Maggie Peterson, the iconic actress who played Charlene Darling on the classic TV series The Andy Griffith Show, passed away earlier this week at the age of 81, as confirmed by her niece and nephew. In a Facebook post, Peterson’s family explained that the actress “passed peacefully in her sleep with her family present” on Sunday.
“Maggie’s health took a turn for the worse after the death of her husband Gus,” they continued. “And we are relieved that we were able to move her home to be close to family for her last days. We will be planning a private service for Maggie in the next few weeks.”
The news of the actress’ death caused a wave of grief among those who worked with her over the years, as well as her fans. Ron Howard, who was a small child when he worked with Maggie Peterson on Andy Griffith, posted a touching message for the late star on Twitter.
“RIP – Lovely, kind, and talented Maggie Peterson,” he wrote. “Here is a favorite clip of mine. Charlene Darling sings ‘There is a Time’ for Andy.”
‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Star Ron Howard Describes Working With Andy Griffith
Ron Howard was among the youngest members of the cast of The Andy Griffith Show. Because of that, he’s had to say goodbye to more than one beloved colleague over the years. Back in 2012, his on-screen father, Andy Griffith, passed away shortly after his 83rd birthday.
Despite describing the set as a bit inappropriate for a young child, Ron Howard always speaks of his time on Andy Griffith with fondness. Not only did he enjoy acting and learning about filmmaking but he formed lasting relationships with many of his co-stars.
In a 2010 interview, Ron Howard described his childhood relationship with Griffith. “He treated me really well,” Howard said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “But he made it a learning experience, not in a stern, taskmaster kind of way. I was really allowed a real insight into creativity and how things work and why some scenes were funny and others weren’t.”
Ron Howard was so inspired by Andy Griffith, in fact, that his time on the show is what led to his eventual career as a director. “That insight has served me really well over the years,” Howard continued. “Andy was really kind to me, always playful and fun. But, by the same token, he wanted to get the work done.”
In his tribute to the late Andy Griffith on Twitter, Ron Howard further described his admiration. “Andy Griffith,” he wrote. “His pursuit of excellence and the joy he took in creating served generations & shaped my life. I’m forever grateful. RIP Andy.”