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.