Betty Lynn Andy Griffith Show
CBS

‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Star Betty Lynn Dies at 95

Betty Lynn, who is best known for playing Thelma Lou on The Andy Griffith Show, passed away over the weekend.
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Betty Lynn has passed away at the age of 95.

The actress, who is best known for starring as Thelma Lou, the girlfriend of Barney Fife, on The Andy Griffith Show, died on Saturday, October 16 in Culver City, California.

According to the Andy Griffith Museum, which broke the news of Lynn’s death, the star passed away following a “brief illness.”

Started on ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ in 1961

Though she worked consistently in Hollywood up until the late ‘80s/early ‘90s, she was always best known for appearing in 26 episodes of The Andy Griffith Show.

Betty Lynn on The Andy Griffith Show
CBS

In fact, she began her run on the show in 1961 and stuck around until 1966. However, prior to landing the role as Thelma Lou, she actually began her career on Broadway, having appeared in shows such as Oklahoma and Park Avenue.

She then transitioned to films and television in the late ‘40s. Her film credits include Sitting Pretty (1948), Cheaper by the Dozen (1950), and Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956), while she appeared in TV shows such as Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, Sugarfoot, and Markham.

Reprised Her Role as Thelma Lou

While her last appearance on The Andy Griffith Show was in 1966, she did end up reprising her role as Thelma Lou in the 1986 television reunion movie. In fact, Thelma and Barney actually end up getting married in the film.

Betty Lynn Don Knotts Andy Griffith Show (1)
CBS

And, though her IMDB credits stop around 1990, Lynn officially retired from acting in 2006. She then moved to Mount Airy, North Carolina, the birthplace of Andy Griffith, which is where she spent the last years of her life. 

Ron Howard Pays Tribute to Co-Star

Ron Howard, who played Opie Taylor in the show, shared a tribute to Lynn on Twitter on Monday, October 18.

RIP Betty Lynn. She played Thelma Lou on #TAGS  & brightened every scene she was in & every shooting day she was on set,” he wrote.

“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.”

In fact, now that Lynn has passed, Howard is one of the very few Andy Griffith Show cast members still alive. Elinor Donahue, who played pharmacist Ellie Walker in the first season, is still alive at the age of 86.

However, the rest of the starring cast members have since passed. Andy Griffith passed away in July 2012, Don Knotts passed away in February 2006, and Frances Bavier (who played Aunt Bee) passed away in December 1989.

Other stars from the show who’ve died include Jim Nabors (Gomer Pyle), George Lindsey (Goober Pyle), Aneta Corsaut (Helen Crump), Howard McNear (Floyd Lawson), Jack Dodson (Howard Sprague), and Hal Smith (Otis Campbell).