‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Actress Maggie Peterson Dies, Fans of the Classic Series Post Heartfelt Tributes

by Samantha Whidden
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Following the news that “The Andy Griffith Show” actress Maggie Peterson has passed away at the age of 81, fans of the hit classic TV series posted heartfelt tributes on social media.

“So sad to hear that Maggie Peterson (Charlene Darling) has passed away. Our hearts go out to her family, friends, and many fans. RIP,” one fan shared on Twitter. 

Another admirer of the actress also wrote, “Maggie Peterson Mancuso has passed away… Maggie will forever be remembered by Mayberry Fans as Charlene Darling on ‘The Andy Griffith Show.’”

 As previously reported, “The Andy Griffith Show” castmate Maggie Peterson, who was known for her role as Charlene Darling, died on Sunday in Colorado. According to the late actress’ family, Peterson’s health took a turn for the worse after her husband of 40 years, Gus Mancuso, died in December 2021. 

Here Are Other Acting Roles That Maggie Peterson Had Throughout the Years

Along with her role on “The Andy Griffith Show,” Maggie Peterson also appeared in other classic TV shows. This included “Love American Style,” “Green Acres,” “Gomer Pyle USMC,” and “The Odd Couple.”

However, for “The Andy Griffith Show,” Peterson originally read for the role of Ellie Walker, who was the love interest of Griffith’s Sheriff Andy Taylor. The role ended up going to Elinor Donahue. She ended up playing Charlene Darling, who had a crush on Sheriff Taylor. Along with Darling, Peterson also played Doris in the series’ final season. 

Peterson returned for “The Andy Griffith Show’s” TV movie “Return to Mayberry” in 1986. She was also in “Mayberry R.F.D.”

Appearance on “Return to Mayberry,” Peterson ended up having one more role before she stopped acting. She appeared in “The Magical World of Disney” as Jennifer for “You Ruined My Life” in 1987. 

According to IMDb, “You Ruined My Life” follows a math teacher who is caught using a computer to cheat at a Las Vegas casino. In order form to pay off his debt, he must tutor the casino owner’s spoiled daughter whom has been expelled from every school she’s ever attended.”

Peterson starred in “You Ruined My Life” alongside Soleil Moon Frye, Paul Reiser, and Mimi Rogers.”

Ron Howard Shares Touching Tribute for His ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Castmate Maggie Peterson 

One day after the news broke of Maggie Peterson’s passing, “The Andy Griffith Show” star Ron Howard took to his Twitter account to pay tribute to the late actress. 

“RIP – Lovely, kind, and talented Maggie Peterson,” Howard declared. He also shared a clip of the actress portraying Charlene Darling while singing “There is a Time” for Andy Griffith. 

Fans of “The Andy Griffith Show” also responded to Howard’s tweet by reminiscing about Peterson’s acting. One fan wrote, “I always loved this episode. Learned to play ‘There is a Time’ on guitar listening to Maggie sing it.”

“Wow that’s so great. I remember that scene. She was a special person. Warms my heart. Sad. Thank u for sharing,” another fan declared.

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