Fans of The Andy Griffith Show may remember Peggy McMillan, who had a short fling with the show’s star Andy Griffith. Watchers were mournful when Mayberry’s loveable Sherrif married Helen Crump instead of the beautiful town nurse. After all, the two had so much chemistry. And according to a tell-all book, there was a reason for all the on-set sparks. Griffith and Peggy’s actress Joanna Moore had a real romance brewing behind the scenes.
In 2015, journalist Daniel de Visé wrote in Andy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show, that Andy Griffith had a couple of affairs. And one of those affairs was with Moore. And Daniel de Vise’ heard the intel from none other than Don Knotts. Knotts played Griffiths goofy sidekick, Barney Fife.
The most famous Mayberry relationship was between Griffeth and Aneta Corsaut, who stared as his onscreen wife. But six decades later, news of another secret affair got out.
“[Aneta Corsaut] wasn’t Andy’s first affair with a Griffith costar. He had told Don [Knotts] of at least one other: Joanna Moore, the Georgia beauty and future mother of Tatum O’Neal, cast in four episodes at the start of season three as a potential girlfriend for the television sheriff,” wrote de Vise’.
And Luckily, the fling didn’t leave Moore with any bad feelings for The Andy Griffith Show. In a 1962 interview, the actress told the Akron Beacon Journal that working for the series felt just as wholesome as the show itself.
“I liked the Griffith show better than anything else I’ve ever done,” Moore said. “Everyone on the program is so nice. The show is well organized and there is no rush. The people discuss their problems openly and the difficulties just seem to disappear. I was shocked by the honesty on that show, but it was a refreshing kind of honesty.”
Why ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Stars Don Knotts and Andy Both Saw Psychiatrists
While portraying a character on The Andy Griffith Show was a wholesome experience for some, it was hard for others. And for Andy Griffith and Don Knotts, it proved to be frustrating at times. Because of that, the stars saw psychiatrists behind the scenes.
“I put my fist through a wall one day on the set and I started to back into the corner,” Griffith told Chicago Daily News in 1977.
Andy said he had a hard time separating his character from himself. And that was maddening. After Andy felt the explosive anger that led him to punch a wall, he asked the show’s producer if he was “going crazy.” The producer, who was also Andy’s close friend, assured him that he was perfectly sane. But he thought a psychiatrist could help.
His co-star, Don Knotts, saw a psychiatrist to help deal with an addiction to sleeping pills. In Andy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show, Knotts’s brother-in-law explained the situation. Knotts began taking the drugs to cope with his career stress and unresolved childhood trauma. And luckily the doctor was able to make a difference.
“I’m convinced my dad wouldn’t have made it,” Don Knotts’s son, Tom, told author Daniel de Visé. “He would have committed suicide or something.”