‘Leave It To Beaver‘s titular star, Jerry Mathers, is “deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend and lifetime mentor Barbara Billingsley,” the actress who played his TV mom June Cleaver on the late-1950s/early ’60s series.
Billingsley, who passed away on Saturday at age 94, after a battle with rheumatoid disease, “will live in the hearts of her fans as a wonderful actress and be remembered by her friends as a gracious lady,” Mathers, 62, continued in a statement to TMZ. “Barbara was a patient advisor and teacher. She helped me along this challenging journey through life by showing me the importance of manners, and respect for others.”
“She will be deeply missed by all of her family, friends, fans and most especially by me,” he said in closing.
Billingsley was the only surviving ‘Beaver’ regular to not attend a cast reunion held this past June at the L.A. Paley Center. (Hugh Beaumont aka “Ward Cleaver” died in 1982 at the age of 73.) But the veteran actress was by no means forgotten. “My favorite person in the world is Barbara,” said Ken Osmond, 67, who played Eddie Haskell on the show.
Billingsley’s survivors include her sons, three stepchildren and numerous grandchildren.