‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Thelma Lou Actor Betty Lynn and Griffith Were on Bad Terms for Two Decades

by Megan Molseed
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Actress Betty Lynn is probably best known as Thelma Lou the semi-regular romantic interest of Mayberry deputy, Barney Fife on the iconic CBS sitcom, The Andy Griffith Show.

However, this role would eventually lead the actress into another role where she would go toe-to-toe with The Andy Griffith Show star, Andy Griffith.

This would lead to a decades-long falling out that would only end when one of them sought some acting advice in 2008.

Thelma Lou Was Sweet, Caring, and Made Some Awesome Cashew Fudge

The sweet-natured love interest of the kooky Mayberry deputy has long been one of The Andy Griffith Show’s most iconic characters.

Well-known for her doting nature, Thelma Lou made the perfect on-screen on and off again girlfriend to Don Knotts’s Barney Fife.

Thelma Lou’s patience is unwavering when it came to her Andy Griffith Show beau. Oh…and she made the best cashew fudge. One of Barney’s favorite treats.

Betty Lynn portrayed the beloved character during much of the popular show’s run from 1961 until 1966. She even made the Return To Mayberry in 1986.

Betty Lynn’s Thelma Lou character left The Andy Griffith Show when Don Knotts made his own exit from the series in the iconic sitcom’s fifth season.

However, Lynn stayed in touch with the show’s players throughout her career.

Former ‘Andy Griffith Show’ Players Head to The Georgia Courtroom

In fact, these maintained connections led the actress to find a role in another series. Also starring The Andy Griffith Show’s namesake, Andy Griffith.

However, the friendship between Betty Lynn and Andy Griffith was soon tested.

And the two found themselves in the middle of a decades-long falling out.

In 1986, the former Andy Griffith Show actress found her way into another primetime series starring Andy Griffith.

Lynn took a role as the secretary to Griffith’s southern courtroom lawyer character, Ben Matlock on the NBC series Matlock.

Not long into the first few episodes as Ben Matlock’s secretary in the lighthearted legal series, Lynn began to feel that her character, needed more lines.

Only, when Lynn approached the actor about these issues, the actor who played the loveable yet curmudgeonly Georgia attorney didn’t have much to say. In fact, her lines were cut from the show altogether when they let the actress go.

No New Lines, And No Discussion

“They let me go as soon as they could,” Betty Lynn remembered of the Matlock producer’s reaction to her requests.

“I was upset with him because he wouldn’t listen,” the actress continues of Griffith.

The two former Andy Griffith Show players ended up facing a falling out that would last a number of years. Unitl Griffith called the actress up with a question.

In 2008, the actor called Betty Lynn up to ask her advice regarding whether or not he should take a role in the upcoming film Play the Game.

He did, and it would end up being the Andy Griffith Show star’s final role before his death.

Griffith and Lynn remained friends until the actor died in 2012.

Outsider.com