Saturday, October 16, 2010

Barbara Billingsley, 1915-2010

Oh stewardess, I speak jive

Actress Barbara Billingsley has died at the age of 94. She might be best remembered for playing the matriarch on the sitcom Leave It to Beaver, where her housewife character did everything in high heels and pearls. But she gained a career renaissance in 1980 when she was tapped to play a little old lady passenger on the doomed flight who had an ability to speak "jive", the idiolect spoken by two sick black passengers on the flight, in the movie Airplane!.

Billingsly apparently had bit parts in quite a few movies in the 1940s and early 1950s, before she started doing TV work, but these parts are mostly uncredited. I don't recall her, for example, in the movie Any Number Can Play, but IMDb claims she was a gambler in it.

No comments: