The onetime contract player in ~ Fox appeared in movies opposite Bette Davis, Maureen O"Hara and also Clifton Webb at an early stage in she career.

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Betty Lynn, the actress who shown Thelma Lou, the wholesome girlfriend the Don Knotts’ Barney Fife, on The Andy Griffith Show, has died. She to be 95.

Lynn passed away Saturday after a brief illness inMount Airy, phibìc Carolina, where she lived in a retirement home. She had moved to the birthplace the Andy Griffith — now home to the Andy Griffith Museum, wherein she on regular basis signed autographs and delighted fans — in 2006. The museum announced her death.

Before she most well known role, the red-haired Lynn appeared in such films as June Bride (1948) and also Cheaper by the Dozen (1950) as a contract player at 20th Century Fox.Lynn was starring together the mam of Tom Tryon’s title character on Texas john Slaughter, component of ABC’s The Wonderful people of Disney, as soon as she auditioned to play the girl friend of the neurotic deputy.

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She join the comedy near the finish of its an initial season in 1961 and went on to show up on 26 episodes, acquiring $500 per show (she never had a contract). As soon as Knotts exited the sitcom to emphasis on his movie job — Barney was written out, having actually left Mayberry to join the police department in Raleigh, phibìc Carolina — Lynn departed, too.

The pair reverted at a Mayberry High school reunion (class that ’48) because that the January 1966 illustration “The Return that Barney Fife,” in which Barney hopes to rekindle his love affair through Thelma Lou but is crushed come be presented to her husband. The would mark her last appearance top top the series.

However, on the 1986 NBC telefilm Return come Mayberry, Thelma Lou (now divorced) and Barney finally do gain married.

Lynn reunited with Griffith one an ext time come play his secretary top top a handful of first-season illustration of NBC’s Matlock in 1986.


Clockwise from peak left: Don Knotts, Betty Lynn, Andy Griffith and Aneta Corsaut indigenous The Andy Griffith Show.CBS/Photofest

Betty Lynn was born ~ above Aug. 29, 1926, in Kansas City, Missouri. She mother, Elizabeth, to be a singer that performed through the Chicago opera. Her mother enrolled she in the Kansas City Conservatory that Music at period 5, and also she sang on the radio and in supper clubs as a teenager.

When she turn 18, Lynn to be hired by the USO and sent to new York and also then to China, Burma and also India to perform in a selection show because that the troops “as the girl following door,” whereby she would certainly “sing in the hospitals and also talk come the fellas and visit through them,” she said.

After eight months v the USO, she showed up in the Broadway-bound comedy Park Avenue, whereby she to be spotted through a Fox talent scout and signed by the studio. She came to Los Angeles with her mom and also made she big-screen bow in the family comedy Sitting Pretty (1948), starring Robert Young, Maureen O’Hara and Clifton Webb.

She then played the youngster sister of Barbara Bates’ personality in June Bride, starring Bette Davis and Robert Montgomery, and the daughters that Loretta Young in Mother Is a Freshman (1949) and also Fred MacMurray and also O’Hara in Father to be a Fullback (1949).

After working again with Webb in Cheaper through the Dozen and with Davis in Payment ~ above Demand (1951), Lynn changed to new York and performed typically on live TV, which she said derailed she movie career.

“The studios hated television,” she noted. “When lock asked me what I had actually been doing, ns said, ‘I’ve been doing live television, it’s certain wonderful, it’s like doing a play!’ They’d all simply freeze. Ns didn’t know that castle were having actually great difficulty because civilization were staying home instead of going come the movies. Ns was make a finish fool that myself.”

She played ray Bolger’s sister-in-law in 1953-54 on the ABC present Where’s Raymond?, had tiny parts in such films as Gun because that a Coward (1956) and Meet Me in ras Vegas (1956) and also guest-starred on series including Wagon Train, Lawman and Tales the Wells Fargo prior to her gig on Texas man Slaughter.

Lynn additionally had recurring roles on Family Affair and My 3 Sons and also showed up on illustration of The Farmer’s Daughter, Mod Squad, Little home on the Prairie, Police Story and also Barnaby Jones.

She said she relocated to mount Airy after her longtime house in Los Angeles was double burglarized.

A private funeral service is to plan in Culver City, the Andy Griffith Museum said, and a memorial organization will be announced later.

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Donations in her memory might be made come the Betty Lynn Scholarship endowment (for students pursuing a job in run or acting) or the Barbara and also Emmett Forrest Endowment money (for the Andy Griffith Museum and Mayberry Days), both in treatment of Surry arts Council, P.O. Crate 141, mountain Airy, NC 27030; or holy Angels roman Catholic Church, 1208 N. Main St., mountain Airy, NC 27030.