‘Andy Griffith Show’ Actress Betty Lynn Has Died At 95
Andy Griffith Show Museum/Instagram
Betty Lynn, the beloved actress best known for her role as Barney Fife’s girlfriend Thelma Lou on “The Andy Griffith Show,” has died at the age of 95.
According to her obituary shared by the Andy Griffith Show Museum, Betty Lynn passed away Saturday, October 16, after a brief illness.
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A Missouri native, Lynn got her start performing at the age of 14 at supper clubs and was doing commercial spots for radio. It was during this time that a USO talent scout discovered Betty and recruited her to perform for the troops once she turned 18. After the war ended, Lynn returned to New York City where she quickly caught the eye of Hollywood talent scouts, eventually signing a multi-year contract with Twentieth Century-Fox.
During her tenure with Twentieth Century-Fox, Betty Lynn appeared alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Maureen O’Hara, Bette Davis, and William Holden.
Betty Lynn moved from the big screen to the small screen where she became a fixture in television westerns during the 1950s and 1960s. The ’60s brought Betty the role that she would be best known for….Thelma Lou.
“I had seen the Griffith show twice before I went to read for the part,” Betty recalled. “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 retired from acting in 2006 and moved to Mount Airy, North Carolina. She once commented, “The longer I live here, the more I see things [Griffith] took from his hometown.”
Ron Howard, who played Opie on the “Andy Griffith Show,” remembered his longtime co-star on social media, saying: “RIP Betty Lynn. She played Thelma Lou on #TAGS & brightened every scene she was in & every shooting day she was on set. I saw her last a few years ago where she still lit up the room with her positivity. It was great to have known and worked with her. She truly was 95yrs young.”
RIP Betty Lynn. She played Thelma Lou on #TAGS & brightened every scene she was in & every shooting day she was on set. I saw her last a few years ago where she still lit up the room with her positivity. It was great to have known and worked with her. She truly was 95yrs young. https://t.co/2KMMQRz4PP
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) October 17, 2021
In lieu of flowers, donations in Betty’s memory may be made to the Betty Lynn Scholarship Endowment or the Barbara and Emmett Forrest Endowment Fund, both in care of Surry Arts Council, P.O. Box 141, Mount Airy, NC 27030; or Holy Angels Roman Catholic Church, 1208 N Main Street, Mount Airy NC 27030, or a charity of the donor’s choice.