Silver Screen Artists

Doris Packer...The Lovely Mrs. Rayburn on Leave it to Beaver!

Go to page 1

Doris Packer was best known for her recurring role as Mrs. Cornelia Rayburn, Theodore "the Beaver" Cleaver's elementary school principal in the television series, Leave It to Beaver.

 

DORIS-header

 

Packer portrayed the mother of millionaire playboy Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. (Steve Franken), on CBS's The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, with Dwayne Hickman in the title role. Prior to playing Chatsworth's mother, she had been cast as Clarice Armitage, mother of Milton Armitage (Warren Beatty), whose character on the series Chatsworth replaced. In most of her screen roles, she was known for her aristocratic and intellectual bearing and precise use of the English language.

 

Packer was born Doris Edwards in Menominee in Menominee County in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Her family moved to southern California when she was quite young. She became interested in acting while in high school. Doris enjoyed play acting in high school and eventually moved to New York to attend The Drama School under the guidance of "Evelyn Thomas". She eventually graced such Broadway productions as "Back Fire", "Strip Girl", "The Women" and "Elizabeth the Queen", while also meeting and marrying renown stage director Rowland G. Edwards.

 

DORIS-2pics

 

A popular radio performer in New York, she was a regular player in such shows as "Henry Aldrich" and "Mr. & Mrs. North". Following her husband's death in 1953, she relocated to the West Coast to try out film and TV. Though Doris never obtained a series of her own, she certainly gave much of her inimitable self to other sitcoms. During World War II, Packer enlisted in the U.S. Army Women's Army Corps (WACs), joining in 1943 as a Private and eventually reaching the rank of Technical Sergeant. Her discharge records were likely lost in the 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center.

 

Packer played wealthy society matrons on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show and I Love Lucy and as Mrs. Wiley on The Andy Griffith Show. She had a recurring role as Clara Mason in the 1960-1961 NBC trivial sitcom Happy, set at a Palm Springs motel and featuring a talking baby. Her co-stars included Ronnie Burns, Yvonne Lime Fedderson, and Lloyd Corrigan. Packer played Mrs. McGillicuddy in the 1961 episode "Gladys' Political Campaign" on the CBS sitcom, Pete and Gladys, with Harry Morgan and Cara Williams.

 

DORIS-gladys

 

She played the wealthy Mrs Huntingdon in a 1963 episode "I'm No Henry Walden!" on CBS's The Dick Van Dyke Show. She appeared on three episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies as wealthy matron Mrs. Fenwick and she made a guest appearance on Perry Mason in 1962 as Mrs. Campion in "The Case of the Polka Dot Pony."
She also appeared on NBC's anthology series, The Barbara Stanwyck Show. In 1964–1965, Packer appeared on the short-lived CBS sitcom, Many Happy Returns, starring John McGiver and set in the complaint division of a fictitious Los Angeles department store with the unlikely name of Crockmyer's.

 

DORIS-shampoo

 

In 1973, she guest-starred in an episode of the situation comedy A Touch of Grace. Her last film was a small part in Shampoo (1975) starring Warren Beatty. Unforgettable no matter how small the part...

 

Packer was married to stage director Rowland G. Edwards for twenty-five years — from 1928 until his death in 1953 and they had no children...She died at the age of seventy-four in 1979 in Glendale, California, from natural causes.

 

DORIS-grave

 

You get a great example of her acting in this clip from the famous episode "Sweatshirt Monsters" from Leave it to Beaver... (Which is such a classic episode!)...You first see Doris at 2:40...ENJOY!

 

 

Go to page 1