Billie Bird

Last updated

Billie Bird
Billie Bird.jpg
Berniece Bird Stowell

(1908-02-28)February 28, 1908
DiedNovember 27, 2002(2002-11-27) (aged 94)
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California, U.S.
OccupationActress, comedian
Years active1951–1997
Spouse(s)Edwin Sellen (?–1966; his death)

Billie Bird Sellen (February 28, 1908 – November 27, 2002), better known professionally as Billie Bird, was an American actress and comedian. [1] Best known as Margie in Dear John (1988-1992).


Early life

Born in Pocatello, Idaho, Bird was discovered at the age of eight while living at an orphanage. As a child, she worked in vaudeville, including the act known as the King Sisters, [2] and later in theater/cabaret before moving on to television and films. [3]


She is credited with an appearance in a 1921 film Grass Widowers, but it is not clear if this is accurate. Otherwise, she broke into films in 1950, later making a brief, uncredited appearance in The Odd Couple as a chambermaid. Her only line was "Goodnight", which was said to Felix Ungar, who responded, "Goodbye." Bird often was cast by director John Hughes and appeared in many of his 1980 and 1990s films, such as Sixteen Candles , Home Alone , and Dennis the Menace , the latter two of which both paired her with veteran Hughes actor Bill Erwin playing her husband. She also starred as Mrs. Lois Feldman in Police Academy 4 . Her last film appearance was in 1995's Jury Duty , with Pauly Shore.

In addition to films, Bird made numerous appearances on various television series, including roles on Happy Days , Silver Spoons , Ironside , Eight Is Enough , The Facts of Life , Who's the Boss? , and Knots Landing . She was also a regular cast member on the sitcoms It Takes Two in 1982, Benson from 1984 to 1986, and in 1988 Dear John starring Judd Hirsch. Her last acting role was a brief appearance in 1997 on an episode of the sitcom George and Leo , which starred Bob Newhart and Bird's former co-star, Hirsch.

Bird entertained troops in Vietnam with her own variety act, "Flying High With Billie Bird." For her efforts, she was one of the few women to ever be made a honorary member of the Green Berets. [2]

Personal life

Bird was married to Edwin Sellen until his death in 1966; they had three children.


Bird died on November 27, 2002, in Granada Hills, California, at the age of 94 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. [3] She is buried in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.


1950 Dallas School TeacherUncredited
1951 The Mating Season Mugsy
1951 The Lemon Drop Kid Racetrack Bettor on Iron BarUncredited
1951 Darling, How Could You! Rosie
1951 Rhubarb Mona LizzieUncredited
1951 Journey into Light Gertie
1952 Anything Can Happen Bus PassengerUncredited
1952 Just Across the Street Pearl
1952 My Man and I WaitressUncredited
1952 Somebody Loves Me Essie
1952 My Wife's Best Friend KatieUncredited
1953 Half a Hero Ernestine
1954 Woman's World Woman in Bargain BasementUncredited
Alternative title: A Woman's World
1957 The Joker Is Wild Ticket Seller / CashierUncredited
1957 Panama Sal Woman Manager
1958 Unwed Mother Gertie
1959 Born to Be Loved Drunk's wife
1959 Blue Denim WomanUncredited
1960 Too Soon to Love Mrs. JeffersonAlternative title: Teenage Lovers
1961 The Cat Burglar Mrs. Prattle
1961 Secret of Deep Harbor Mama Miller
1966 The Las Vegas Hillbillys Aunt Clem
1966 This Property Is Condemned Party GuestUncredited
1967 Barefoot in the Park Drunken neighborUncredited
1968 The Odd Couple ChambermaidUncredited
1970 Getting Straight Landlady
1972 Stand Up and Be Counted Uncredited
1982 Young Doctors in Love Mrs. Greschler the Flower Lady
1983 Max Dugan Returns Older Woman
1984 Sixteen Candles Dorothy Baker (Grandmother)
1986 One Crazy Summer Grandma
1986 Ratboy Psychic
1987 Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol Mrs. Lois Feldman
1988 Ernest Saves Christmas Mary Morrissey
1989 That's Adequate Old Lillian Darling
1989 Police Academy 6: City Under Siege Mrs. Stanwyck
1990 The End of Innocence Mrs. Yabledablov
1990 Home Alone Irene (woman in airport)
1993 Dennis the Menace Edith Butterwell
1995 Jury Duty Rose
1958 Letter to Loretta Mrs. Shubb1 episode
1971 Adam-12 Winnie Goodrich1 episode
1973 Gunsmoke Old Woman1 episode
1974 Apple's Way Lillian1 episode
1976–1977 The Waltons Mrs. Cox
2 episodes
1982 House Calls 1 episode
1982–1983 It Takes Two Mama22 episodes
1983 Goodnight, Beantown 1 episode
1984–1986 Benson Mrs. Rose CassidySeries Regular: Season 7
1984 Newhart Ella1 episode
1984 Happy Days Mother Kelp (Marion Cunningham's Mother)1 episode
1984 Three's a Crowd Aunt Mae (Jack Tripper's Aunt)1 episode
1985 Remington Steele Anna Dix1 episode
1986 Hardcastle and McCormick Mimi LeGrand1 episode
1986–1987 Brothers Aunt Wilhelmina (Donald Maltby's aunt)3 episodes
1986–1987 Silver Spoons Mildred2 episodes
1987 Max Headroom Florence1 episode
1987 Cheers Lillian Miller1 episode
1988–1992 Dear John Margie Philbert90 episodes
1988 Hunter Marie Watson1 episode
1992 Murphy Brown Ruthie1 episode
1993 The Wonder Years Woman2 episodes
1997 George and Leo 1 episode, (final appearance)

Related Research Articles

Molly Ringwald American actor, singer, dancer, and author

Molly Kathleen Ringwald is an American actress, singer, dancer, and author. She was cast in her first major role as Molly in the NBC sitcom The Facts of Life (1979–80) after a casting director saw her playing an orphan in a stage production of the musical Annie. She and several other members of the original Facts of Life cast were let go when the show was reworked by the network. She subsequently made her motion-picture debut as Miranda in the independent film Tempest (1982), which earned her a Golden Globe nomination for New Star of the Year.

Jean Simmons British actress (1929–2010)

Jean Merilyn Simmons, OBE was a British actress and singer. One of J. Arthur Rank's "well-spoken young starlets", she appeared predominantly in films, beginning with those made in Great Britain during and after World War II, followed mainly by Hollywood films from 1950 onwards.

Jean Louisa Kelly American actress

Jean Louisa Kelly is an American actress. After making her film debut as Tia Russell in Uncle Buck (1989) alongside John Candy, she appeared in a wide range of other films including The Fantasticks (1995) and Mr. Holland's Opus (1995). From 2000 to 2006, she portrayed Kim Warner on the CBS sitcom Yes, Dear.

Billie Burke American stage and film actress

Mary William Ethelbert Appleton Burke, known professionally as Billie Burke, was an American actress who was famous on Broadway and radio, and in silent and sound films. She is best known to modern audiences as Glinda the Good Witch of the North in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie musical The Wizard of Oz (1939).

Shelley Long American actress and comedian

Shelley Lee Long is an American actress and comedian. Long is best known for playing Diane Chambers on the hit sitcom Cheers, for which she received five Emmy nominations, winning in 1983 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. She won two Golden Globe Awards for the role. Long reprised her role as Diane Chambers in three episodes of the spin-off Frasier, for which she received an additional guest star Emmy nomination. In 2009, she began playing a recurring role as DeDe Pritchett on the ABC comedy series Modern Family.

Jane Leeves English actress

Jane Elizabeth Leeves is an English actress. She played Daphne Moon on the television sitcom Frasier from 1993 until 2004, for which she was nominated for an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award. She is also known for her role as Joy Scroggs on TV Land's sitcom Hot in Cleveland.

Kristy Swanson American actress

Kristen Noel Swanson is an American actress. She is best recognized for having played Buffy Summers in the 1992 film Buffy the Vampire Slayer and appeared in the 1996 film The Phantom.

Wendie Malick American actress

Wendie Malick is an American actress and former fashion model, known for her roles in various television comedies. She starred as Judith Tupper Stone in the HBO sitcom Dream On, and as Nina Van Horn in the NBC sitcom Just Shoot Me!, for which she was nominated for two Primetime Emmys and a Golden Globe Award.

Lee Meriwether American actress and former model

Lee Ann Meriwether is an American actress, former model, and the winner of the Miss America 1955 pageant. She is known for her role as Betty Jones, Buddy Ebsen's secretary and daughter-in-law in the 1970s crime drama Barnaby Jones. The role earned her two Golden Globe Award nominations in 1975 and 1976, and an Emmy Award nomination in 1977. She is also known for her portrayal of Catwoman, replacing Julie Newmar in the film version of Batman (1966), and for a co-starring role on the science fiction series The Time Tunnel. In 1969, she appeared in the Star Trek origional series episode, "That Which Survives", as Losira. Meriwether had a recurring role as Ruth Martin on the daytime soap opera All My Children until the end of the series in September 2011.

Morgan Brittany is an American actress. She is known for her role as Katherine Wentworth, the scheming younger half-sister of Pamela Ewing and Cliff Barnes, on the prime-time soap opera Dallas.

Belinda L. Lange, known professionally as Belinda Lang, is an English actress. She is known for playing Liza in the ITV sitcom Second Thoughts (1991–94), and Bill Porter in the BBC sitcom 2point4 Children (1991–99). Her theatre credits include London productions of the Noël Coward plays, Present Laughter (1981), Blithe Spirit (1997), and Hay Fever (2006).

Eileen Brennan American actress

Verla Eileen Regina Brennan was an American actress. She made her film debut in the satire Divorce American Style (1967), followed by a supporting role in Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show (1971), which earned her a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Billie Dove American actress

Lillian Bohny, known professionally as Billie Dove, was an American actress.

Verna Felton

Verna Felton was an American actress who was best known for providing many voices in numerous Disney animated films.

Dorothy Diane "Dedee" Pfeiffer is an American film and television actress. She is best known for playing Cybill's daughter, Rachel, on the sitcom Cybill (1995-1997), Sheri on the sitcom For Your Love (1998-2002), and her film appearance as Val in The Allnighter (1987). She is also known for guest appearances on several other 90's sitcoms such as Wings,Ellen, Seinfeld, and Friends. Most recently, she is known for playing Denise on ABC'S Big Sky.

Kathleen Freeman American actress

Kathleen Freeman was an American film, television, voice and stage actress. In a career that spanned more than 50 years, she portrayed acerbic maids, secretaries, teachers, busybodies, nurses, and battle-axe neighbors and relatives, almost invariably to comic effect. In film she is perhaps best remembered for appearing in 11 Jerry Lewis comedies in the 1950s and 60s, The Blues Brothers (1980) and its sequel, and Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult (1994).

Anne-Marie Johnson American actress

Anne-Marie Johnson is an American actress and impressionist. She is known for her roles as Nadine Hudson Thomas in the sitcom What's Happening Now!! (1985-1988), and Althea Tibbs in the NBC police procedural In the Heat of the Night (1988-1993). She also was a cast member in the Fox sketch comedy In Living Color (1993–94) during its final season, and had recurring or regular roles in Melrose Place, JAG, Girlfriends and The InBetween.

Liza Snyder is an American actress. She is known for her television roles, which include Officer Molly Whelan in the ABC series Sirens, Linda in the NBC sitcom Jesse, Christine Hughes in the CBS sitcom Yes, Dear from 2000 to 2006, and Andi Burns in the CBS sitcom Man with a Plan from 2016 to 2020.

Ellen Jane Carr is an English stage, film and voice actress. She is well known for the voice role of "Pud'n" on the animated The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy. She also played a character called "Pudding" in the Jilly Cooper-penned BBC sitcom It's Awfully Bad For Your Eyes, Darling.

<i>Dear John</i> (American TV series)

Dear John is an American sitcom television series that aired on NBC from October 6, 1988 to July 22, 1992. It was originally based on the British sitcom of the same name. It was retitled Dear John USA when it was shown in the United Kingdom. During its four-season run, it was bounced to and from various time periods on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. It moved from its post-Cheers slot on Thursdays to a post-Night Court slot on Wednesdays in 1990.


  1. "Billie Bird". BFI. Archived from the original on July 17, 2012.
  2. 1 2 "Mailbag". Star TV & Radio.
  3. 1 2 "Billie Bird, 94; Actress Had Character Roles in Movies, on TV". The LA Times. December 6, 2002. Retrieved February 3, 2009.