The Hollywood Reporter is reporting today that Betty Lynn, who was best known as Thelma Lou, the girlfriend of Barney Fife from The Andy Griffith Show, passed away Saturday, October 16 in Culver City, California at the age of 95. No specifics on the cause of death besides reports showing she succumb to a short bought with an undisclosed illness. This news was first confirmed through the Andy Griffith Museum. Lynn was 95 years of age.
Betty Lynn’s Life
On August 29, 1926, in Kansas City, Missouri, Elizabeth Ann Lynn gave birth to Elizabeth Ann Theresa Lynn who only had her mother to lean on and vice versa. Lynn’s mother was an accomplished mezzo-soprano, a fancy way to say an accomplished singer, and taught her how to sing and eventually enrolled Lynn in the Kansas City Conservatory of Music at the tender age of 5. Lynn’s parents had a tumultuous relationship culminating in Lynn’s parents getting a divorce at around the same time Lynn attended the music conservatory.
George Andrew Lynn, Lynn’s grandfather, picked up the slack as her father figure. Years later, Lynn would go on to take part in a USO tour at the age of 18 in the China Burma India Theater. She would visit patients in hospitals, sing almost any song request they might have had, and she would even meet with prisoners of war that had been recently released.
Lynn’s career started via radio as she was a member of the cast on a daytime drama on a Kansas City station, which led to her being on Broadway and then being discovered on Broadway by Darryl F. Zanuck. Zanuck signed her to a contract with 20th Century Fox and made her debut in the 1948 picture, Sitting Pretty.
From there she would be in numerous pictures and television shows until she got the role of Thelma Lou in The Andy Griffith Show. She would appear in 25 episodes alongside Don Knotts, who played Barnie Fife. Until Knotts’s character was written off the show so that Knotts could pursue his acting career, but the two would return in the episode The Return of Barney Fife during season six in 1966. Lynn would end up retiring in 2006 with her last credit coming from a television series by the name of Shades of LA in 1990.
Excluding flowers, those looking to show support can donate in Betty Lynn’s memory to the Betty Lynn Scholarship Endowment, a scholarship program that helps children pursue careers in acting and dancing.