R.I.P. Maggie Peterson, beloved singer Charlene Darling on The Andy Griffith Show

She also appeared on the big screen with both Andy and Don Knotts.

Classic TV actor and singer Maggie Peterson will always be remembered for her charming personality and delightful voice singing bluegrass tunes as part of the musical Darling family on The Andy Griffith Show. Though she only played Charlene Darling in five episodes, they are some of the sitcom’s best. She also played a different character, Doris, in the season eight episode “A Girl for Goober.”

Charlene was Peterson’s first Hollywood role and it was a natural fit. She was no stranger to singing in a family band. According to Deadline, Peterson began her career in showbusiness singing alongside family members in a local Colorado group called The Ja-Da Quartet.

Peterson’s big break came when Andy Griffith’s agent Dick Linke saw the group at a record convention. 

Peterson debuted on The Andy Griffith Show in 1963, credited as Margaret Ann Peterson, in the episode “The Darlings Are Coming.” The musical mountain family, comprised of real-life band The Dillards and character actor Denver Pyle along with Peterson, were known for playing bluegrass standards with funny names. Peterson infused Charlene with a sweet sentimentality that turned into a running gag about how many tunes, even the ones with names like “Slimy River Bottom” and “Don’t Hit Your Grandma with a Great Big Stick,” made her cry.

Though Charlene Darling is her most memorable part, Peterson actually had a bigger role on the short-lived Bill Dana Show. A spinoff of The Danny Thomas Show, it followed Bill Dana as a bellhop who interacts with various characters at a fancy New York hotel. The show featured many actors who would go on to make a name for themselves in other projects. Peterson played a waitress named Susie, while Lost in Space actor Jonathan Harris appeared as the hotel manager and Get Smart’s Don Adams played the hotel detective. Bing Crosby’s son, Gary, also costarred as another bellhop before his turn as Officer Wells in Adam-12.

After playing Charlene Darling, Peterson continued a great working relationship with Andy Griffith, appearing in spinoffs Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C and Mayberry R.F.D. She was also in two 1969 films with fellow Mayberry alums. She was in Andy’s Angel in My Pocket and the Don Knotts starrer The Love God?

Peterson continued to guest star in hit shows like Green Acres and The Odd Couple before marrying her husband of over 40 years, jazz musician Gus Mancuso, in 1978.

She had a few roles in the Eighties, most notably her appearance as Charlene Darling in the TV movie Return to Mayberry.

Peterson kept her connection to The Andy Griffith Show alive throughout her later years. She loved interacting with fans and attending Mayberry events. In a Facebook post announcing her passing, her family expressed to friends and fans, “your love and devotion helped her to not feel alone. She made many mentions to us about how she couldn't believe how generous you all were. You truly made a positive impact on her life and helped her during some very difficult times.” The post continued “We hope that during this difficult time you can find solace in knowing how important you were for making the end of Maggie's life much better.”

Maggie Peterson was 81. 

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Steve2021 12 months ago
The Dillards were a big hit on the Andy Griffin show, I love all of the characters. It's too bad people today are full of hate.
LoveMETV22 12 months ago
I wasn't aware that she had done a concert appearance with the Dillard's years ago.
jpm49878 12 months ago
Love reading the bits of news
randalllong100 12 months ago
RIP Charlene. Enjoyed you for many years.
Sway 12 months ago
RIP Maggie Peterson. Love when she sang there is a time. "So do your roaming in the springtime
And you'll find your love in the summer sun
The frost will come and bring the harvest
And you can sleep when day is done"

Also RIP David Birney of Bridget Love Birney and St. Elsewhere, and RIP Michael Flaherty, character actor in Seinfeld (Rudy) and Star Trek TNG.
Mirramanee 12 months ago
Never been a big fan of TAGS, but I did have the pleasure of seeing that episode where Charlene sings "There is a Time" and now look out for whenever it happens to be on, just to hear her sing that song. I've even saved that particular video clip of her singing that song to my vid library. I've also seen her in a film of a concert she did with the Dillards. She sang that beautiful song and many others. Lovely voice and even lovelier personality. RIP:
hermanstein2015 12 months ago
RIP to one of the sweetest ladies I ever got to meet! You were a bird in this world and we will miss you ❤️
JHP 12 months ago
her character was perfect for TAGS

but that wedding dress she wore aint my cup of bourbon - well....maybe after 3:)
Sorella 12 months ago
Such a sweet lady. Maggie will be much missed. Rest in peace, Maggie. 🙏👼😇
Hilary 12 months ago
Maggie a real sweetheart of an actress ! It was always a treat when the Darlins’ came to Mayberry bringing Charlene along. Such happy days!. We will miss her.
Mark091 12 months ago
Rest In Peace
Maggie Peterson
Charlene Darling
The Andy Griffith Show
Maggie Peterson was a Wonderful
Actress And Singer
I believe in the Afterlife and she is
Now Reunited with Andy Griffith
Don Knots Denver Pyle Howard
Morris Francis Bavier.and other
Cast Members of The Andy Griffith Show Mayberry RFD and GOMER Pyle USMC .
Mark091 12 months ago
Barry22 12 months ago
RIP. Always liked her appearances on Andy. On a side note, kind of surprised Me TV has not mentioned the passing of David Birney.
cperrynaples Barry22 12 months ago
Yes, that was sad! He started on Love Is A Many Splendered Thing where his wife was a young Donna Mills! He went on to Bridget Loves Bernie with his future wife Meredith Baxter and later did the TV version of Serpico & St. Elsewhere!
Mirramanee cperrynaples 12 months ago
I had not heard of David Birney's passing. I loved him on Bridget Loves Bernie and St. Elsewhere. Very sad!
tootsieg 12 months ago
Charlene Darling was just…….darling. So sweet and kind.
R.I.P. Maggie Peterson.
Kd55 12 months ago
R.I.P. Maggie Peterson. Ya sang real good.
DIGGER1 12 months ago

LoveMETV22 DIGGER1 12 months ago
Very nice Memoriam picture and videoclip.
tootsieg DIGGER1 12 months ago
Thanks so much for the video. Love the words to the song.
MrsPhilHarris 12 months ago
Aww…I really liked her character. Only 5 episodes? Seemed like more.
LoveMETV22 MrsPhilHarris 12 months ago
Character names aside she made 6 appearances on TAGS, and one appearance on Mayberry R.F.D.
MrsPhilHarris LoveMETV22 12 months ago
I haven’t seen Mayberry RFD for years. I wouldn’t mind seeing that show again.
Maggie Peterson (Charlene Darling ) also made a guest Appearance on GP USMC:
She was in the GOMER Pyle USMC episode which has the
First Appearance of BUNNY
I think that her Characters name was Eileen and this is
what Bunny told Sgt Carter:
Double date or no date at all!!
Maggie Peterson made one
Guest Appearance on GOMER Pyle USMC but I can't remember the title of that
Pyle episode.
The Blind Date is the title of the GOMER Pyle USMC episode
With Maggie Peterson (Charlene Darling.on TAGS) made Guest Appearance as
Eileen a friend of BUNNY (Barbara Stuart). This episode
Of GP USMC is the First Appearance of BUNNY.
Maggie Peterson Charlene Darling on The Andy Griffith Show made a Guest Appearance on the BLIND DATE
Episode of GOMER Pyle USMC
Playing Eileen a friend of Sgt.
Carters girlfriend Bunny .
This episode also has the first appearance of Bunny .
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