Frances Bavier became more like Aunt Bee as she got older

Even after she left television, Bavier remained famous.

When we love a character a great deal, it's very easy to blur the lines between reality and screen. It can feel safe to assume that the actor playing the character we know and appreciate shares some of those key personality traits that make the series so appealing. This isn't always true, but for Frances Bavier, her similarities to her character seemed to grow as she got older.

In an article with The Charlotte Observer, several of those close to Bavier spoke of the actress after her passing. Apparently, she would announce to her attorney, Sam Williams, "This is Aunt Bee" when she called him on the telephone.

According to Williams, the high-spirited actress cooled down a bit as she got older, with a personality that was more like the one we saw in Aunt Bee on The Andy Griffith Show. He said, "She got mellow with age." He then stated, "Especially in the last few years, she's been more like Aunt Bee on television."

According to the article, Bavier would spend time with children who were keen to meet her, and in her spare time would sometimes watch reruns of The Andy Griffith Show.

Bavier's neighbor, Baird Pascal, said of her, "She was one of the finest aristocratic ladies I've ever known. She was just a beautiful person that way." 

While Bavier was keen on her privacy, she still made a lasting impact on those who met her with her kindness and grace. Sam Williams said, "I remember the day I met her. It was like Pearl Harbor. It was a day you don't forget."

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17 Comments

Tomzig 22 days ago
Kind of feel like you left me hanging. Thought there would be more.
kkvegas 26 days ago
If anyone wants to see her house, the pictures are still on Realtor.com from when the house sold a couple of years ago. The address is 503 W Elk St, Siler City, NC 27344. The description even includes the fact that this is "Aunt Bee's" house. The coolest part to me is that the bathrooms with their blue tile look unchanged from when the home was built in 1951.
Avie 27 days ago
[Her attorney, Sam Williams, said,] "I remember the day I met her. It was like Pearl Harbor. It was a day you don't forget."

"It was like Pearl Harbor." How many people ever have THAT said about them? I think with that choice of words Mr Williams was saying more about Bavier than she might've liked, and it's not flattering.

Sooner 27 days ago
Her Aunt Bea character was great. She played it wonderfully.

From the things I saw her on before the Andy Griffith Show, she played really rough and dark characters, so it always amazed me that someone in casting saw an Aunt Bea in there waiting to break out.
ETristanBooth Sooner 26 days ago
She plays a neighbor in the "Revenge" episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Not terribly different than Aunt Bee.
pugsleyaddams 28 days ago
Did you know that Frances Bavier (Aunt Bee) and Howard McNear (Floyd the barber) were once married on screen? It's TRUE! Check it out in the original version of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951). In the scenes inside the boarding house, where Mr. Carpenter (Klattu) is staying, two of the other guests are Floyd and Aunt Bee (with different names of course). After all that trauma and excitement in Wahington DC with a "spaceman" living in the SAME HOUSE it seems they obviously got a divorce and moved to Mayberry where they never spoke of the incident again.
Each time I see it, I have to yell out "HEY! It's AYNT BEE (pronounced correctly) and Floyd!" Cracks me up every time.
Henderson pugsleyaddams 27 days ago
Are you sure? I thought it was the choir director, John Masters not Floyd the barber, both very young in the picture.
Avie pugsleyaddams 27 days ago
"Did you know that Frances Bavier (Aunt Bee) and Howard McNear (Floyd the barber) were once married on screen? It's TRUE! Check it out in the original version of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951). In the scenes inside the boarding house, where Mr. Carpenter (Klattu) is staying, two of the other guests are Floyd and Aunt Bee (with different names of course)."

No, I didn't know, because it ISN'T so.

Bavier plays Mrs Barley; her husband, Mr Barley, is played by the actor JOHN BROWN. Howard McNear is NOT in the film.

And it's spelled KLAATU, not "Klattu."

Stop being such a self-appointed "expert."
Pacificsun 30 days ago
This is a good article. And because examples (meaning, quotes) are used to make the point. What could be more effective than the observations of acquaintances. The more we read, the more it's clear, she was actually someone with what we used to describe as good breeding (meaning, manners and pride). Which the generations of today don't recognize. Some don't even understand the purpose of manners (which is actually about being thoughtful and kind towards others). She was no doubt quirky, but she was also a character actress, who was hired because of her personality and traits. I'm happy as she would've been that we're enjoying her legacy so much in this day. Thank you, MeTV Writers for an insightful story!
WordsmithWorks 1 month ago
"I remember the day I met her. It was like Pearl Harbor." I get the metaphor and what Pascal was going for. I'm just not sure I'd equate an apparently positive experience with the attack on Pearl Harbor
Sometimes I wish we had a "sad face" emoji as well as a like button. Totally agree, and such an odd analogy, meaning a bit overdone. And perhaps a little unflattering. I don't think it can be interpreted, properly.
Avie WordsmithWorks 27 days ago
Who's Pascal?
daDoctah 1 month ago
It's a good thing she didn't become more like the character she played in an episode of "77 Sunset Strip" (the episode my mother had to miss when she went into labor with me; we watched it together fifty years later when she was in a rehab center for a stroke). That character was bored with her regular small-town life and took up shoplifting for excitement (from the store her family owned, so they mostly ignored the quirk) until a gang of real crooks kidnapped her to head their gang thinking she was a notorious "Ma Barker" type.
Pacificsun daDoctah 30 days ago
I didn't see it, but sounds a little like Ellen Corby doing a reverse character when she was short-changing Barney in TAGs. Just demonstrate what great character-actresses these people were. We take it for granted regarding male roles. So it is fun (and interesting) to see the woman taking on a completely different persona.

Btw: does anyone know why MeTV doesn't show "77 Sunset Strip?" I hear so much about that Series. And only remember it faintly from childhood. Surely, Peter Gunn can take a vacation for a while. The interesting thing is, Weigel (and distributors) have most of these Series in their Library. And nobody can figure out why they don't feature more of it.
LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 29 days ago
"Btw: does anyone know why MeTV doesn't show "77 Sunset Strip?"
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If this schedule is correct, it does air on MeTV+ on Sunday's.

https://cdnmetv.metv.com/FSN1w-1696265881-MeTV%20Plus%204Q23%20Eff%2010-2-23%20CLEAN.pdf
Runeshaper 1 month ago
Sounds like she was a wonderful person (-:
FrankensteinLover 1 month ago
Glad to hear she became more like Bee as she got older, still gotta go see her Grave.
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