The real Thelma Lou retired to Andy Griffith's hometown

Betty Lynn left L.A. for Mount Airy in 2007.

The hustle and bustle of city living can really get to a person. That's why, for so many of us, Mayberry is such a beautiful destination. Placid is an understatement: that town is sleepier'n a dog on Nyquil. While Mayberry may be a fictional locale, it shares a spirit with many small towns where people look out for each other and care for one another. 

Mount Airy, North Carolina is the proud birthplace of Andy Griffith. Each year, it celebrates The Andy Griffith Show with its Mayberry Days celebration. The festival has provided family fun since 1990, with a weekend full of food, music, and even some celebrity speakers. One such famous attendee enjoyed the festivities so much, she made Mount Airy her home.

Betty Lynn, who played Barney's girlfriend Thelma Lou on The Andy Griffith Show began attending Mayberry Days in its early years. Lynn loved the event's location and began attending year after year to spend time in Mount Airy. The North Carolina town allowed her a respite from the anxieties and hassles of L.A. living, and, according to The Charlotte Observer, Lynn moved to Mount Airy in 2007. 

In a small form of poetic justice, Betty Lynn was able to reside in Mount Airy as a local celebrity, receiving praise for the show to which her public perception was forever linked. When Don Knotts left The Andy Griffith Show, producers couldn't justify having Barney's girlfriend stick around. With 26 guest appearances on the show, Lynn didn't have a contract and was easy to write off. This was despite her tremendous talent and extensive résumé. Throughout her career, Lynn has starred on stage and screen with notable names like Robert Montgomery, Bette Davis, and Loretta Young. 

It makes sense, though, that she would land in somewhere like Mayberry. That town's population was small, but each resident holds a place in hearts and in history.

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33 Comments

TheMayberryEffectDoc 9 months ago
Betty Lynn was featured in my documentary called The Mayberry Effect. She was incredible to me during and after the interview and to everyone she interacted with during the autograph session at The Andy Griffith Museum in Mt. Airy, NC. She is truly missed by all! ❤️❤️❤️
jandk4 9 months ago
Mount Airy, North Carolina, is a great place to live or visit. There is a place there to get a Barney burger, it is worth the drive, and the pork chops down the road is just like the ones from the show. We go there for the farm auction and always stop in for shopping and food. There is a new and old part of town.
theoIV 9 months ago
My Airy is also the name of the mt in Westchester county where I lived since 1968 and went to 1st grade on up to 2004, they made a movie about it called reds starting robin William's, in the movie they nicknamed it commie hill. It's a small village, that has a dam that supplies the water for New York city its hand made and considered 3rd wonder of the world it's a huge hand made dam.
Croton dam. Yeah the place was just like mayberry.
Jaxter14 10 months ago
When Andy Griffith starred as Matlock he had Betty on his show. He also had Barney, Helen and Howard on Matlock and I seem to remember Emmit did an episode.
wrs44145 Jaxter14 9 months ago
You are incorrect. Paul Hartman who played Emmett on TAGS passed away in 1974 long before Matlock premiered in the 1980's.
Jaxter14 wrs44145 9 months ago
I wasn’t sure so Thanks for that info.
Jaxter14 Jaxter14 9 months ago
Also in an episode of Matlock, Ben mentions having a car towed to Wally’s Garage.
gmail 10 months ago
I'm enjoying the bantering, I can see you do as well. You must work for metv!
Talk at you later, need to get back to living life...later.
Runeshaper 10 months ago
That is really something special!
MizDee 10 months ago
I really admired Miss Lynn. She could have retired like Frances Bavier and stayed away from the public, but she was there at the museum as often as her health would allow, and she spent a lot of time with the people who stood in line to meet her.

When I met her, I told her she was the best part of a movie called, 'June Bride' that she made with the great actress, Bette Davis. Miss Lynn told me when she was on the set for that movie, the director would call out, "Betty" and both she and Miss Davis would say, "What?" so Bette Davis started calling her, "Boo"; if you watch the movie, Betty Lynn's character is called, Boo, and that is what Miss Davis always called her anytime she would see her.

She seemed amazed that I had enjoyed several of her old movies (on TCM), and my husband thanked her for her touring with the USO during World War II. She told him that once a Marine officer handed her a gun (I suppose a pistol?) to keep with her -- they were in the Pacific Region, I believe. She said that was the only time she thought of even being in any danger.

I miss her very much.

MizDee 10 months ago
This comment has been removed.
Snickers 10 months ago
I came from a small town called Massena in upstate New York. Much like Mayberry everyone knew each other and was all ways willing to help. I still go to visit when I can and town is still much like it was many years ago.
obectionoverruled 10 months ago
I read somewhere that Andy’s production company only paid Miss Lynn $50 per episode! Even for the early 60’s this seems shameful. She was drop dead gorgeous as a young woman and added so much zest to the otherwise drab cast of the show. My question even as a kid was what’s taking Barney so long to put a ring on this girl’s finger? No town is so small that a beauty like her would have escaped the attention of a hundred other boys.
She could have done a lot better than Barney. Let Juanita have him.
gmail 10 months ago
I was fortunate 1 day passing through Mnt Airy, heading south and met Betty Lynn. She was sweet as pie, kind and just like Thelma Lou. She said, Thelma Lou and Betty Lynn were 1 in the same. "I didn't have to act".
Runeshaper gmail 10 months ago
That is really cool!
gmail Runeshaper 10 months ago
Even though she was much along in years and a few more pounds, when I spoke to her on the sidewalk, when I looked and listened, I only saw and heard Thelma Lou. And that is a compliment to Betty Lyn.
Runeshaper gmail 10 months ago
Most definitely a beautiful moment!
Zip 10 months ago
I would say that that is so "Thelma Lou" of her, but Thelma Lou moved away from Mayberry.
It is neat that she(Betty Lynn) moved to Mt. Airy though. Wish I could have met her. She seemed like a real sweet lady.
Andybandit 10 months ago
I liked Thelma Lou. Good for her in real life to move somewhere more quieter to live.
gmail 10 months ago
METV Little LATE on honoring Thelma Lou. When a person of a former show passed, you honored them with a brief moment on METV a picture dates and soft music. When Thelma Lou passed, there was nothing, even after several posted concern.
And now a story...TOO little, Too Late! Shame on you METV

Betty Lynn was Thelma Lou
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gmail LoveMETV22 10 months ago
Once again, I appreciate your time and the point you have presented.
But...
You are not grasping the issued, I presented. Yes, there is the article, even the Memorian. But if you fully stop, examine my statement, it still holds true and I believe others here would agree, the "COMMERCIAL BREAK CUT INS" using your own description was not performed for her as it was for other actors.
Thank you, just the same.
LoveMETV22 gmail 10 months ago
While it's not necessary for any appreciation, as it only took several minutes to pull up the info. Thank you anyway.

Yes I grasp the issue that your trying to portray, and at this point it would be a non-issue.
Perhaps it was an oversight, also perhaps there may have been commercial cut ins back in 2021 when she passed, and they were missed, or as with others they were not posted or archived on MeTV's you-tube page. Either way one cannot go back in time and correct what you perceive as disrespectful or unbalanced.
So to hold on to it and portray that the network was remiss then, now or in the future is fruitless. It's your right to see things from your perspective, however what your trying to accomplish is curious.
gmail LoveMETV22 10 months ago
It was a simple observation and comment, that appears to got into your crawl. I apologize this has traumatized you.
So, how about you have your opinion and I'll stick with mine.
No big deal!
This is why I try not to get on here.
LoveMETV22 gmail 10 months ago
To clarify: You were the originator of what you perceive as an injustice or unfair coverage of Betty Lynn's passing in your message several days ago: No one else.

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" 𝗠𝗘𝗧𝗩 𝗟𝗶𝘁𝘁𝗹𝗲 𝗟𝗔𝗧𝗘 𝗼𝗻 𝗵𝗼𝗻𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗧𝗵𝗲𝗹𝗺𝗮 𝗟𝗼𝘂."
"𝗔𝗻𝗱 𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝗮 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘆...𝗧𝗢𝗢 𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘁𝗹𝗲, 𝗧𝗼𝗼 𝗟𝗮𝘁𝗲! 𝗦𝗵𝗮𝗺𝗲 𝗼𝗻 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗠𝗘𝗧𝗩
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Your comments speak volumes- and seem more an effort to discredit MeTV than the passing of Betty Lynn.
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"It was a simple observation and comment, that appears to got into your crawl. I apologize this has traumatized you."

You haven't gotten into anyone's crawl or traumatized anyone, so no apologies are necessary.
The network paid due respect to her, (whether you see it that way or not), has nothing to do with opinion.

"𝗧𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗶𝘀 𝘄𝗵𝘆 𝗜 𝘁𝗿𝘆 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗴𝗲𝘁 𝗼𝗻 𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲."
Hopefully you are not discouraged from visiting the website because others don't share your perspective, but again " that's your choice."
Gevon1 10 months ago
I was hurt when Thelma Lou and Barney came together later on during the reunion and she was married
jim24541 10 months ago
It wouldn’t be Mayberry if it weren’t for her !
MrsPhilHarris 10 months ago
One of my favourite characters on TAGS.
FrankensteinLover 10 months ago
She was such a Sweetheart, was honored to have met her several times in Mount Airy. She truly was the Cats
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