Farewell to Mrs. Cleaver

Img-hp-main---bliss-barbara-billingsley_133853774122 Jeff Bliss in The Daily Beast:

When Barbara Billingsley died Saturday at age 94, many of us Baby Boomers lost someone special—someone best known for portraying an idealized, 1950s version of the perfect housewife and mother.

The truth is, even if you didn’t buy into her Leave It to Beaver character, June Cleaver, Mrs. Billingsley was someone special.

I had the good fortune to work with Mrs. Billingsley a few years back. I won’t claim to have become friends with her, though the few times we subsequently bumped into each other, she was friendly. I am sure countless people in the entertainment industry have stories that are grander than mine and there are surely those, like her former co-stars, who worked with her for years.

My experience with Mrs. Billingsley came to be through the university I worked at where she was active in its committee for the arts. When the idea arose to do a video with her—an employee-appreciation presentation—that gently poked fun at the school by parodying Leave It to Beaver, I jumped at the opportunity.

After writing the script, I sent it to her and waited for a reaction. Mrs. Billingsley’s response: “Looks fun. Why don’t we just shoot this at my home?”