Betty Lynn death: Actor who starred as Thelma Lou on The Andy Griffith Show dies aged 95

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Betty Lynn  (Facebook/Andy Griffith Museum )
Betty Lynn (Facebook/Andy Griffith Museum )

Betty Lynn, who was best known for her portrayal of Thelma Lou on The Andy Griffith show, has died, aged 95.

In a Facebook post, the Andy Griffith museum said that Lynn passed away on Saturday (16 October) following a brief illness, adding that the actor “will be dearly missed” by everyone at the museum.

The actor was living at a retirement home in Mount Airy at the time of her death. The North Carolina city is home to the Andy Griffith museum and inspired the fictional town of Mayberry, where the hit Sixties show was set.

Lynn was in the show opposite Don Knotts who played Thelma Lou’s boyfriend Barney Fife. She appeared in a total of 26 episodes before being written out of the show when Knotts decided to quit so he could focus on a film career instead.

She returned to the 1986 TV film, in which her character finally wed Barney.

Tributes to the actor began pouring in after news of her death broke.

Director and Lynn’s Andy Griffith Show co-star Ron Howard said he met her a few years ago “where she still lit up every room with her positivity”.

“She truly was 95 years young,” he wrote.

Radio host and bestselling author Matt Jones remembered her as a “much better girlfriend than Helen Crump”, who was a fictional character on the show, and “a great singer who made the best cashew fudge in all of Mayberry”.

Lynn was born in Missouri on 29 August, 1926. She was just five when she began singing, and auditioned to participate in the United Services Organisation (USO) entertainment when she was 17. She joined her first USO tour the following year.

In addition to working with Griffith on the eponymous show, Lynn reunited with the actor for NBC’s Matlock in 1986. She was also a part of other shows, including Family Man, and starred in the films June Bride and Meet Me In Las Vegas.

Lynn also appeared in Broadway productions of Oklahoma! and Park Avenue.

She retired to Mount Airy in 2006, but continued to make monthly appearances at the Andy Griffith Museum, where she’d meet fans of the show.

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