7 neato facts about Aneta Corsaut
From The Blob to Matlock, she had a fascinating career.
Image: The Everett Collection
On The Andy Griffith Show, Sheriff Andy Taylor had a few short-lived flings before his bride-to-be was introduced. After dating Ellie, Karen, Mary and Peggy, Andy fell in love with Opie's schoolteacher, Helen Crump, as portrayed by Aneta Corsaut.
Audiences fell in love with the character, too. Andy and Helen's romance continued after the series finale of The Andy Griffith Show. The couple married at the start of the spin-off series, Mayberry RFD.
Corsaut's career continued to intertwine with Andy's over the years. The 2016 book Andy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American by Daniel de Visé reported that the love between Andy and Aneta spilled over to reality behind-the-scenes.
Corsaut, who passed away in 1995, continues to charm in reruns. Let's take a look at some fascinating facts about this sitcom star.
1. She and Steve McQueen made their movies debuts together.
The Blob oozed its way into cinema history as one of the great sci-fi horror films of the 1950s. The special effects were gooey and great, but give the casting director some credit, too. The movie booked two newcomers as its stars — Steve McQueen and Aneta Corsaut. The movie begins with McQueen and Corsaut kissing at Lover's Lane. According to the book Meet the Blob by Suzanne Murdico, the two actors dated in real-life before playing boyfriend and girlfriend in the movie.
Image: Paramount Pictures
2. She and Marion Ross appeared on the same sitcom together, too.
Young actresses Aneta Corsault and Marion Ross both had a handful of credits to their name when they landed recurring roles on Mrs. G Goes to College, a.k.a. The Gertrude Berg Show. The sitcom followed a middle-aged widow heading to university as a freshman. Ross played the daughter of Gertrude Berg; Corsaut was a neighbor married to a professor. Both made their debut on the show in the episode "The First Day" in 1961.
3. She and her character Helen Crump both came from the same place.
Helen Crump comes to Mayberry from Kansas. The schoolteacher had that in common with the actress, who was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, in the middle of the state.
4. She and her costar Ken Berry were born on the same day.
Speaking of sharing bio details… Both Ken Berry and Corsaut were born on November 3, 1933. The two appeared in several episodes of The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry R.F.D. together. Here they are singing a tune together in "A Girl for Goober."
5. She was the girlfriend of another famous TV cop.
Playing the lover of Sheriff Andy led to another role as a police officer's significant other. In 1975, Corsaut appeared in a couple of episodes of Adam-12 as Judy, Pete Malloy's girlfriend. Look for her in season seven of the cop show.
6. She named this Mayberry character after a friend, who then sued the show
In the Andy Griffith Show episode "The Mayberry Band," Mayor Roy Stoner finds the Mayberry Band to be in a despicable state. But Andy has a plan. You see, traveling rock-and-rollers Freddy Fleet and his band happen to be passing through town on tour. So Sheriff Andy enlists them as ringers in the Mayberry Band, including a hipster horn player named Phil Sunkel. Aneta Corsaut named the character. She suggested the name to screenwriter Jim Fritzell in tribute to a friend of hers. Corsaut happened to know a cool jazz horn player named Phil Sunkel. Wouldn't it be a cute honor to have this television character named after him? Well, the real Phil Sunkel did not find it so amusing. Actually, according to sources, Sunkel sued The Andy Griffith Show for $20,000 (about $180,000 today) for using his name without permission. Read the full story.
7. She played her final role alongside Andy Griffith on Matlock
In 1980, Corsaut again landed a regular role on the medical sitcom House Calls, starring alongside Wayne Rogers in his post-M*A*S*H phase. The former Mayberry schoolteacher was now playing a head nurse. When that role wrapped, Corsaut made just two other one-episode appearances on television before Andy came calling again. In 1986, she reunited with her fictional husband Andy Taylor for the TV movie Return to Mayberry. She later reteamed with Griffith on his hit comeback series, Matlock. In what would be her final acting role, Corsaut shared scenes with Griffith as Judge Cynthia Justin. You can spot her behind her bench in four mysteries, including the two-parter "The Evening News." Read the full story.
8. She co-authored a mystery trivia book.
The description on Amazon describes this 1981 book as "a delectable potpourri of quizzes — Who wrote the first mystery in which the narrator was the murderer? —acrostics, and puzzles to challenge, delight, and humble mystery-addicts." Corsaut crafted the book with Muff Singer, an author of children's books, and Robert Wagner.