‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Star Betty Lynn Once Opened Up About Her Career in Films

by Keeli Parkey
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When you think of the late actress Betty Lynn, you probably think of her work in “The Andy Griffith Show.” She played the character of Thelma Lou – Deputy Barney Fife’s girlfriend – for several years during the beloved show’s television run.

But before fans fell in love with her as Thelma Lou, Lynn had a very successful career in Hollywood. In fact, she appeared in some very popular movies with some of the biggest stars of the day. It was during a cast reunion on Nashville Now with host Ralph Emery that Betty Lynn talked about a few of her early films.

It was a question from a fan of “The Andy Griffith Show” that prompted the actress to share details about her film career. “I’m Caroline White from Florence, Alabama, and I would like to ask Thelma Lou – I know she starred in a lot of movies. And I’d like to ask her to name off some of them for us.”

“The Andy Griffith Show” actress was somewhat surprised at the request.

“Oh, golly. Well, let’s see. Um, my first movie was ‘Sitting Pretty’ with Clifton Webb. (It was) the first Mr. Belvedere picture. Remember that? That’s a classic now. They show it in museums,” the actress said with a laugh.

Betty Lynn of ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Often Played a Daughter Earlier in Her Career

Next, Betty Lynn recounted several films in which she played the daughter of the lead character of characters.

Let’s see. I did ‘Mother Is a Freshman’ with Loretta Young and Van Johnson. … played Loretta’s daughter,” “The Andy Griffith Show” also said. “I did ‘Father Was a Fullback’ with Fred MacMurray, Maureen O’Hara, Natalie Wood. And I played their daughter. Um, ‘Payment on Demand’ with Bette Davis. Played her daughter in that. Uh, (I also did) ‘June Bride’ with Bette Davis at Warner’s.

These were a few of her films that initially came to Lynn’s mind. However, there were many more. “The Andy Griffith Show” star then recalled a few others.

“Gosh, I get kind of confused because I forget,” she also said. “‘Take Care of My Little Girl,” “Cheaper By the Dozen” – with Clifton (Webb) again. There are a lot of others – ‘Meet Me In Las Vegas.'”

According to IMDb, Betty Lynn made her film debut in 1948. She played Thelma Lou in “The Andy Griffith Show” from 1961 until 1966. During that time, she appeared in 26 episodes. The beloved sitcom ran from 1960 until 1968. Lynn would go on to work with Andy Griffith again years later. During the late 1980s, Lynn appeared in four episodes of “Matlock.” She also appeared in an episode of “Little House on the Prairie.”

Betty Lynn passed away on Oct. 16 in Mount Airy, North Carolina. She was 95 years old at the time of her death. You can watch her talk about her film career with Ralph Emery below. Her comments begin just before the two-minute mark of the video.

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