Being on The Andy Griffith Show inspired Aneta Corsaut to go back to school

Playing a teacher made Corsaut fall in love with education.

If you had a positive experience in school, chances are you had a favorite teacher. This was a teacher who inspired you, who made you want to be a better student. They're the sort of person that sticks in your head long after you leave their classroom, and sometimes long after you graduate as well. 

For Aneta Corsaut, it turned out that the teacher she needed to inspire her the most was none other than Helen Crump. Corsaut began playing schoolteacher Helen Crump of The Andy Griffith Show in 1963. It was a role she loved playing and one that she returned to even after the original series concluded. Corsaut returned for the series spinoff Mayberry R.F.D, as well as the made-for-television film Return To Mayberry. Originally Opie's teacher, Helen provided viewers with the opportunity to watch old softy Sheriff Taylor fall in love, and the two would later be married and have a child together. 

But even before she took on the role of Miss Crump, Corsaut found herself in the good company of school teachers. According to an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Corsaut's parents were teachers for a period of time. She said, "My mother was a teacher, and my father, although he is a plant pathologist now, taught school for a while, too."

Strangely enough, when Corsaut became an actress, she still couldn't escape academia. She explained, "In 1961 when I got my first regular role in television on the Gertrude Berg show, it was as the wife of a schoolteacher." 

But once Corsaut took on the role of Miss Crump, playing a schoolteacher actually inspired her to return to school and enroll in night courses at UCLA. She spoke to the Shreveport Journal about her journey so far, and explained, "I took physical geography last semester and didn't expect to do well, but to my surprise, I loved the course, and the professor suggested I might take up geography as a career." 

It just goes to show that sometimes, the best inspiration you can have is yourself.

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5 Comments

seltaeb 5 months ago
In the 8th season episode "Helen's Past". She was a gangster's moll back in Kansas, a fact she hid from Andy until he started nosing around and making long distance calls to the Kansas newspaper that published the article and picture of her.
Lisa24 seltaeb 5 months ago
Helen wrote a thesis on gangsters in college and to really research it, she became a gangsters moll. Kinda ridiculous when you think about it.
Pacificsun 5 months ago
As a fictional character didn't she end up as a Judge on Matlock.
Jaxter14 Pacificsun 4 months ago
Yes, in several episodes.
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