Yo, moms, I’m really happy for you. And I’m gonna let you finish. But June Lockhart was one of the best moms of all time. Of all time! No, seriously, this 1950s and 1960s T.V. mom looked like she walked right out of a “Barbie Becomes a Mom!” package, which, thankfully, doesn’t exist.
June Lockhart is probably a name that your kids have never heard before — she is turning 88 after all — but it has to be one that you’re familiar with. The daughter of actors Gene Lockhart and Kathleen Lockhart, June found her way onto the stage at the tender age of eight. Her screen debut, on the other hand, was five years later: Lockhart acted alongside her parents — playing their daughter, no less — in MGM’s A Christmas Carol. She continued on the Broadway stage and earned several remarkable awards, including the Tony Award and the Theatre World Award. Yet that isn’t why most people know her name. Instead, they see June Lockhart as the quintessential mother of the 1950s and 1960s.
That’s thanks to two different roles — both as a mother — that Lockhart landed on television. The first was for Lassie; the second was for Lost in Space. In both roles, Lockhart exuded a level of warmth and caring that can be achieved only by fictional characters. Well, that’s not necessarily true, but she really did have an innate talent for, well, playing a mother on television. Maybe that’s something you’re either born with or you’re not.
Lockhart is also a mother (and a grandmother) in real life: She has two children, Anne and June — hey, we’ve heard that name before — born in 1953 and 1955, respectively. Lockhart is known throughout America’s older generation as the mother on television, which makes our celebrating her birthday a no-brainer. Maybe she can teach us some of her on- and off-screen ways of keeping kids in line.
Here’s a clip from an episode of Lassie so you can see — unless you already know — exactly what we’re talking about. Cue maternal warmth: