‘Gunsmoke’ and ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Actor Betsy Hale Was a Sensation Despite Short Acting Career

by Shelby Scott

After finding fame on TV at a young age, many child stars become forgotten in their later career. However, Gunsmoke and The Andy Griffith Show actor Betsy Hale remained a sensation nonetheless, despite that her acting career ended shortly after it began.

According to MeTV, 1964 marked the most noteworthy time of the child star’s short career. As per the outlet, Hale launched a career in acting at just six years old. She soon managed to snag a small part in an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents at seven.

Afterward, her career skyrocketed, appearing on TV more than 50 times before she was 11 years old. Given her legendary status in Hollywood, the Gunsmoke episode, “The Kite” remains one of the long-running series most memorable. In it, Betsy Hale plays Letty. In the episode, Letty becomes discovered by Festus after the young girl witnesses her mother murdered by a stranger.

In 1964, The Andy Griffith Show actress spoke about what exactly drew her interest in acting.

“When I was little,” Hale told the Hartford Courant, “I used dolls to act out plays, taking all parts myself.”

She further revealed, “My parents are both actors and when they asked me if I wanted to get into the business, I told them that I did.”

Aside from Gunsmoke and The Andy Griffith Show, Betsy Hale made appearances on several other favorites. A handful includes Have Gun – Will Travel, My Three Sons, and Perry Mason.

Betsy Hale Didn’t Want to Become a ‘Big Star’ Unless It Just Happened

Many child stars strive for fame from the get-go. However, Betsy Hale was different. Despite her popularity at a very young age, the classic TV star never intended to purposefully chase stardom. As per the outlet, the young actress’s career ended in 1965, with her final onscreen appearance taking place in an episode of Gomer Pyle: USMC. Her feature in the series is significant as she rode in the same truck the Darlings first rode into Mayberry.

In speaking about her career, Hale later said, “I don’t want to become a big star unless it just happens.”

Unfortunately, it never “happened” for the child star and the outlet states little is known about Betsy Hale following her career in acting. However, given her other childhood dreams, it’s likely she went on to pursue some other equally significant career.

Before fading from the spotlight, Hale once said, “I’m interested in doing some writing, and I also want to train animals. Train them and love them, that is.”

Looking back on the child star’s almost immediate success, the way Betsy Hale’s career ended is a little disappointing. Especially if you consider that by 1964, film critics described the young actress as a serious child star who was better than most while simultaneously predicting “big things” for her in her future.