Barbara Billingsley, ‘Leave It to Beaver's’ June Cleaver, Dies

Actress who played 1950s prototype TV mom died in Santa Monica on Saturday

Barbara Billingsley, the actress who set the template for TV mom roles back in the 1950s as "Leave It to Beaver's iconic June Cleaver, died Saturday in Santa Monica, a family spokesman revealed.

Billingsley, 94, had suffered from rheumatoid arthritis.

Already a seasoned TV performer, Billingsley landed the matriarchal role on CBS' "Leave It to Beaver" in 1957, a job she would hold for six seasons and 236 episodes.

After the "Beaver's" run ended in 1963, she took a break from showbiz to raise her two boys, returning in 1980 as the jive translator in "Airplane!"

Jerry Mathers, who played Theodore "The Beaver" Cleaver, released the following statement: "I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend and lifetime mentor Barbara Billingsley. She will live in the hearts of her fans as a wonderful actress and be remembered by her friends as a gracious lady.