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
Guy Lombardo Trio
Now many many years ago when I was twenty-three
I was married to a widow who was pretty as can be.
This widow had a grown-up daughter who had hair of red.
My father fell in love with her and soon they too were wed.
Oh, I'm my own grandpa
I'm my own grandpa
It sounds funny I know
But it really is so
Oh, I'm my own grandpa.
This made my dad my son-in-law and changed my very life.
My daughter was my mother, 'cause she was my father's wife.
To complicate the matter even though it brought me joy,
I soon became the father of a bouncing baby boy.
My little baby then became a brother-in-law to Dad,
And so became my uncle though it was very sad.
For if he was my uncle then that also made him brother
Of the widow's grown-up daughter who of course was my step-mother.
Father's wife then had a son who kept him on the run,
And he became my grandchild for he was my daughter's son.
My wife is now my mother's mother and it makes me blue,
Because although she is my wife she's my grandmother, too.
Now if my wife is my grandmother then I'm her grandchild,
And every time I think of it it nearly drives me wild,
For now I have become the strangest case I ever saw.
As husband of my grandmother, I am my own grandpa.
Added: 20th October 2010
Posted By: Carl1957
Some of these actors have famous animated alter egos. Name the actor that this pertains to and the animated alter ego. List the number of egos that you wish but you must at least name one.
Added: 21st October 2010
Posted By: jedwgrn