Barbara Billingsley once said that her ''Airplane!'' cameo never would have happened without June Cleaver

The actor owed Mrs. Cleaver a great deal.

Playing an iconic role can sometimes be bittersweet. Sure, it provides you with fame and admiration. But for many actors, it can also mean that they run the risk of being typecast, meaning that every potential role in their future will henceforth be determined by a singular character that they played in the past.

However, someone like Barbara Billingsley was much more optimistic about the whole situation. Anybody who's anybody knows that Billingsley is perhaps best known for her role as mother June Cleaver in Leave It to Beaver, however, she also enjoyed success in various other roles on television and film. After all of this, Billingsley never felt that playing the character of June Cleaver was a hindrance in her career; in fact, it was an asset.

Perhaps one of Billingsley's most iconic roles besides Mother Cleaver was that of the "Jive Lady" in the film Airplane! According to an article from the Associated Press, Billingsley once said that she believed that she felt that it was her wholesome image as June Cleaver that helped create a hilarious contradiction of sorts during her scene in the film, guaranteed to make audiences laugh twice as hard as they would have had any other actress played the part.

In an interview with the New York Times, Billingsley revealed that she didn't really care if people associated her with the role. She said, "It doesn't bother me that I'm June Cleaver. It's been a good career. I don't know where June starts and Barbara ends. Our lives are so similar." 

In fact, an article from the Associated Press also quotes Billingsley's real-life son, Glenn, speaking of his mother fondly and observing the similarities between her and her Leave It To Beaver character. He said, "She was every bit as nurturing, classy, and lovely as June Cleaver."

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5 Comments

Pnut67 1 month ago
Extremely beautiful lady😍 Both in the way she was in public, and her physical beauty, too.
James9 1 month ago
I speak "jive." Hilarious!!!!
harlow1313 1 month ago
She was dead by then, but Irene Ryan would have been cool. Eva Gabor, or maybe even that chick who plays Iola on "Mama's Family."

Still, clever Cleaver comically captured the lip.
Pnut67 harlow1313 1 month ago
Beverly Archer, who also played a Gunny on "Major Dad".
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