Andy Griffith Show star Betty Lynn dies at 95
Betty Lynn, the actress best known for playing Barney Fife's (Don Knotts) girlfriend Thelma Lou on The Andy Griffith Show has died at 95.
The Andy Griffith Museum, which the Surry Arts Council operates in Mount Airy, N.C., announced the news in a Facebook post on Sunday.
"It is with an extremely heavy heart that we announce the passing of Betty Lynn," read a post on the museum's social media page. "Thank you to all for your prayers, cards, and love. Betty will be dearly missed by all of us. We love you, Betty."
Tanya Jones, executive director of the Surry Arts Council, released a statement about her friend Lynn on Sunday.
"It has been my tremendous honor and joy to work with Betty and to be her friend for many years. It was clear from our first encounter that faith, family, friends, and — very, very importantly — her fans are the things that meant the most to her," Jones' statement read. "Betty brought so much joy and love to so many people. Betty's performances onscreen and the memories of her by those who were fortunate to meet her and know her will enable those feelings to continue."
Lynn began acting professionally in TV and film in the late 1940s, including in Sitting Pretty (1948), starring Robert Young, Clifton Webb, and Maureen O'Hara.
In the run-up to her most prominent role on Andy Griffith, Lynn had parts on the big screen in 1950's Cheaper by the Dozen (again, with Webb), and the short-lived Where's Raymond? television series, starring Ray Bolger from 1953-1954.
She also appeared in seven episodes of the sitcom My Three Sons, playing different characters between 1967-1971.
Over the years, Lynn appeared in popular shows including The Mod Squad (1969 and 1972), Barnaby Jones (1978), and a character called Sarah in the legal drama Matlock.
She was born in Kansas City, Mo., on August 29, 1926. She studied dance at an early age and began acting in her teens. At 18, she began performing as part of the USO and was sent to China, Burma, and India.
After the war, she signed a contract with 20th Century Fox and began acting in various films, including ones for other studios like Universal and MGM.
According to a syndicated piece from The Charlotte Observer in 2016, she became friends with Bette Davis during her career, with the screen legend nicknaming her "Boo."
The Andy Griffith Museum said in its Sunday post that Lynn will have a private burial service in Culver City, Calif., with a memorial for the star to be announced at a future date.