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Betty Lynn Dies – Secret Life of Star who Broke 3rd Engagement to One Man & Remained Single

Gaone Pule
Oct 18, 2021
05:30 P.M.
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“The Andy Griffin Show” alum Betty Lynn has reportedly died at age 95. Lynn passed away this weekend, leaving behind a legacy for the students in the arts industry.

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The Andy Griffith Museum reported on its website that actress Betty Lynn died Saturday, October 16, 2021, following a brief illness.

The TV star was best known for portraying Thelma Lou, Barney Fife's sweetheart, on the American sitcom, “The Andy Griffith Show.”

Actress Betty Lynn on the Fast Break episode of "Schlitz Playhouse of Stars" on February 25, 1955 in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Getty Images

Actress Betty Lynn on the Fast Break episode of "Schlitz Playhouse of Stars" on February 25, 1955 in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Getty Images

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FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS

The website states that a private burial service will be held in Culver City, California. A memorial service is set to be announced at a later stage.

In addition, there is a request for any donations or flowers delivered in her memory to be made to the Betty Lynn Scholarship Endowment (for students pursuing a career in acting or dance) or the Barbara and Emmett Forrest Endowment Fund.

Lynn died in Mount Airy, North Carolina, where she resided in a retirement home. In 2006, she had moved to the birthplace of Andy Griffith, which is also the museum's location, where she regularly signed autographs.

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An undated portrait of co-stars Don Knotts as Barney Fife and Betty Lynn as Thelma Lou on "Return to Mayberry" | Photo: Getty Images

An undated portrait of co-stars Don Knotts as Barney Fife and Betty Lynn as Thelma Lou on "Return to Mayberry" | Photo: Getty Images

TV CAREER

From 1961 to 1966, the star had been in 26 episodes of "The Andy Griffith Show" and was written out when her onscreen-lover, Don Knotts, exited the series for a movie.

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Lynn’s character had gone to work as a police officer in Raleigh, North Carolina. However, she returned for the 1986 TV film, "Return to Mayberry," in which her character wedded Barney Fife’s.

The singer worked with Griffith once again on his 1986 show called “Matlock” on NBC for only four episodes and played his secretary Sarah.

Actors Jackie Cooper (as Bill Harlow) and Betty Lynn (as Lois Harlow) posing for a portrait on February 25, 1955 in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Getty Images

Actors Jackie Cooper (as Bill Harlow) and Betty Lynn (as Lois Harlow) posing for a portrait on February 25, 1955 in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Getty Images

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Before her most famous role as Thelma Lou, Lynn appeared on Broadway and on movies including "June Bride" and “Cheaper by the Dozen."

She starred as the wife of Tom Tryon’s title character on “Texas John Slaughter,” part of ABC’s “The Wonderful World of Disney,” when she auditioned to play the girlfriend of the neurotic deputy.

In addition to her work on television shows, Lynn also appeared on several TV shows, including “Family Affair,” “My Three Sons," and "Mod Squad."

Betty Lynn as Thelma Lou, Andy Griffith as Andy Taylor, and Don Knotts as Barney Fife | Photo: Getty Images

Betty Lynn as Thelma Lou, Andy Griffith as Andy Taylor, and Don Knotts as Barney Fife | Photo: Getty Images

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Lynn previously revealed her work on TV interfered with her movie career, stating the studios hated television and that when she was asked what she had been doing, she told them:

"I've been doing live television. It's wonderful. It's like doing a play!"

She recalled they were taken aback, and she did not understand why they had an issue with this because people stayed at home instead of going to the movies, adding she made a fool of herself.

The cast of "The Andy Griffith Show" at the 2nd Annual TV Land Awards at The Hollywood Palladium on March 7, 2004 in Hollywood, California | Photo: Getty Images

The cast of "The Andy Griffith Show" at the 2nd Annual TV Land Awards at The Hollywood Palladium on March 7, 2004 in Hollywood, California | Photo: Getty Images

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Lynn retired from acting in 2006 and has shared memories from the nostalgic years, including her platonic affection for her boss, Griffith.

She complimented him, saying the show was an immense success because of his spot-on vision by "keeping the integrity of the small town in line with the identity of each other." Lynn also revealed one of her favorite memories was when Griffith said to her:

“You were Barney’s girlfriend, but you should have been mine. That meant a lot to me.”

An up close photograph of Betty Lynn in the 1950s | Photo: Getty Images

An up close photograph of Betty Lynn in the 1950s | Photo: Getty Images

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LOVE LIFE

In real life, Lynn dated several Hollywood men but only got stuck with one, a widower who was an attorney. The former couple was engaged three times and had a relationship that another woman threatened.

Every time he ended things with Lynn, he told her to keep a gold chain he had gifted her. When they got engaged for the third time, he told her she should keep it if something happened this time around. Lynn said:

“I guess I should have realized right then something was going to happen.”

Andy Griffith poses for a portrait for "The Andy Griffith Show" on August 27, 1960 in Los Angeles | Photo: Getty Images

Andy Griffith poses for a portrait for "The Andy Griffith Show" on August 27, 1960 in Los Angeles | Photo: Getty Images

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Lynn learned her fiancé had a domineering woman in his life; a friend called Marilyn, whom he later confessed to having a deep affection for. Four days before the wedding, he declared his love for Marilyn to Lynn, who then called off the wedding and kept the gold necklace.

PERSONAL LIFE

On a more personal level, Lynn was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on August 29, 1926. She started singing at five years old with the Kansas City Conservatory of Music.

Don Knotts as Deputy Barney Fife and Andy Griffith (right) as Sheriff Andy Taylor on "The Andy Griffith Show" in 1965 | Photo: Getty Images

Don Knotts as Deputy Barney Fife and Andy Griffith (right) as Sheriff Andy Taylor on "The Andy Griffith Show" in 1965 | Photo: Getty Images

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After turning 18, she became a singer for the USO, where she performed internationally for the troops. A Marine captain once gave her a 3.2 automatic during World War II, telling her she may need it. She recalled not knowing what to do with the weapon, but she slept with it under her bed.

She also visited hospital victims (who went from one place to the next) and recalled their burns. She remembered meeting the first POWs from camps in Rangoon arriving in Calcutta and shared a doctor once told her that they would be out of their minds in six months.

Andy Griffith as Sheriff Andy Taylor, Jim Nabors as Gomer Pyle, Ron Howard as Opie Taylor and Don Knotts as Deputy Barney Fife in 'The Andy Griffith Show," in 1963 | Photo: Getty Images

Andy Griffith as Sheriff Andy Taylor, Jim Nabors as Gomer Pyle, Ron Howard as Opie Taylor and Don Knotts as Deputy Barney Fife in 'The Andy Griffith Show," in 1963 | Photo: Getty Images

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On the home front, Lynn was critical of her parents' marriage and once shared her mother made a mistake marrying her father, who was a violent man.

When Lynn's mom was pregnant, her dad threatened to shoot her. Another incident occurred when she was an infant whereby her mother huddled in a closet to escape his rage as he cast matches under the door.

Thankfully, she left him when Lynn was only ten months old, and their divorce was finalized when she was five years. Lynn once admitted her dad was crazy and that she got worried because she had his blood running through her veins.

Betty Lynn pays her respects at the Andy Griffith statue on July 3, 2012 in Mt. Airy, North Carolina | Photo: Getty Images

Betty Lynn pays her respects at the Andy Griffith statue on July 3, 2012 in Mt. Airy, North Carolina | Photo: Getty Images

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Years after her parents parted ways, her father penned a letter showing eagerness to reconcile with her mother, but he never succeeded.

Lynn revealed her mom trembled every time she spoke about her dad, and she also inherited that fear to a point whereby she believed he would stalk her one day. She had anxiety about him despite not remembering what he looked like or even having any memory of him.

When he passed away, Lynn asked her mom whether it was him in the obituary of the Los Angeles Times. He had wished for his obituary to appear on the paper, and they later learned that it was really him.

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