The residents of Andy Griffith’s Mayberry: Where are they now?
Andy Griffith’s death on Tuesday meant the most prominent cast member of the landmark “Andy Griffith Show” had finally departed.
Costar Don Knotts preceded Griffith in death in 2006 and Frances Bavier (who played Aunt Bea) died in 1989. Many of Mayberry’s older residents have been long gone, such as Floyd the barber (Howard McNear) in 1969 and Otis the drunk (Hal Smith) in 1994.
But fans of “The Andy Griffith Show” can take heart that the streets of Mayberry haven’t gone completely empty. There are still several surviving cast members from the show, and a few still have thriving careers in Hollywood.
Most prominent among them is Ron Howard, who played Andy’s son Opie and is now one of the most successful film directors in Hollywood. Howard began directing short films soon after the end of “The Andy Griffith Show” in 1968 and had already achieved box-office success by the time “Return to Mayberry” was filmed in 1986. Howard’s next film, about Formula 1 driver Niki Lauda, is due to be released in 2013.
Howard’s brother, Clint, also appeared on the show as Leon, the young, sandwich-eating cowboy who showed up in five episodes of the series. Clint Howard still has a very active acting career, with regular roles in his brother’s films, in addition to a part in Rob Zombie’s upcoming film, “The Lords of Salem.”
Jim Nabors, who played good-hearted gas station attendant Gomer Pyle, is the last surviving adult male member of the cast. Nabors, who also starred in the spin-off series “Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.” currently lives in Hawaii and regularly sings “Back Home Again in Indiana” before the start of the Indianapolis 500 in Indianapolis. However, this year the 82-year-old Nabors was set to undergo heart valve surgery on Memorial Day weekend and had to cancel.
Betty Lynn, who played Barney’s girlfriend Thelma Lou, currently lives in Mount Airy, N.C. It was Andy Griffith’s birthplace and widely believed to be the inspiration for Mayberry. She makes monthly appearances on the town’s Andy Griffith Museum on the third Friday of the month.
Elinor Donahue, who played the town pharmacist and Andy’s girlfriend in the show’s first season, continues to work occasionally. She most recently appeared on several episodes of the soap opera “The Young and the Restless” in 2010 and 2011. She lives with her third husband, retired Broadway actor and dancer Lou Genevrino, in the retirement community Sun City in Palm Desert.
Maggie Peterson, who played Charlene Darling in several episodes of the series, married jazz musician Gus Mancuso and settled in Las Vegas, where she worked for many years as a location manager for film and TV. She’s a regular attendee of the Marshfield Cherry Blossom Festival in Marshfield, Mo.
Jack Burns, who played Deputy Warren Ferguson in several episodes of the series, has had a lengthy post-Mayberry career as a voice actor, lending his voice to Vince, the crash test dummy in theU.S. Department of Transportationspots, among other projects.
Arlene Golonka, who played Millie Hutchins in two episodes of the series, is semi-retired and lives in Santa Monica. Her last screen role was on “The King of Queens” in 2005.
Bernard Fox, who played Malcolm Merriwether, had a long post-"Andy Griffith” acting career, including a role in James Cameron’s “Titanic.” He retired from acting in 2004 and lives with his wife in London.
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