Barbara Billingsley thought it was important to always keep a good attitude

Billingsley was more than positive that being positive equaled success.

Image credit: The Everett Collection

Leave It to Beaver was an iconic family sitcom that graced our television screens for six seasons. When Leave It to Beaver first premiered Jerry Mathers, who played Theodore 'Beaver' Cleaver, was only 9 years old. By the time the series came to an end, little Beaver was a pre-teen at 15. 

Many viewers fell in love with the series because they related to the troubles of Beaver and his big brother, Wally, played by Tony Dow. The two brothers had to deal with it all: Growing up, girl problems, parent problems and their fair share of bad attitudes.

Luckily, the Cleaver kids didn't have to go through those problems alone. They had the help of their fictional parents, June and Ward Cleaver. Barbara Billingsley played one of the best fictional moms on TV as June Cleaver. 

As a mom she was kind, patient, nurturing and loving, with a great set of values in which she tried her best to instill into Beaver and Wally.

According to a 1958 interview with Quad-City Times, Billingsley said the off-screen attitudes of the entire cast affected the success of the series. She thought the acceptance from the public was due to the positive attitudes of everyone connected with the series. 

"Attitude is something one should watch very carefully," Billingsley said. "In it there is hidden power for good or for bad. It is possible that an unhappy incident or big problem can be reversed by a change in attitude."

Shortly after the premiere, Leave It to Beaver became a huge hit. Dow became every teen's dream, Mathers was everyone's favorite kid and their parents inspired children across the country.

According to the interview, Billingsley became aware of the power of a good attitude after the death of her husband and producer, Roy Kellino. She added: "But life must go on, and I had to develop a new attitude to solve my problem."

"State of mind affects one's regard for appearance and has a far reaching effect on one's complexion, hair, sleep and digestion of food," Billingsley said. "One might say it is the very foundation of beauty."

Before turning to acting, Billingsley was a high-fashion model in New York, and a successful one too. She had to know a thing or two about being beautiful. From high-fashion to parenting, her whole life had been an attitude adjustment from one gig to the next.

Billingsley said modeling taught her a whole lot about clothes, how to walk, which styles fit her best and the job gave her the confidence she needed to keep calm under pressure. She even used some of her high-fashion knowledge during her time on Leave It to Beaver.

"It is much more economical to invest in one really good dress," Billingsley said. "You may tire of it in the first season but it's a simple way to build a good wardrobe. A dress or suit that is simple and of fine fabric can be carried over from season to season."

She not only carried her dresses over from season to season, but she also maintained her good attitude throughout the series' six seasons on-air. The only thing more beautiful than Billingsley herself was her good attitude and the love for her co-stars.

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5 Comments

JHP 23 days ago
and she knew Jive:)
Coldnorth JHP 5 hours ago
I remember that. Didn’t expect that to come out of her mouth. Very funny
Runeshaper 25 days ago
Barbara Billingsley was AWESOME! A good, positive attitude and love for others sounds like a recipe for happiness (-:
teire 25 days ago
She was lovely as June and as herself.
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