MOUNT AIRY, NC (WYMT) – Actress best known for playing Thelma Lou, Barney Fife’s sweetheart on The Andy Griffith Show, Betty Lynn passed away peacefully on Saturday, October 16 at the age of 95.
Betty Lynn appeared in 26 episodes of The Andy Griffith Show with 25 appearances before the departure of Don Knotts, who played Barney Fife, also led his character to leave the series. She would make a final appearance in season six alongside Knotts.
Elizabeth Ann Theresa Lynn was born in Kansas City, Missouri on August 29, 1926. Her mother, Elizabeth Lynn, a respected mezzo-soprano and organist, and her maternal grandparents Johanna and George Andrew Lynn, longtime engineer for Missouri Pacific Railroad, raised it.
From the age of 18, she took part in a United Services Organization (USO) tour that took her through the China Burma India Theater during WWII where at one point, she met recently released prisoners of war in a Rangoon hospital.
In addition to her work on the Andy Griffith Show, she is also remembered for her role in a number of films during the 1940s and 1950s, including “Sitting Pretty” and the original “Cheaper by the Dozen” as well as Broadway shows such as “Oklahoma!” and “Avenue du Parc”.
Lynn has remained active at Andy Griffith’s meetings and festivals, even virtually greeting fans who have visited the Andy Griffith Museum, located in Mount Airy.
A private funeral service is scheduled in Culver City, California. A memorial service will be announced at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Betty’s memory can be made to the Betty Lynn Scholarship Endowment (for students pursuing careers in dance or theater) or the Barbara and Emmett Forrest Endowment Fund (for the Andy Griffith Museum and Mayberry Days), both in care of the Surry Arts Council, PO Box 141, Mount Airy, NC 27030; or Holy Angels Roman Catholic Church, 1208 N Main Street, Mount Airy NC 27030, or a charity of the donor’s choice.
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