Oct 16, 2010

RIP, Mrs. Cleaver

Word today that Leave it to Beaver's Barbara Billingsley passed away this morning at age 94. Billingsley was beloved by generations as the mother of Beaver and Wally, husband to Ward, and frequent recipient of disingenuous compliments from that Eddie Haskell. June Cleaver was the idealized 50’s homemaker, always dressed up and wearing pearls no matter what time of day, with snacks ready after school and dinner on the table every night.  Billingsley played the role during the run of the show from 1957 - 1963, and shown endlessly in repeats.  She reprised the role in the 1983 TV movie, Still the Beaver. This later became a show of its own, The New Leave It to Beaver that ran on various channels from 1984 - 1989.

Later generations remember her for her hysterical cameo in 1980’s Airplane, listed in the credits as “Jive Lady,” delivering the following exchange:

Randy: Can I get you something?
Second Jive Dude: 'S'mofo butter layin' me to da' BONE! Jackin' me up... tight me!
Randy: I'm sorry, I don't understand.
First Jive Dude: Cutty say 'e can't HANG!
Jive Lady: Oh stewardess! I speak jive.
Randy: Oh, good.
Jive Lady: He said that he's in great pain and he wants to know if you can help him.
Randy: All right. Would you tell him to just relax and I'll be back as soon as I can with some medicine?
Jive Lady: [to the Second Jive Dude] Jus' hang loose, blood. She gonna catch ya up on da' rebound on da' medisii.
Second Jive Dude: What it is, big mama? My mama didn't no raise no dummies. I dug her rap!
Jive Lady: Cut me some slack, Jack! Chump don' want no help, chump don't GET da’ help!
First Jive Dude: Say 'e can't hang, say seven up!
Jive Lady: Jive ass dude don't got no brains anyhow! Hmmph!

Rest in Peace, Mrs. Cleaver.  Barbara Billingsley, 1915 - 2010.

More to Come.

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