Betty Lynn, ‘Andy Griffith Show’ Veteran, Dies @ 95

Betty Lynn, who played Barney Fife's wholesome — and patient! — girlfriend Thelma Lou on The Andy Griffith Show, died on Saturday at 95.

A Facebook post from the Andy Griffith Museum confirmed her death, and reported it followed a brief illness.

Lynn in the '40s (Image via head shot)

Born August 29, 1926, in Kansas City, Missouri, Lynn was performing in supper clubs and on the radio by her early teens.

She bravely toured with the USO during WWII to entertain troops in combat zones, leading her to become the only woman known to have traversed the Burma Road during this treacherous period.

After WWII, Lynn was signed to 20th Century Fox after attracting interest from multiple studios. She appearing in the syrupy movies Sitting Pretty (1948) and Apartment for Peggy (1948), then landed the titular role in the Bette Davis movie June Bride (1948).

She continued acting in such films as Cheaper by the Dozen (1950), but soon gravitated to television at the dawn of the medium. She starred on The Egg and I (1952), a Maw and Paw Kettle spin-off thought to be TV's first serialized comedy (as opposed to regular sitcom), and on Where's Raymond? (1953-1954) with Ray Bolger.

Toward the end of Texas John Slaughter, one of many westerns on which she appeared (it was part of The Magical World of Disney) in 1961, she was offered the part of Thelma Lou opposite Don Knotts playing Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show.

“I had seen the Griffith show twice before I went to read for the part,” Betty said of her signature role. “I remember that I laughed out loud — it was so funny. I didn’t do that very often. I thought, 'Gee, this is really unusual.'”

Lynn appeared on 26 episodes of the series (1961-1966), more than any other surviving cast member aside from series regular Ron Howard, who is 67.

For the TV movie Return to Mayberry (1986), a highly rated reunion of oneo of TV's most beloved series, Barney and Thelma Lou finally got hitched.

After The Andy Griffith Show, Lynn played secretaries on Family Affair (1966-1968), My Three Sons (1967-1971) and Matlock (1986). For the latter, she was reuniting with old boss Andy Griffith.

Along with a few other TV appearances, Lynn gave her last performance on a 1990 episode of the series Shades of L.A.

She embraced the fans of The Andy Griffith Show, appearing so regularly at the Andy Griffith Museum in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, that she moved to the city permanently in 2007.

Lynn on her 95th birthday in August (Image via Betty Lynn)

Lynn had reportedly finished work on her autobiography, which is still expected to be published soon.

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