Frances Bavier became a household name in the 1960s and 1970s, starring alongside Andy Griffith while portraying Aunt Bee in The Andy Griffith Show. She later continued with this memorable role as Aunt Bee, on The Andy Griffith spin-off series, Mayberry R.F.D. But, what happened to the actress after she hung up her apron and said goodbye to her Aunt Bee character?
Aunt Bee Arrives In Mayberry To Take Care Of Sheriff Andy Taylor and His Son, Opie
We always knew her as Aunt Bee in the classic TV series. However, fans of the Andy Griffith Show know that her real name is Beatrice Taylor. Aunt Bee was the character’s affectionate nickname. She is the glue that holds the family together in the Taylor household. Always taking care of Andy Griffith’s Sherriff Andy Taylor, and his young son, Ron Howard’s Opie Taylor.
Frances Bavier’s Aunt Bee stays on in this role throughout the entire series. She only says goodbye to the two when the series comes to an end. The actress became so beloved in her role over the years that she even won an Emmy Award for her performance in the TV series in 1967.
Aunt Bee Is A Big Player In Andy Griffith And The Hit Sitcom’s Spin-Off Shows
Between 1960 and 1971, Francis Bavier portrayed Aunt Bee in a variety of spin-off shows. She appears in the role in the show’s first spin-off series, the Jim Nabors-led Gomer Pyle USMC. She then carries on her beloved role as the loving aunt and housekeeper in the 1968 – 1971 series, Mayberry R.F.D.
When Mayberry R.F.D. went off the air in 1971, Francis Bavier decided to retire to a town named Siler City, North Carolina. It was her time as Aunt Bee that drew her to this sleepy North Carolina town. Bavier has said that she was drawn to Siler’s small-town charm; as well as the beautiful scenery that surrounds the friendly neighborhoods.
Was There Some Bad Blood Between Aunt Bee And Her On-Screen Employer During The Classic Sitcom’s Run?
While we love Bavier as the quintessential homemaker, reports have revealed that the actress was not pleased with the continuous association she had with her Aunt Bee character. She even turned down the chance to revive the role in 1986 for The Andy Griffith Show reunion movie, Return To Mayberry. However, reports note that part of this decision was connected to the actress’s declining health as well.
Andy Griffith once noted that in or around August of 1989, Bavier called him and she apologized to him for being “difficult” on the set of The Andy Griffith Show. According to Andy Griffith, the actress called him in the summer of 1989 to apologize for being “difficult” during her years working on The Andy Griffith Show.
Frances Bavier passed away on December 6, 1989 due to congestive heart failure. The name of her famous character is included on her headstone. The stone also features a message saying: “To live in the hearts of those left behind is not to die.” A message that no doubt resonates well with fans of The Andy Griffith Show – and fans of Aunt Bee.