Betty Lynn (Actress) - The Andy Griffith Show
Betty Lynn 1
Updated: 10/18/21

Name: Betty Lynn

Birth Name: Elizabeth Ann Theresa Lynn

Born: August 29, 1926 in Kansas City, Missouri, USA Died: October 16, 2021 (age 95) in Mount Airy, North Carolina, USA

Nickname: Boo

Claim To Fame: Betty Lynn was an American actress best known for her role as Thelma Lou, Deputy Barney Fife's girlfriend, on The Andy Griffith Show.

Family Life: Lynn never married, although she stated she was once engaged.

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Info: Her mother, Elizabeth Ann Lynn, was "an accomplished mezzo-soprano" who taught Betty to sing and enrolled her in the Kansas City Conservatory of Music when she was only five years old.

Lynn had little personal contact with her abusive father. Her parents divorced when Lynn was 5 years old. Lynn's grandfather, George Andrew Lynn, a railroad engineer, took on the role of father as she grew up.

When she was 17, Lynn auditioned to participate in United Service Organizations entertainment.

At age 18 she was part of a USO tour in the China Burma India Theater. Her activities on the tour included visiting patients in hospitals and singing requests from a repertoire of 725 songs.

In 1950 in Los Angeles, Lynn bought a house, where her mother and grandparents moved in and lived with her for years. She thus assumed the off-screen roles of breadwinner and caretaker.

Was one of three bridesmaids at Ann Blyth's marriage to Dr. James McNulty. The other two bridesmaids were Jane Withers and Joan Leslie.

In 2007, Lynn was inducted into the Missouri Walk of Fame, located in Marshfield, Missouri.

On August 30, 2016, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory granted and North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest presented Lynn the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest civilian honor in North Carolina.

In 2006, Lynn retired from acting and relocated to Mount Airy, North Carolina, the home town of Andy Griffith and the town on which Mayberry is believed to have been based despite Griffith's claims to the contrary.

Lynn continues to make monthly personal appearances in town at the Andy Griffith Museum, signing autographs and meeting with her fans.

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Trivia: Betty Lynn started her acting career in radio as a member of the cast on a daytime drama on a Kansas City station.

On Broadway, she appeared in Walk with Music (1940), Oklahoma! (1943), and Park Avenue (1946).

She was discovered in a Broadway production by Darryl F. Zanuck and signed to 20th Century Fox.

Lynn made her film debut in the 1948 film Sitting Pretty, which won a Photoplay Gold Medal.

She was nicknamed "Boo", by Bette Davis during the shooting of June Bride (1948) to avoid confusion.

Lynn replaced Patricia Kirkland in the role of Betty Blake in the CBS comedy, The Egg and I (1951-1952).

In 1961, Lynn won the role of Thelma Lou on The Andy Griffith Show. Despite playing the role for five years (1961-66), she appeared in only 26 episodes, and was never signed on to the show (in part because at the time she was cast, she was still under contract for Texas John Slaughter).

She recounted, "I didn't want to leave Thelma Lou. I really loved her. I enjoyed her. She was sweet and kind, she was so fun to play, and I loved working with Don Knotts - he was so wonderful."

In 1986, she reprised the role of Thelma Lou in the reunion television movie Return to Mayberry, in which Thelma Lou and Barney Fife are finally married.

She was asked to play the mother of Christine Jorgensen in The Christine Jorgensen Story (1970), but turned it down.

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Where Are They Now: As of 2020, Lynn was still enjoying retirement in Mount Airy, NC. Lynn still makes an effort to appear in town at the Andy Griffith Museum to sign autographs and meet with her fans. Unfortunately, Betty Lynn passed away on October 16, 2021 at the age of 95. She will certainly be thought of as Thelma Lou from The Andy Griffith Show, but it's her sweet nature, determination, and love for her fans, that will be remembered most of all! RIP Betty Lynn.


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