‘Andy Griffith Show’ actress Betty Lynn dies at 95

Betty Lynn (Credit: Andy Griffith Show Museum)

MOUNTY AIRY, N.C. — American actress Betty Lynn, best known for her role as Thelma Lou on The Andy Griffith Show, died Saturday after a brief illness, according to reports. 

The Andy Griffith Museum posted that Lynn died peacefully at age 95.

“It is with an extremely heavy heart that we announce the passing of Betty Lynn,” museum leaders posted. “Betty will be dearly missed by all of us. We love you Betty.”

Lynn played Barney Fife’s sweetheart on The Andy Griffith Show. Lynn is also remembered for her roles in other films dating back to the 1940s, including “Sitting Pretty” and “June Bride.”

In 1944, Lynn started performing as a part of USO Camp Shows. She took her talents overseas, performing in the USO for servicemembers during World War II. 

Lynn was “thought to be the only American woman to have traveled the dangerous Burma Road during the war,” according to the museum’s statement.

According to the obituary shared on the museum’s Facebook page, Lynn is survived by several cousins. She was born in Kansas City, Mo., on August 29, 1926.

Lynn was raised by her mother, Elizabeth Lynn, a respected mezzosoprano and organist, and by her maternal grandparents Johanna and George Andrew Lynn, a longtime engineer for the Missouri Pacific Railroad, according to the museum’s post.

She spent her later years in Mount Airy, North Carolina, and was big part of the annual “Mayberry Days” celebration. 

The Mayberry N.C. Facebook page was one of hundreds to share the Andy Griffith Museum’s post on Lynn, writing, “We will miss you sweet Betty.”

Director and actor Ron Howard, who played Sheriff Andy Taylor’s son, Opie, paid tribute to Lynn in a tweet Sunday saying she “brightened every scene she was in & every shooting day she was on set.”

A private burial service is planned in Culver City, CA, and a memorial service will be announced at a later date. 

“In lieu of flowers, donations in Betty’s memory may be made to the Betty Lynn Scholarship Endowment (for students pursuing a career in dance or acting) or the Barbara and Emmett Forrest Endowment Fund (for the Andy Griffith Museum and Mayberry Days), 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,” the Andy Griffith Museum posted. 

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