Everyone’s favorite television aunt, Aunt Bee of The Andy Griffith Show, didn’t always get along with the star of the show. Here’s why.
Frances Bavier, who played Aunt Bee on The Andy Griffith Show, once said that living in a make-believe world can become tiresome. During an interview, Bavier said, “You can’t be an actress for 40 years, living in a world of make-believe, and not be affected.”
She said that, after playing a character for 12 hours a day, it’s hard to shut it off at home.
“It’s terribly difficult because Aunt Bee is so much nicer than the real me. 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,” said Bavier. “And even when you go home, people don’t recognize you as you, but for the character you play. It can be awfully confusing.”
During an interview, Andy Griffith opened up about his interactions with Bavier.
“She wasn’t always in real great shape, emotionally,” he said.
However, the two remained in contact years after The Andy Griffith Show ended. In fact, Griffith shared the last conversation he ever had with Bavier.
“I called her up. She said ‘Hello Andy, I must be made of cast iron. I’ve had a heart attack, now I have cancer. I’m only now just starting to die,'” said Griffith. “She said, ‘No you can’t do anything for me. I’m just sorry we didn’t get along better. It was my fault and I just wish we had. You ran the show and you made the show a success. And I’m just sorry we didn’t get along better.’ We got along, she just didn’t feel like it always.'”
Just like a real family, there were ups and downs to the relationships between cast members. However, when the host of the interview asked Andy if the people on The Andy Griffith Show loved each other, he was quick to confirm.
“Yes. Absolutely. Absolutely,” he said.
Why Wasn’t Aunt Bee in Return To Mayberry After The Andy Griffith Show?
Return to Mayberry was a 1986 made for television movie based on The Andy Griffith Show. The movie featured many original cast members including Andy Griffith, Ron Howard, and Don Knotts. But there was one character who was obviously missing: Aunt Bee. So why wasn’t she in the movie? The short answer, she didn’t want to be.
Bavier simply didn’t have any interest in returning to the show or any of its spin-offs. So, the creators wrote it into the movie that Aunt Bee had passed. They invited Bavier to record a few lines for Return to Mayberry to be used as a voiceover from beyond when Andy visits her tomb. However, Bavier declined. She said that she had an issue with one word in the dialogue: “underwear.”
During the scene, Aunt Bee’s voice boomed down from the heavens to remind Andy to wear clean underwear. Bavier said, “I will not say ‘underwear.’ I have never said ‘underwear,’ and I will not say ‘underwear’ now.”