Frances Bavier: Better Known as Aunt Bee

Frances Bavier shown on lower right in photo with Ron Howard on her left and Don Knotts and Andy Griffith in the back row had a big part in the success of the Andy Griffith Show which is celebrating its 50th birthday this year.

Frances Bavier was born in New York City on December 14, 1902. She appeared in vaudeville, in old time radio in an episode of The Lone Ranger on March 24, 1955, on Broadway, in the movies and on television.

She made her first Broadway appearance in 1925 in The Poor Nut and her last appearance was in 1951 in Point of No Return with Henry Fonda.

Her first movie appearance was in Girls About Town which was released in 1931. She also appeared in The Day the Earth Stood Still twenty years later in 1951. Aliens invaded earth in the movie and earthlings were told to live peaceably or be destroyed.

One of Bavier’s co-stars in the movie was Billy Gray best known for his portrayal of Bud on Father Knows Best.

Her first television appearance was in Racket Squad in 1952. The first show I remember her from was It’s A Great Life which co-starred James Dunn, William Bishop and Michael O’Shea.

Frances Bavier is shown at the 1:49 mark in this video from Eve Arden Show which left the air in 1958.

Two years later she would appear in her most well known role as Aunt Bee Taylor in 175 episodes of the Andy Griffith Show. Bavier was in the show the entire length of its eight year run on the CBS television network that started on October 3, 1960 till April 1, 1968.

She made her last television appearance in 1970 when she appeared in 24 episodes of Mayberry R.F. D. Her last movie appearance was in 1974 when she played the lady with the cat in Benji.

When she retired in 1972 she chose to live in Siler City, North Carolina because it reminded her of Mayberry. Siler City had been mentioned in some episodes of the show.

Siler City is also known as the place where Colonel Sanders first introduced the taste of Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1939.

She was known to be difficult during the run of the show but did apologize to Andy Griffith for being so hard to work with shortly before her death.

When she first moved to Siler City she worked with charitable causes but when fans wouldn’t let her have her privacy she withdrew and became a recluse.

The following article tells about her living with 14 cats and her estate being valued at $700,000.

http://www.findadeath.com/Deceased/b/Frances%20Bavier/frances_bavier.htm

She died on December 6, 1989 in her home at the age of 86 after battling cancer and heart disease.

The inscription on Frances Bavier's tombstone is very touching thought and she does still live in our hearts.


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Andy Griffith Show: Floyd the Barber

Howard McNear who portrayed Floyd the barber on the Andy Griffith was an actor in old time radio, television and movies but will be most remembered for appearing on Andy Griffith.

Andy Griffith fans remember Howard McNear playing Floyd Lawson the barber on the Andy Griffith Show but he was also appeared in 1,042 old time radio programs according to radiogoldindex.com. He appeared in 80 episodes of the Andy Griffith Show.

He portrayed Doc Adams in the radio version of Gunsmoke and appeared in numerous old time radio shows from 1937-1961 and was still starring in the radio version of Gunsmoke when he made his first appearance on the Andy Griffith Show. He later would appear in six episodes of the television version of Gunsmoke.

His barbershop was a gathering place for the men in town to discuss what was going on in Mayberry at the time.

McNear appeared in films from 1930’s till the 1960’s. He sometimes portrayed villains in the movies which doesn’t seem possible since Don Knotts said that McNear playing Floyd the barber wasn’t much of a stretch since he was like that in real life.

He was born in Los Angeles on January 27, 1905 and died in San Fernando Valley, California at the age of 63 from complications due to the stroke on January 3, 1969

He suffered a stroke during the third season that made him unable to walk so he appeared sitting down in his scenes till he left the show after the 1967 season.

Andy Griffith Tells About Moments Before Don Knotts Died

Andy Griffith on the Today show recounting the last few minutes before Don Knotts died at the age of 81 on February 24, 2006.

He also tells how Don Knotts called him to tell him he needed a deputy for the Andy Griffith Show.


Andy Griffith’s Boyhood Home

This is the boyhood home of Andy Griffith which is located in Mt. Airy, North Carolina.

We were visiting the boyhood home of Andy Griffith in Mt. Airy, North Carolina in the summer of 2006 when I found out it was more than a visit.

My wife and daughter had booked a night through Hampton Inns at Andy Griffith’s home in which he had grown up. They were very sneaky making it appear as though we were just looking at the home but then I noticed our suitcases were in the house.

That is when they told me we would be staying there that night. They knew I was a fan of the Andy Griffith Show and wanted to surprise me.

I played catch in the backyard with my grandson Matthew that Sunday afternoon and that night all of us went to see a drive-in movie there in Mt. Airy.

History of the Home

Andy Griffith was about nine years old when his parents bought the home in 1935 for $600. The family sold the house in 1966 for $6,000 six years after the Andy Griffith Show aired it first episode in 1960.

Gary York bought the house in 1998 at an auction for $86,000 and he would later sell the house to the owners of the Mount Airy Hampton Inn for an undisclosed amount and they started renting it by the night to whoever wanted to stay there to get a feel for what it was like for Andy to grow up in the house.


21st Annual MAYBERRY DAYS
Thursday – Sunday, September 23-26, 2010

The 21st Annual Mayberry Days will feature actress Betty Lynn who portrayed Thelma Lou the girlfriend of sheriff deputy Barney Fife on the Andy Griffith Show. Others featured on the show include Karen Knotts who is the daughter of Don Knotts and will return again to present her one woman show honoring her father.

Another well known actress Elinor Donahue who played pharmacist Ellie Walker who was Andy’s love interest in the first season will be part of the Mayberry Days celebration.

Maggie Peterson who was Charlene Darling of the Darling family will also be there during Mayberry Days in 2010.

A complete list of the rest of the celebrities and those related to actors in the show and a detailed description of the many events of Mayberry Days can be found at:

http://www.mayberrydays.org/