‘The Andy Griffith Show’: This Star Was Easily the Most Accomplished Actor on the Series

by Samantha Whidden
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Although Andy Griffith was the most known star of “The Andy Griffith Show,” his co-star Frances Bavier was easily the most accomplished actor in the series.

According to MeTV, Frances Bavier was an accomplished actor. She notably brought so much into her performance as Aunt Bee on “The Andy Griffith Show.”

Her co-stars Griffith, Don Knotts, and Ron Howard were considered “newcomers” to major acting roles when the series began. However, Bavier already had one of the best-regarded Broadway careers of her actor peers.

The media outlet revealed that ”The Andy Griffith Show” actor began her theater career in 1925. She graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts at the time and was immediately taking on onstage roles. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Bavier managed to attract the audience with her appearances. In the early 1950s, a critic declared that Bavier was being cast to play “the most exacting roles of the American theater.”

Prior to landing her role on “The Andy Griffith Show,” Bavier was in various films. This includes, “The Stooge,” “Sally and Saint Anne,” and “My Wife’s Best Friend.”

Bavier was also in TV shows such as “It’s a Great Life,” “Dragnet,” and “City Detective.”

Bavier spoke about her acting career during a 1959 interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I’m perhaps fortunate that I don’t have to live up to a ‘glamour’ role. But I really feel that just because a person has approached, or passed, that 50-year mark, there is no reason to hide behind the façade of those fallible 40s. I think that with the average women, the longer she’s lived, the more she’s learned.” 

The actor passed away at the age of 86 on December 6, 1989. Her final film role was in 1974’s “Benji”

Frances Bavier Admitted She Would Struggle to Get Out of Her ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Role

Although Frances Bavier was considered America’s favorite aunt, the actor admitted it was hard to get “The Andy Griffith Show” persona.

“You can’t be an actress for 40 years, living in a world of make-believe, and not be affected,” the actor said during a 1966 interview with Star-Gazette. “Sooner or later, your mind begins to click and in my case, you are wise to seek professional help to help stop being Aunt Bee after work.”

Bavier further admitted that it is terribly difficult to get out of the role. Because she thought Aunt Bee was so much nicer than the real her. “Unlike plays in which you play a character only a couple of hours each night, you must be a television character 12 hours a day. And even when you go home, people don’t recognize you as you. But for the character you play. It can be awfully confusing.” 

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