‘The Andy Griffith Show’: What Happened to the Actor Who Played Opie’s Friend Arnold?

by Keeli Parkey
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The fictional town of Mayberry in “The Andy Griffith Show” was a place that was full of colorful characters. Deputy Barney Fife, of course, comes to mind. But he wasn’t the only one. There was also Goober Pyle and Gomer Pyle. You also have Ernest T. Bass and Otis Campbell. The list goes on.

Mayberry wasn’t just populated with adults, though. There were several young characters who also entertained viewers of “The Andy Griffith Show.” The most famous of these, of course, was Opie Taylor. Played by Ron Howard, Opie was the son of Andy Griffith’s character, Sheriff Andy Taylor.

Opie was the only kid in town. He also had friends who appeared in the show from time to time. One of these youngsters was Arnold Bailey. According to MeTV, the young actor who brought Arnold to life was Sheldon Collins. The actor’s real name is Sheldon Golomb.

One of the appearances of Opie’s friend Arnold came in “The Andy Griffith Show” episode titled, “Opie’s First Love.” In this episode, Opie has a crush. The object of his young affection was Mary Alice Carter. And being Opie, he is too shy to ask Mary Alice to go with him to Arnold Bailey’s party in celebration of his 13th birthday.

A memorable exchange between the two youngsters in this episode finds Opie explaining how he feels he’s around Mary Alice. “Even when I ask her for an eraser, my mouth gets all dry,” Opie said. To this, Arnold humorously responded, “So you’ll have a dry mouth when you ask her.”

This wasn’t Arnold’s only appearance in “The Andy Griffith Show.” According to IMDb, Sheldon Golomb played Arnold Bailey in nine episodes of the beloved sitcom. His time on the show took place from 1966 through 1968. His first appearance came in the 1966 episode titled, “Opie Finds a Baby.” His last appearance was in the episode titled, “The Church Benefactors.”

Golomb reprised his role as Arnold Bailey in “The Andy Griffith Show” spinoff “Mayberry R.F.D.” He appeared in two episodes of that show in 1968.

‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Actor Sheldon Golomb Gave Up Acting and Became a Dentist

Being a citizen of Mayberry turned out to be one of the highlights of Sheldon Golomb’s acting career. As an adult, Golomb decided that becoming a dentist was his calling. So, that’s what he did.

For his bachelor’s degree, Golomb attended California State University. He majored in biology and graduated magna cum laude. He earned his DDS from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. Golomb had a practice in Colorado.

Even with a successful career in dentistry, Golomb didn’t forget his television roots. He reportedly had a photo signed by Andy Griffith on display in his dentist office.

While he didn’t continue acting as an adult, Sheldon Golomb had other roles outside of Mayberry. A few examples included “Guiding Light,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Star Trek: The Original Series,” “My Three Sons,” and “I Dream of Jeannie.”

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