CNN) -- Barbara Billingsley, who wore a classy pearl necklace and dispensed pearls of wisdom as America's quintessential mom on "Leave it to Beaver," has died at age 94, a family spokeswoman said Saturday.
The actress passed away at 2 a.m. (5 a.m. ET) Saturday at her home in Santa Monica, California, after a long illness, spokeswoman Judy Twersky said. A private memorial is being planned.
"America's favorite mother is now gone. I feel very fortunate to have been her 'son,' " actor Tony Dow, who played Wally Cleaver, said in a statement. "We were wonderful friends and I will miss her very much. My deepest sympathies to her sons, Glenn and Drew, and her entire family."
Actor Jerry Mathers, who played Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver, spoke of Billingsley's talent during a 2000 appearance on CNN's "Larry King Live."
"Barbara was always a true role model for me. She was a great actress," he said. "And in a lot of ways ... we kind of stifled her, because her true talent didn't really come out in 'Leave it Beaver.' She was like the straight man, but she has an awful lot of talent."
The actress won a new legion of fans in a brief but memorable scene in the 1980 send-up movie "Airplane."
"Oh, stewardess. I speak jive," Billingsley said in her role as a passenger attempting to comfort an ill man on the flight.
From the moment its catchy theme song sounded in black-and-white TV sets of the 1950s, "Leave it to Beaver" enthralled Americans during a time of relative prosperity and world peace. Its characters represented middle-class white America.
June Cleaver dutifully pecked her husband, Ward (played by the late Hugh Beaumont), when he came home to learn about the latest foibles -- nothing serious -- committed by Beaver and Wally.
The parents would dispense moral advice to their sons. The boys' friends included Lumpy and the obsequious Eddie Haskell, who avoided trouble and often buttered up Ward and June.
"That's a lovely dress you're wearing, Mrs. Cleaver," Eddie would typically say to Billingsley's character.
Perhaps fittingly, "Leave it to Beaver" was canceled in 1963 on the eve of the JFK assassination, the Vietnam War and the tumult of the 1960s.
Born December 22, 1915, in Los Angeles, Billingsley began her career as a model in New York City in 1936. She was under contract to MGM in 1945 before becoming a household name with the launch of "Leave it to Beaver" in 1957.
Billingsley is survived by her two sons, Drew Billingsley of Granada Hills, California, and Glenn Billingsley of Phillips Ranch, California.
Asked once to compare real-life families to TV families, Billingsley responded, "I just wish that we could have more families like those. Family is so important, and I just don't think we have enough people staying home with their babies and their children."
Added: 16th October 2010
Posted By: Carl1957
Added: 23rd March 2011
Posted By: Old Fart
One of the most spectacular failures in toy history was the G.I. Joe Nurse figure. In 1967 Hasbro expanded its line of successful G.I. Joe toys. One was the G.I. Nurse Action Girl, a doll so rare that certain models in mint condition still in the box can bring up to $6,000 on todayís collectorsí market.
'The G.I. Joe Nurse is so valuable today because it was released for only one year,' says Sharon Korbeck, editorial director of Toy Shop, a biweekly magazine aimed at toy collectors. 'The figure didnít do very well. Boys werenít interested in a female doll, and girls werenít interested in anything related to G.I. Joe.'
Sales also suffered because toy store managers didnít know how to position the doll. Some put her with the G.I. Joe action figures, while others stocked her next to Barbie and her friends. Either way, 50 percent of the prospective market was lost.
There are actually two G.I. Joe Nurse figures: one has a dark-colored bag. The other has a white bag. An example of the rarer white-bag doll was highlighted on a season-four episode of Pawn Stars.
Added: 28th May 2011
Posted By: Lava1964
Ball Four was a situation comedy that aired on CBS in 1976. The series was inspired by the tremendously successful 1970 book of the same name by Jim Bouton. Bouton co-created the show with humorist and television critic Marvin Kitman and sportswriter Vic Ziegel. Bouton also starred in the series.
Ball Four followed the Washington Americans, a fictitious minor league baseball team, dealing with the fallout from a series of Sports Illustrated articles written by Americans' player Jim Barton (Bouton). Like the book, the series covered controversial subjects including womanizing players, drug use, homosexuality in sports, and religion. The series included a gay rookie ballplayer--one of the earliest regular gay characters on television. The creative trio began developing the series in 1975, looking to groundbreaking series like M*A*S*H and All in the Family as models. CBS expressed interest and the creative team developed a script. CBS shot the pilot episode and ultimately bought the series.
Ball Four aired at 8:30 PM Eastern time, which was during the Family Viewing Hour, an FCC-mandated hour of early evening "family-friendly" broadcasting. Consequently the writers had some trouble with the network's Standards and Practices in their attempt to portray realistic locker room scenes, especially the language used by the players. Pseudo-profanity such as "bullpimp" was disallowed, while "horse-crock" and "bullhorse" were approved.
Ball Four debuted on September 22, 1976. Critics panned the series. One of the more charitable reviews called it "uneven in quality." CBS cancelled Ball Four after just five episodes.
Added: 23rd August 2011
Posted By: Lava1964
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