‘The Andy Griffith Show’: How Actress Charity Grace Went From Teaching to Acting on the Series

by Samantha Whidden
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She made an appearance on “The Andy Griffith Show,” but before she was on the classic hit series, Charity Grace was inspiring young minds in classrooms as a teacher.

According to MeTV, Charity Grace, who played Jennifer Morrison on “The Andy Griffith Show,” was an English teacher. She taught at high schools throughout her adult life. However, her real passion was for acting. But she decided to go into education when a theater director told her when she was young that she might not have what it took to be an actress. 

Upon teaching for numerous years, “The Andy Griffith Show” castmate decided to take a leave of absence. She wanted to go to New York City for acting. She made the cast in a Broadway play immediately upon arrival in the Big Apple. And she never went back to teaching. She was 60-years-old at the time. 

During a 1957 interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Charity Grace stated, “It wasn’t much of a part and the play closed after 10 days or so. But I was the happiest person in the world. It was just one scene. Bt it was all mine while it lasted.”

Charity Grace also said she wanted everyone to know it’s never too late to pursue a new career. “I would tell anyone to strike out and try his hand at a new career. I have wondered what would have happened had I gone to New York years ago. Maybe there would have been more opportunities.”

Along with “The Andy Griffith Show,” other roles she had throughout her acting career were on shows like “Dragnet,” “Peter Gunn,” and “Father Knows Best.” She even attracted the attention of iconic director Alfred Hitchcock. He even cast her three times in “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.”

‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Castmate Charity Grace Revealed Why She Decided to Leave Education to Begin With 

Meanwhile, Charity Grace revealed one of the big reasons why she left her teaching position to pursue acting. “The reason I wanted to leave teaching in 1945 was that I felt overburdened. And I couldn’t sustain the tremendous peak of energy that is required in order to be a good teacher.”

Charity Grace also said that with acting, she was able to have downtown to “work herself up” to deliver energetic scenes. “These peaks come only at intervals and the rest of the time you are coasting a little.”

When asked about her retirement from teaching, Charity Grace said, “I feel like I have as interesting a retirement as anyone could have. Because I’m really not retired. But working like this, at someone you love, keeps you young. I’m not in the theater just for the money. I can find joy and relaxation in it, too.”

One year after appearing on “The Andy Griffith Show,” Charity Grace passed away in 1965. She was 81-years-old at the time. 

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