Betty Lynn Dies: Thelma Lou, Barney Fife’s Girlfriend On ‘The Andy Griffith Show, Was 95

Betty Lynn, a veteran actress who was best known as the girlfriend of bumbling sheriff’s deputy Barney Fife on television classic The Andy Griffith Show, has died at age 95. She passed on Saturday in Culver City, Calif. of an undisclosed but brief illness, according to the Andy Griffith Museum.

Lynn appeared in 26 episodes of The Andy Griffith Show over a span of five years from 1961 to 1966.

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Before that Lynn enjoyed a Broadway career, and was discovered by Daryl F. Zanuck in one of several plays. During the 1940s and 1950s, she appeared in many films, including Sitting Pretty (1948), June Bride (1948) the original Cheaper by the Dozen (1950) and Meet Me In Las Vegas (1956).

She then segued to television, appearing on the Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, The Gale Storm Show, Sugarfoot and Markham.

In 1986, she reprised the role of Thelma Lou in the reunion television movie Return to Mayberry, in which Barney and Thelma Lou finally married. Twenty years later, in 2006, she retired and moved to Mount Airy, North Carolina, which many believe was the model for the Mayberry of Andy Griffith.

 In lieu of flowers, donations to the Betty Lynn Scholarship Endowment are requested to be made in her honor. The scholarship helps students pursuing careers in dance or acting.

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