Peter Billingsley has earned acclaim in the entertainment industry as a director, writer, actor, editor, and a prolific producer. As a child in the early 1970s, he appeared in many TV commercials, including some for Hershey’s chocolate syrup as “Messy Marvin.”
What really put Billingsley on the map, however, was his endearing performance as Ralphie Parker in the enchanting holiday 1983 film A Christmas Story, which is set in the 1940s. Ralphie longs for a Red Ryder BB gun, but along the way, he learns lessons that have lasting resonance for him. To many fans, watching A Christmas Story each year has become a cherished Yuletide tradition.
Those who love that film and are admirers of Billingsley want to know about his personal life, including details about the special woman in his life. He also has some pretty famous relatives who made their mark with the Hollywood elite. Here’s what we know.
Who Is Buffy Bains?
In 2015, Billingsley’s rep told Us Weekly that he was engaged to fiancée Buffy Bains. She graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. As of 2010, Bains was a Chicago resident and member of the Chicago Young Republicans.
Bains, who is from Colorado, talked at that time about the benefits of residing in Chicago in a video that was on the Chicago Young Republicans’ web site. She praised its friendliness and “big city feel.” She added that she loves sailing.
In 2015, Bains began teaching ballet at The Bar Method in Los Angeles, Marina Del Rey. A Facebook post from November 1, 2015 stated that Bains started dropping in when she came to California to visit Billingsley.
She taught ballet in Chicago for a year and a half and wanted to teach at The Bar Method. She apparently made the grade and was brought on board as an instructor there. Another factor that weighed in her favor was the fact that Bains’ mom is a ballerina.
Did Billingsley And Bains Wed Secretly?
The two announced their engagement seven years ago, so people wonder if they got hitched quietly, away from the glare of the press and the presence of the public. There have been some hints that have led to speculation about their possible nuptials.
Even though there has been no official announcement of their wedding, Bains has taken Billingsley’s last name on her Facebook page and in her profile photo she seems to be wearing a wedding dress. In addition, there is a 2016 Facebook post from The Bar Method that refers to her as Buffy Bains Billingsley.
While Billingsley is typically tight-lipped about his personal life, he revealed in a November 2022 People interview that he had been married for almost seven years. The couple has also built a family together; they share two children, one daughter and one son. So it sounds like it’s official! Billingsley and Bains are, in fact, married.
Bains Married Into A Famous Family
Those who love vintage sitcoms surely remember Leave It to Beaver, which aired between 1957 and 1963. The actress who played Beaver’s mom, June Cleaver, was Barbara Billingsley. Her first husband, Glenn Billingsley, was Peter’s father’s cousin.
Billingsley has another renowned person with show biz ties in his lineage. The Stork Club was one of the trendiest nightspots in Manhattan—sort of like the Studio 54 of its era—during its years of operation from 1929 to 1965. It was frequented by glitterati like Grace Kelly, various members of the Roosevelt and Kennedy dynasties, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, plus assorted movie stars, political titans, and socialites.
Presiding over the Stork Club during its glamorous heyday was Sherman Billingsley, the owner. Peter’s paternal great-grandfather was Sherman’s brother, Fred.
Billingsley Has Stayed Busy As A Married Man
Over the years, Billingsley has brought his experience and creativity to loads of interesting projects. He produced a Broadway production of A Christmas Story: The Musical in 2013. It was the thirtieth anniversary of the 1980s film version that he starred in.
It looks like Billingsley has prioritized producing over acting since his engagement. He has produced documentaries with timely, hard-hitting messages such as Prescription Thugs (2015), which dives into the pharmaceutical industry, abuse of prescription drugs, and addiction.
Another documentary Billingsley produced is Give Us This Day (2018), which depicted East St. Louis, Illinois, a place that at the time had the unfortunate distinction of having America’s highest homicide rate. The impact of that grim reality on its citizens was examined in the film.
Billingsley also produced lighter fare like Undeniable with Joe Buck (2015–2017). In that TV series, veteran sports broadcaster Buck gave viewers an inside look at the lives of phenomenal pro athletes such as New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, ice hockey great Wayne Gretzky, and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman.
F Is for Family (2015–2021) was a Billingsley-produced TV series that aired on Netflix. An animated comedy from the mind of Bill Burr, it followed the antics of a fictitious Pennsylvania family in the early 1970s based on the comedian’s experiences. It starred Laura Dern, Sam Rockwell, and Justin Long as well.
He’s Continued Working In Front Of The Camera
Billingsley hasn’t put acting completely aside. He appeared in Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019) as former Tony Stark employee William Ginter Riva, reprising his role from the original Iron Man. Fans of A Christmas Story will be thrilled to know that Billingsley has reprised his role as Ralphie Parker in A Christmas Story Christmas, which will be released on HBO Max in November 2022.
There is one twist associated with that film that is guaranteed to tug at the heartstrings. Actor Darren McGavin, who played Ralphie’s father, died in 2006. Billingsley told People via Today that A Christmas Story Christmas “very much is, in many ways, a love letter to the Old Man character and to Darren himself.”
Peter Billingsley is one key reason that A Christmas Story has become a treasured part of the holidays as much as gems like It’s a Wonderful Life and the TV classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Those who have followed Billingsley’s career avidly will be glad to know that he found a special lady to share his life with.