Hollywood journalist reports today that Betty Lynn, better known as Thelma Lou, Barney Fife’s girlfriend from Andy Griffith Show, died Saturday, October 16 in Culver City, Calif., At the age of 95. No details on the cause of death other than information showing that she succumbed to shorts purchased with an undisclosed illness. This news was first confirmed by the Andy Griffith Museum. Lynn was 95 years old.
The life of Betty Lynn
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, an elegant way of saying an accomplished singer, and taught her how to sing and eventually enrolled Lynn at the Kansas City Conservatory of Music at the age of 5. Lynn’s parents had a tumultuous relationship culminating in Lynn’s parents divorced around the same time that Lynn was attending the conservatory of music.
George Andrew Lynn, Lynn’s grandfather, took over as a father figure. Years later, Lynn would take part in a USO tour at the age of 18 at the China Burma India Theater. She visited patients in hospitals, sang almost any song request they could have, and even met recently released prisoners of war.
Lynn’s career began in radio as part of the cast of 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 made him sign a contract with 20th century fox and debuted in the 1948 photo, Sitting pretty.
From there she would be in many pictures and TV 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’ character was struck off the show so Knotts could continue his acting career, but the two would return in the episode. The return of Barney Fife during season six in 1966. Lynn would eventually retire in 2006 with his last credit from a television series called Shades of LA in 1990.
With the exception of the flowers, those looking to show their support can make a donation in memory of Betty Lynn at Betty Lynn Endowment Scholarship, a scholarship program that helps children pursue acting and dancing careers.