What is Barbara Billingsley’s Net Worth?
Barbara Billingsley was an actress of the screen and stage who had a net worth of $12 million at the time of her death in 2010. Barbara Billingsley was best known for playing mother June Cleaver on the television sitcom “Leave it to Beaver” and its sequel “The New Leave it to Beaver.” She also appeared in numerous films, including “Three Guys Named Mike,” “Woman in the Dark,” “The Careless Years,” and “Airplane!” Among her other notable credits, Billingsley voiced the character Nanny on the animated television series “Muppet Babies.”
Barbara Billingsley was born as Barbara Lillian Combes on December 22, 1915 in Los Angeles, California to Robert and Lillian. She had an older sister named Elizabeth. When Billingsley was little, her parents divorced.
Billingsley began her career on stage performing in the revue “Straw Hat.” After the show closed, she became a fashion model in New York City. In 1945, Billingsley signed a contract with MGM; she moved back to Los Angeles the following year, and landed a string of uncredited roles in motion pictures. Among the early films in which she appeared were “Up Goes Maisie,” “Two Sisters from Boston,” “Three Wise Fools,” “Undercurrent,” “The Sea of Grass,” and “The Unfinished Dance.”
Start of Television Career
In the early 50s, Billingsley began appearing on television. Her credits included episodes of “Rebound,” “The Abbott and Costello Show,” “Crown Theatre 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 landed her first main role on the sitcom “Professional Father,” which only lasted for one season. She went on to appear in episodes of “You Are There,” “Matinee Theater,” “The Loretta Young Show,” “General Electric Summer Originals,” and “The Ford Television Theatre.” From 1956 to 1957, she had a recurring role on the sitcom “The Brothers.”
Leave it to Beaver
Barbara Billingsley became best known to television audiences for her role as June Cleaver, the mother of the Cleaver family, on the sitcom “Leave it to Beaver.” On the show, her character often did household chores wearing earrings and her signature pearls. “Leave it to Beaver” also starred Hugh Beaumont as Ward Cleaver and child actors Jerry Mathers and Tony Dow as Theodore and Wally Cleaver, respectively. After debuting to tepid ratings on CBS in 1957, the show moved to ABC and became a major hit. “Leave it to Beaver” ran for six seasons through 1963, airing 234 episodes.
In 1983, two decades after the end of “Leave it to Beaver,” the surviving cast of the show reunited for the television film “Still the Beaver.” This was followed by the sequel series “The New Leave it to Beaver,” which ran from 1985 to 1989. Beyond the “Beaver” franchise, Billingsley appeared as June Cleaver in episodes of such shows as “Amazing Stories,” “Baby Boom,” and “Hi Honey, I’m Home!”
Further Television Career
Between the end of “Leave it to Beaver” and the beginning of “The New Leave it to Beaver,” Billingsley struggled to find acting jobs; her only television credit during the 70s was the police drama series “The F.B.I.” She returned to the small screen in the early 80s with appearances on “Mork & Mindy” and “The Love Boat,” as well as a role in the television film “High School U.S.A.” In 1984, Billingsley began voicing the character Nanny on the animated series “Muppet Babies,” a role she continued through the show’s end in 1991.
In the 90s, Billingsley made appearances on a number of sitcoms, including “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose,” “Empty Nest,” “The Mommies,” “Murphy Brown,” and “Roseanne.” She began the new millennium with a guest role on the science-fiction series “Mysterious Ways.” Billingsley’s final television credit was the television film “Secret Santa,” which aired in 2003.
After a few years of uncredited roles, Billingsley received her first screen billing in the 1948 film noir “The Argyle Secrets.” The same year, she had a prominent role in the Western “The Valiant Hombre.” Some more uncredited appearances followed in the films “Act of Violence,” “The Sun Comes Up,” and “Caught.” Billingsley concluded the 40s with supporting roles in “I Cheated the Law,” “Air Hostess,” and “Prejudice.” Early the next decade, she appeared in such films as “Shadow on the Wall,” “Trial Without Jury,” “Pretty Baby,” “Inside Straight,” and the MGM romantic comedy “Three Guys Named Mike.” Billingsley also continued to appear in many 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 Hiller’s “The Careless Years.” In the film, she stars alongside Dean Stockwell, Natalie Trundy, John Larch, and John Stevenson. Billingsley didn’t return to the big screen until 23 years later, when she sent up her wholesome persona by playing a jive-talking lady in the parody film “Airplane!” She rarely appeared on film after this, with her only other credit in the 80s being a brief part in “Back to the Beach.” Fittingly, Billingsley made her final appearance on film in the 1997 big-screen adaptation of “Leave it to 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 wed English filmmaker Roy Kellino, with whom she was with until his passing in 1956. She was married to her third and final husband, William Mortensen, from 1959 until his death in 1981.
In October of 2010, Billingsley passed away from polymyalgia at her home in Santa Monica, California. She was 94 years of age.
At some point in the 1960s, Barbara paid $30,000 for an oceanfront home in Malibu. When she wasn’t using the home she would rent it out. In the last decade of her life and another decade after her death, the home was primarily used as a short term rental for $20-40,000 PER MONTH. In September 2021 Barbara’s heirs sold this home to football legend Joe Montana for $7.4 million.