What is the net worth of Barbara Billingsley?
Barbara Billingsley was a screen and stage actress and had a net worth of $12 million at the time of her death in 2010. Barbara Billingsley is best known for playing mother John Cleaver on the television sitcom “Leave It to a Beaver” and its sequel, The New Leave It to the Beaver. She has also appeared in several films, including “Three Guys Named Mike,” “Woman in the Dark,” “The Careless Years,” and “Airplane!” Among her other notable credits, Billingsley voiced the character of a nanny in the cartoon TV series “Muppet Babies”.
Barbara Billingsley was born Barbara Lillian Combs on December 22, 1915 in Los Angeles, California to Robert and Lillian. She had an older sister named Elizabeth. When Billingsley was young, her parents divorced.
Billingsley began her career on stage in the play “The Straw Hat”. After the show ended, she became a model in New York City. In 1945, Billingsley signed a contract with MGM; She returned to Los Angeles the following year, landing a series of uncredited roles in motion pictures. Among the first films in which she appeared are “Up Goes Maisie”, “Two Sisters from Boston”, “Three Wise Fools”, “Undercurrent”, “The Sea of Grass” and “The Unfinished Dance”.
The beginning of a television career
In the early 1950s, Billingsley began appearing on television. Her work has included episodes of “Rebound”, “The Abbott and Costello Show”, “Crown Theater with Gloria Swanson” and “City Detective”. She subsequently appeared in episodes of the anthology series “Four Star Playhouse”, “Schlitz Playhouse of Stars” and “Cavalcade of America”. In 1955, Billingsley got her first major role in the sitcom “Professional Daddy”, which lasted only one season. She went on to appear in episodes of “You’re There,” “Matini Theatre,” “Loretta Young Show,” “GE Summer Originals,” and “Ford Television Theatre.” From 1956 to 1957, she had a recurring role in the sitcom “Brothers”.
Leave it to the beaver
Barbara Billingsley is best known among television viewers for her role as John Cleaver, the mother of the Cleaver family, in the sitcom Leave It to the Beaver. On the show, her character often did the housework wearing her signature earrings and pearls. “Leave It to the Beaver” starred Hugh Beaumont as Ward Cleaver and child actors Jerry Mathers and Tony Dow as Theodore and Wally Cleaver, respectively. After debuting on the lukewarm ratings on CBS in 1957, the show moved to ABC and was a huge success. Leave It to the Beaver ran for six seasons until 1963, and aired 234 episodes.
In 1983, two decades after the end of Leave It to Beaver, the surviving cast of the show reunited for the TV movie Still the Beaver. This was followed by the sequel series “The New Leave it to Beaver” which ran from 1985 to 1989. In addition to the “Beaver” franchise, Billingsley appeared as June Cleaver in such episodes as “Amazing Stories”, “Baby Boom” and “Hello Baby” , I am at home! “
More TV career
Between the end of “Leave it to the Beaver” and the beginning of “The New Leave it to Beaver,” Billingsley struggled to find acting jobs. Her only television credit during the 1970s was the police drama series “The FBI”. She returned to the small screen in the early 1980s with appearances in “Mork & Mindy” and “Love Boat”, as well as a role in the television movie. “High School USA” In 1984, Billingsley began voicing the character of Nanny in the animated series “Muppet Babies,” a role that she continued until the show’s end in 1991.
In the 1990s, Billingsley appeared in a number of sitcoms, including “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose,” “Empty Nest,” “Mother,” “Murphy Brown,” and “Roseanne.” The new millennium began with a guest role in the science fiction series Mysterious Roads. Billingsley’s last television credit was the TV movie “Secret Santa,” which aired in 2003.
After a few years of uncredited roles, Billingsley received her first screen billing in the 1948 film noir “Secrets of Argyle”. In the same year, she had a prominent role in the western film “The Valiant Hombre”. This was followed by some uncredited appearances in the films “Act of Violence”, “The Sun Comes Up” and “Caught”. Billingsley concluded the 1940s with supporting roles in “I Cheating the Law,” “Air Hostess,” and “Prejudice.” Early in the following decade, she appeared in films such as “Shadow on the Wall”, “Trial Without Jury”, “Pretty Baby”, “Inside Straight” and the MGM romantic comedy “Three Guys Named Mike”. Billingsley also went on to appear in several uncredited parts in films such as “The Tall Target”, “Invitation”, “The Bad and the Beautiful” and “Invaders from Mars”.
One of Billingsley’s biggest film roles came in 1957 in Arthur Heller’s The Careless Years. In the movie, she stars alongside Dean Stockwell, Natalie Trondy, John Larch and John Stephenson. Billingsley didn’t return to the big screen until 23 years later, when she sent off her healthy character by playing a carrion-talking lady in the parody film “Airplane!” She rarely appeared in a movie after that, and her only credit to the 1980s was her brief role in Back to the Beach. Fittingly, Billingsley made her last film appearance in the 1997 film adaptation of Leave It to the Beaver.
Personal life and death
Billingsley married her first husband, restaurateur Glenn Billingsley, in 1941. The couple had two sons before divorcing in 1947. Later, in 1953, Billingsley married English director Roy Killeno, with whom she was until his death in 1956. Her husband The third and last, William Mortensen, from 1959 until his death in 1981.
In October of 2010, Billingsley died of multiple muscle pain at her home in Santa Monica, California. She was 94 years old.
Sometime in the 1960s, Barbara paid $30,000 for an oceanfront home in Malibu. When she wasn’t using the house, she rented it out. In the last decade of her life and another decade after her death, the house was used primarily as a short-term rental for $20-40,000 a month. In September 2021, Barbara’s heirs sold this home to football legend Joe Montana for $7.4 million.