‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Betty Lynn Said Fans Never Forgave Her for Thelma Lou Breaking Barney’s Heart

by Jonathan Howard

Although television and film aren’t real-life fans of The Andy Griffith Show have some hard feelings for Betty Lynn who played Thelma Lou. No one gets to break Barney’s heart and get away with it.

Over the years, Barney Fife became a friend to all that watched the show. Don Knotts was able to make the character one of the most beloved to ever grace the screen. So when Thelma Lou came into the picture and swept him away, fans thought it would be happily ever after. They thought wrong. Thelma would go on to break Barney’s heart.

For that, actress Betty Lynn had to hear about it for quite some time. During a reunion panel on Nashville Now, The Andy Griffith Show star reflected on the moment when asked, “How could you do that to Barney?”

“More people ask me that, it’s like I set out to do the most terrible thing in the whole world was to hurt Barney Fife,” Lynn said. “I was hurt, that was my last show! And I really, I was shocked when I got the script. I had no idea. I read this and I thought, what?”

Lynn wasn’t a big fan of the script. However, it had to be done and so she did it.

“The first reading I said, ‘I don’t think she’d ever do this! I don’t think she’d ever do this!’ And Aaron Ruben said, ‘Oh yes, she really is doing this.’ So I said, ‘Well okay.’ I was kinda sad … A lot of people I run into through the years mention that show in particular. They say, ‘How could you have done that?’ I say, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know how I did it.’ I didn’t feel happy about it.”

‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Star Betty Lynn Passed this Weekend

That moment is so wonderful to remember. Especially with the recent passing of Betty Lynn over the weekend. The former The Andy Griffith Show star did a lot in her 95 years. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s she appeared in a number of shows and films.

While she is most well known as Thelma Lou, she was able to make appearances for many years. At the time of her death, the actress was working on her autobiography. The Kansas City native eventually settled in Mount Airy, North Carolina, the hometown of Andy Griffith. There, the actress made appearances in town at the Andy Griffith Museum. She loved meeting fans and signing autographs.

Ron Howard, who played Opie on the show made his feelings known about Lynn’s passing. In a Twitter post, Howard said, “RIP Betty. She had such a positive spirit & energy. She and our mom were good pals on the set.”

What a long and wonderful career and life.