US actress, Barbara Billingsley, best known as TV mom June Cleaver in the 1950s sitcom Leave it to Beaver, has died aged 94.
She died at her home after suffering from a rheumatoid disease.
Born Barbara Lillian Combes in Los Angeles in 1915, she was raised by her mother after her parents divorced. She married three times.
Leave it to Beaver debuted in 1957 with Billingsley as the perfect stay-at-home 1950s mom. She was always there to gently but firmly nurture both through the ups and downs of childhood. Her own two sons said she was pretty much the image of June Cleaver in real life, although the actress disagreed.
“I think what happens is that the writers start writing about you as well as the character they created,” she once said. “So you become sort of all mixed up, I think.”
“We knew we were making a good show, because it was so well written,” she said. “But we had no idea what was ahead. People still talk about it and write letters, telling how much they watch it today with their children and grandchildren.”
In later years she appeared in such series as Murphy Brown, Empty Nest and Baby Boom and had a memorable comic turn opposite fellow TV mums June Lockhart of Lassie and Isabel Sanford of The Jeffersons on Roseanne.