Saturday, October 16, 2010

Barbara Billingsley

Sad to hear that Barbara Billingsley passed away. Mr. Ward and I worked with her a long time ago, and she could not have been sweeter or more professional. I recall that she had a cold, and we were working outside on a windy day and she never complained, but did everything with more dedication, grace, and aplomb than was necessary, and at long last we sent her away with a limo driver who rubbed his damp hands together a lot and skulked around looking suspicious, so that when the car pulled away, we said, "Well, that's the last anyone will ever see of Barbara Billingsley!" Mr. Ward tried to secretly videotape some of our conversation with her in her trailer, because we just couldn't believe we were talking to her, but I think all he got on camera was the top of her head. All I can recall now about that conversation is that she was mildly scolding Martin Sheen about something (in absentia). In closing, I will remark that LEAVE IT TO BEAVER (which plays an important part in the title novella of my second book) had some great, subtle writing and acting on it, especially in its early days, so you should take another look at it if you recall it as a cliché. The only thing that seemed to make Barbara Billingsley mad was when people talked about "June Cleaver vacuuming while wearing high-heeled shoes and pearls." THAT was the cliché, and it really steamed and insulted her, though of course she remained mild and gracious while expressing herself on the subject. I seem to recall that on the day we spoke, she was a tiny bit exasperated because Oprah had said something about it. So don't give Barbara Billingsley any guff, not today. Another day we'll try to figure out why she's wearing pearls in every single picture on the "internet." What a nice person. Bye, Barbara Billingsley!