name when she was cast in “Professional Father.”

When she was later cast as June Cleaver, she became known world-wide, as Leave It To Beaver has been seen in over 100 countries. To this day, the show lives on in reruns.

Barbara had always been self-conscious of what she called a “hollow” in her neck, so it was her suggestion that she wear pearls, as it would look better on screen. Little did she know that she would ultimately become famous for those pearls!

People will also remember her role as the “Jive Lady” in the well-known movie “Airplane” in 1980. She died in 2010 at age 94.

I will also be eternally grateful to her since she introduced me to Tony Dow, who later became my life-long friend. In fact Tony wrote the foreword for my book “Reel Tears, Take Two” which is available on Amazon. I am truly blessed to have known one of the loveliest ladies in the world.
Until next time, remember, a smile can turn a frown upside down. MSN

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