Category: June Cleaver
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Once upon a time—let’s say pre-Roseanne—the TV mom was the paragon of domestic motherhood, as exemplified and epitomized by the Beaver’s understanding mom, June Cleaver, who famously did her vacuuming in high heels and pearls and pencil-slim skirts on Leave It to Beaver. This idealized image persisted via later near-perfect parents like The Cosby Show’s Claire Huxtable, who was able to effortlessly combine high-powered career with being the wisest and most compassionate of moms, never losing her cool.
Of course there were blips over the years, such as vibrantly vulgar characters like Roseanne Conner and Married with Children’s Peg Bundy and later cranky (older) moms like Marie Barone and Estelle Costanza, but for the most part television moms set a pretty high—if not unattainable—bar.
So here’s our Mother’s Day salute to those Margarets and Marions, Harriets and Helens of TV Momdom past– and their perfect period names.
This being the first day of June, it’s the perfect time to take a look at her namesake. Never as high profile as other month names April or May—or, for that matter, cousins Jane, Jean or Joan— June just might be ready for a quiet comeback.
June is a name that has suffered from, more than anything else, having a goody-goody/perfect mom image. This was formed in midcentury America via June (born Ella) Allyson, who played a succession of sunny, saucy ingenues and adoring, long-suffering movie wives in the 1940s and 1950s, along with ideal mom June Cleaver on the sitcom Leave It to Beaver, whose name became symbolic of the archetypal sympathetic suburban, stay-at-home mom of the 1950s, and June Lockhart, who played another quintessential midcentury parent as Timmy’s mother on the long running Lassie TV series. June Haver was another wholesome midcentury star—so wholesome that she actually entered a convent for a while in the middle of her career.