Photo of Barbara Billingsley Barbara Billingsley

A former fashion model who secured iconic status as one of America's earliest -- and most beloved -- TV moms, Barbara Billingsley was born Barbara Lillian Combes in Los Angeles on Dec. 22, 1915. After taking her first husband's surname, she carved out a humble career in films of the 1940s and '50s as a contract player for MGM.

The actress was hardly a household name, however, until she donned her now-famous pearls and high heels to play stay-at-home housewife June Cleaver on "Leave It to Beaver" (1957-63). Billingsley's polished portrayal of June came to symbolize the suburban ideal of motherhood, even if it wasn't entirely achievable for the average American mom.

On the big screen, Billingsley is best remembered for her small roles as a persnickety costume designer in The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) and a jive-talking traveler in Airplane (1980). She died Oct. 16, 2010, at the age of 94.

Barbara Billingsley in Airplane!


1980 PG

In this classic, joke-a-second parody of disaster movies, traumatized former combat pilot Ted Striker, an airplane passenger, is forced to land the plane when food poisoning strikes the crew and there's no one else on board who can do the job.

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