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Billie Bird

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Billie Bird
Berniece Bird Stowell

(1908-02-28)February 28, 1908
DiedNovember 27, 2002(2002-11-27) (aged 94)
Resting placeForest 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, and later in theater/cabaret before moving on to television and films.[2]


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.

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.[2] She is buried in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.


Year Title Role Notes
1950 Dallas School Teacher Uncredited
1951 The Mating Season Mugsy
1951 The Lemon Drop Kid Racetrack Bettor on Iron Bar Uncredited
1951 Darling, How Could You! Rosie
1951 Rhubarb Mona Lizzie Uncredited
1951 Journey into Light Gertie
1952 Anything Can Happen Bus Passenger Uncredited
1952 Just Across the Street Pearl
1952 My Man and I Waitress Uncredited
1952 Somebody Loves Me Essie
1952 My Wife's Best Friend Katie Uncredited
1953 Half a Hero Ernestine
1954 Woman's World Woman in Bargain Basement Uncredited
Alternative title: A Woman's World
1957 The Joker Is Wild Ticket Seller / Cashier Uncredited
1957 Panama Sal Woman Manager
1958 Unwed Mother Gertie
1959 Born to Be Loved Drunk's wife
1959 Blue Denim Woman Uncredited
1960 Too Soon to Love Mrs. Jefferson Alternative 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 Guest Uncredited
1967 Barefoot in the Park Drunken neighbor Uncredited
1968 The Odd Couple Chambermaid Uncredited
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
Year Title Role Notes
1958 Letter to Loretta Mrs. Shubb 1 episode
1971 Adam-12 Winnie Goodrich 1 episode
1973 Gunsmoke Old Woman 1 episode
1974 Apple's Way Lillian 1 episode
1976–1977 The Waltons Mrs. Cox
2 episodes
1982 House Calls 1 episode
1982–1983 It Takes Two Mama 22 episodes
1983 Goodnight, Beantown 1 episode
1984–1986 Benson Mrs. Rose Cassidy Series Regular: Season 7
1984 Newhart Ella 1 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 Dix 1 episode
1986 Hardcastle and McCormick Mimi LeGrand 1 episode
1986–1987 Brothers Aunt Wilhelmina (Donald Maltby's aunt) 3 episodes
1986–1987 Silver Spoons Mildred 2 episodes
1987 Max Headroom Florence 1 episode
1987 Cheers Lillian Miller 1 episode
1988–1992 Dear John Margie Philbert 90 episodes
1988 Hunter Marie Watson 1 episode
1992 Murphy Brown Ruthie 1 episode
1993 The Wonder Years Woman 2 episodes
1997 George and Leo 1 episode, (final appearance)


  1. ^ "Billie Bird". BFI. Archived from the original on July 17, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Billie Bird, 94; Actress Had Character Roles in Movies, on TV". The LA Times. December 6, 2002. Retrieved February 3, 2009. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
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