Aunt Bee was a true gem. Known for her as everyone’s favorite aunt on “The Andy Griffith Show,” Francis Bavier’s had a heart as pure as gold. Before Bavier passed away in 1989, she wanted to pay it forward to those who sacrificed so much.
When she died at 86, her will specified that $100,000 would go to a trust fund for her local police department in Siler City, N.C. Even though she could afford a mansion in Hollywood, Bavier lived in her small town after her time on “The Andy Griffith Show.”
According to the News & Observer of Raleigh, she lived alone with her 14 cats in her later years. Bavier, who had no children nor a husband, wanted to make sure that her earnings went to the right people.
However, even though it was a kind gesture, it was unexpected. According to the townspeople who knew Bavier, she could sometimes be challenging to deal with— unlike the character she played.
“She wasn’t the woman you saw on TV,” Floyd Bowers, who worked near Bavier’s grave, told the newspaper in 2004. “She liked her privacy, and she was hard to please. My wife worked at the hospital, and she was what the nurses call a hard patient.”
The trust fund principal sits at $100,000. The interest gets divided among the police staff every year for a Christmas bonus.
Aunt Bee from ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Remembered for Altruistic Spirit
In addition, the newspaper reported that parts of Bavier’s $700,000 estate would go to the Actor’s Fund of America and several residents of Connecticut and New York.
According to the report, the rest of Bavier’s money went to UNC public television. Later, the organization auctioned off her Studebaker for an endowment.
Despite her generous ways, Bavier was known for being strictly all business during her time on “The Andy Griffith Show.”
In the book titled The Andy Griffith Show, Richard Kelly revealed that of all of the cast members, Bavier was the most difficult actor for her fellow actors to deal with while filming.
In addition, the show’s creator and executive producer Sheldon Leonard described the New York-trained actress as “a rather remote lady. Highly professional and a fine comedienne, fine actress with a very individual character. She was rather self-contained and was not part of the general hijinks that centered upon Andy on the set.”
Despite this, Bavier later returned to the message behind “The Andy Griffith Show” which encouraged everyone to do good and give as much as you can.