Mayberry’s Aunt Bee

Many of us delighted in watching Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier) on the Andy Griffith Show and later on Mayberry R.F.D.  Aunt Bee was the beloved maiden aunt of the widowed Andy.  After his housekeeper left to get married Aunt Bee moved into the house to take care of Andy and Opie.

Even though she never married and never had any children, Aunt Bee  was a natural at taking care of people. She doted on Andy and Opie and looked after them very well.  Aunt Bee acted as a wise grandmotherly figure for Opie.  She took care of the family until Opie was a teenager and Andy married his long time girlfriend Helen Crump.

Aunt Bee was an excellent cook who not only provided meals for her family, she also cooked for those prisoners in the town jail.  The meals would be carried to the jail in a picnic basket.  She loved to cook and was well known in Mayberry for her skills in the kitchen.  Her apple pies were known to be excellent as were the majority of the items she cooked for her home, community events and church suppers.

At home, Andy especially liked her cornbread biscuits and pork chops.  Butterscotch pecan pie was Opie’s favorite.  Unfortunately she was not aware that she made lousy pickles.  In fact, Andy and his cousin deputy sheriff Barney Fife would refer to them as her “Kerosene Cucumbers”.

Aunt Bee always appeared to be calm with a sweet demeanor and pleasant voice.  Bee was Andy’s aunt and Opie’s great aunt, yet almost everyone in Mayberry called her Aunt Bee.  Aunt Bee didn’t spend all of her time cooking and taking care of Andy and Opie.  She also had an eye for older eligible gentlemen.  There was never any hint of anything physical between she and her gentlemen friends. Unfortunately she did not do very well choosing male companionship.

One of her suitors was Colonel Harvey, a medicine man.  Aunt Bee never drank anything alcoholic.  She drank some of the  two bottles of “medicine” she purchased from him.  Aunt Bee became a little tipsy from the alcohol and the Colonel wound up in jail.

Another gentlemen, Briscoe Darling, was a mountain man who abducted Aunt Bee and took her to his cabin in the hills after becoming besotted with her.  Andy rescued Aunt Bee, but she had already made Mr. Darling’s  life absolutely miserable.

Henry Wheeler was a handyman who romanced Bee in order to get himself lodging and food at the Taylor home free.

Clara Edwards was Aunt Bee’s closest friend in Mayberry.  They had been friends since they attended school together as children.  Clara often was a rival for the single gentlemen in the area and would challenge Aunt Bee in flower shows and cooking contests.

When Andy married Helen Crump at the end of the series  and he and Opie moved away from Mayberry, Aunt Bee stayed on and became the housekeeper for Sam Jones and his son in the spinoff show Mayberry R.F. D.

Comments

  1. bernie mccrink says:

    The Colonel Harvey episode was on TVLand today.

  2. Gary says:

    All I can say is “what an example this show sets. This is TV at it’s finest with outstanding character. There will probably never be another show like it. Innocence, truth, understanding, caring for others and the list goes on. Wow!!”

  3. Susan says:

    Unfortunately, I heard Aunt Bee in real life was not a very pleasant person. I read where her and Andy did not get along…actually, that she didn’t get along with many on the show. Anyone else hear this?

    • TMac says:

      I believe she was a bit of a moody type, but you’re right – she didn’t care much for Andy by his own admission. Not familiar with her relationship with the rest of the cast.

      • Diane says:

        I remember hearing Ron Howard say years ago that he was in Silar City and stopped by her house to see her. Who ever answered the door came back and said that she did not wish to talk to him. I always thought that was rather cold given that he had worked closely with her for so many years, even if it was when he was a kid. But she was getting up in years and perhaps did not look or feel very good and maybe she just didn’t want him to see her.

    • mom of 3 says:

      Yes it was true that Andy and Aunt Bee “in real life” did not suit each others pallet! But after many years of playing a women without anyone of her own, how would you treat other cast members? They did not portray her as a very bright individual. I will never know what the real beef was, as most of us won’t! This show was still a huge part of many decades of people! It was something that my 21 and 18 year old daughters have even enjoyed watching with me, seeing that I have the 8 year box set and will watch it when I am 85! 47 now and I can’t wait to watch with grandbabies one day! Well done no matter what happened behind the set! <3 LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!!!! <3

    • Phyllis Eubanks says:

      I did, and found it hard to believe!

    • Kdog says:

      Yes– Thats why they called her “Aunt Beeeeotch” on the set….

  4. Steve says:

    One of the finest and under appreciated actors on the show.

    • Pete says:

      Steve, you hit it on the head. Francis Bavier was highly under-rated. She did a masterful job in her role and received very little credit. In the end, I think she was one of the best, if not the best, actors on the show. Andy was always so scripted, it seemed fake, and Barney, while funny, seemed at times so unbelievable. Aunt Bee was the pillar of strength – steady, firm and loving. She made the show. Without her the other two would not have been nearly as successful. Too bad “we” didn’t recognize it at the time.

      • sandy rose says:

        I disagree, I think that the show would not have been so funny and amusing without Barney. Although I have all the seasons on dvd and I always enjoy them I do not watch the 7th and 8th as much because they are void Barney Fife and not as funny to me. Aunt Bea was a wonderful addition to the show but I don’t think she was the main part, I believe without Barney and Andy’s antics the show would not have made so many laugh so much. Oh, and by the way, although a wonderful cook, Aunt Bea couldn’t preserve worth a hoot, her home made pickles tasted of kerosene and her home made marmalade was horrible also. :)

  5. Scott Hall says:

    The Andy Griffith show was, is and will always be the best show ever to air on television. The junk they show on tv these days with all its made up “reality” and drama doesn’t hold a candle to the wholesome homespun humor of the Andy Griffith Show. We need more shows like this on tv these days and less of the junk that is so popular with the Hollywood crowd.

  6. Russ in SB says:

    I read Andy sometime after TAGS ended that he regretted his poor relationship with Ms. Bavier and wish he would have been able to befriend her. I never read anything regarding her relationships with other cast members.

    I also read that she stayed in her trailer until she was called to the set. I think she was a private person — not outgoing like many actresses.

  7. Stephen Krause says:

    Frances Bavier was a terrific actress. She could even speak volumes with her facial expressions alone. I’ve scoured the Internet in search of interviews with her and could only find one, which I’ve posted below. It’s interesting to see her out of character. Hope you enjoy it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyhkr9nI88k

  8. Brenda says:

    I have watched ” The Andy Griffith Show ” for years. I would get up early as 4:30 A.M. to watch on Cable Television. I still watch all the shows at 10:00 P.M. on channel 30. Although I have seen about every episode, I still look forward to watching it every night.There will never be a show compare to this show. I got my 13 year old nephew to watching Andy. The Love, Respect & Honor protrayed in this show is Awesome. We need more shows on the air like this.

  9. Shira says:

    Aunt Bee must have been married & was the wife of Andy’s uncle.That would explain why her name was also Taylor. In the first episode she stated how she she had raised her own & was now looking forward to helping Andy with Opie. If you notice, she always wore a wedding band, too.
    As for their off-air relationship, I did hear that she contacted Andy not too long before her death & apologized for her behavior and their strained relationship.

    • Melanie says:

      It never did explain the relationship fully between Andy and Aunt Bee. I never noticed the ring…but she could have also been Andy’s father’s sister. THAT would also explain why her name was Taylor. As for Frances’s relationship with Andy, I hope they did talk before she passed.

  10. Ted says:

    A friend of mine has her personal car that belonged to Aunt Bee and purchased it after her death. Still has it in a barn.

  11. Steve Krause says:

    Ted, is the car a Studebaker? I believe I read where she owned one of those just before her death.

  12. Mary Hynes says:

    I was shocked to read and see/hear in a video of a news reported interviewing Aunt Bee about her off screen relationship with Andy, which was not good. Both actors admitting to not really caring for the other in “real life.”

    Now, as far as the Andy Griffith Show…I LOVE IT!! I still watch in every weekday at noon. Today for instance, it relaxed me and took me back to simpler times in my life, a time that I would take back in a heartbeat. The show was/is still a very good example of how to respect one another, learn from mistakes made and what real friendship is all about. The story-line between Andy and Opie to this day can and should set an example on how to raise a child, things can still be a lot simpler than we make them.

    I will never stop watching this show. I had the awesome pleasure of being able to visit Mount Airey for the first time this past July, I had the best time ever!!

    • sandy rose says:

      What i think is so awesome is that generation after generation enjoy and watch the show. I am 52 and I grew up with the show, my boyfriend is 30 and he enjoys the show as much as I and watches with me and laughs at the same episodes over and over, his favorite is the loaded goat. My favorite is the pickle story and Barneys sidecar.

  13. Phyllis Eubanks says:

    I love everyone on Andy,, I’m still watching them, it would be so nice if Lucedale ms. Could be like that show! I guess that times were tough even in their day! Thanks and God Bless!

  14. Phyllis Eubanks says:

    Oh yeah ~~~~> what was Andy’s wife’s name? Iv never found our! Thanks!!

  15. Julie from Texas says:

    Out of respect for the deceased, I think it would be nice to speak words of kindness concerning Frances Bavier. My grandma used to have a saying, “Believe none of what you hear, and only half of what you see”… :) I prefer to think the best of “Aunt Bee”…her character certainly has given me much to smile about….may she rest in peace.

  16. Phil says:

    Recently visited her grave site in Siler City. Someone had even placed a couple jars of pickles by her headstone. Was rather sad though to think she had no kin to be resting beside her.

  17. Sheryl from NC says:

    I think Frances Bavier was a great actress. She reminds me so much of my own grandmother. She gave The Andy Griffith Show a touch of heart-felt warmth. I’ve heard that she didn’t appreciate the “language” used on the set and that is probably why she reacted the way she did sometimes. Regardless of her personal feelings, she played the role of Aunt Bee perfectly. Rest in peace, Aunt Bee…

  18. Ben says:

    The Andy Griffith show has been a big part of my life for many years. I really don’t care how the people were in there personal life. All I care about is the joy that the show has always brought me, and still does. I have the set of DVDs and books on the the show. I only wish that TV was still like it was then. My thanks to the actors of the Andy Griffith show. Job well done.

  19. Becky Brown says:

    I am 57 years old with a 37 year-old son who is as big a fan of TAGS as I am, thank goodness. The Andy Griffith show is the ONLY show on television that has been passed on down through generations (yeah, already, right?), and to my knowledge, the LONGEST running show (rerun-wise) EVER! Besides my own late father, Andy Griffith was my second hero! RIP Andy and all the rest. You will NEVER be forgotten!

  20. Teresa says:

    I would never judge anybody on hearsay. I’m sure I don’t know the whole story. And I’m also sure that sometimes people get reputations that are undeserved. Some get a good reputation that they don’t deserve and some get a bad rep. that they don’t deserve. And I know what it’s like to have people spread rumors about me that are either untrue or are only half true and if the listener knew they whole story they wouldn’t be so quick to judge.

  21. Gloria K. says:

    I thought Aunt Bee was the best actor on that show. I have to admit, however, that on occasion her voice was like hearing fingernails on a blackboard. Barney overacted although he was funny at times. Andy’s acting was so subtle that he made it look like he wasn’t acting. From what I’ve read he wasn’t at ALL like Andy Taylor, which tells me he was a terrific actor. I never understood why Barney got the Emmys and Andy didn’t even get one.

  22. Stranger in Town says:

    Frances was a stage actor and adjusting to TV, especially show like this, was really different for her. It is true she had some arguments with the writers (over certain lines or story plots) or a director or even the cast. But you could never tell it from her acting. She was as natural as anyone could be. And though she never married or had children she sure came across as the aunt or grandmother figure. It does make me think of that episode where she had to care for the couple’s infant and the baby cried every time she tried to hold her. Finally she found out that it was her own nervousness that made the baby cry.

  23. deepwaterescue4u says:

    I have watched every show many times over and still watch them today, I remember them from when I was a kid in the 60s and 70s now I have dvds of the show and still watch them, Andy is the best cop in the world and those were the simple days…

  24. Mike says:

    Dr Jeckel and Mr Hyde would describe her very well on and off stage. Everyone loved her on the show. However, she didn’t get along with any of the other actors. When she retired and moved to Siler City she lived very near me, Many times, if you attempted to speak to her you would think it was Saten dressed as a woman, the olny person she got along with was the old gentleman who was her care taker. The car she drove on the show ws her personal car, she had about 4o cats in her home and when she passed away they just junked the car because it was so filthy from the cats. She certainly was a Great role model on the show, something we need more of today, and that is the way we should all remember her because she wasn’t such a great role model in real life.

  25. Libby says:

    Does anyone know what happened to Andy’s TV show wife? I don’t remember ever wathing an episode that made comment to her except for someone just saying that she had passed away. But never said how or why or what happened.
    Just wondering….Libby

  26. I absolutely love The Andy Griffith Show! Barney was my favorite. When he left the show lost it’s heart and soul! It just wasn’t the same. I still watch them when I can find them. As for Andy and Aunt Bea, I had heard the stories also, so I guess there was some truth there, but it didn’t seem to affect the show. That says volumes to me about their acting abilities! My favorite episode is when Barney bought the old woman’s car. I can still see that expression on his face when he took everyone for a ride in it! Priceless!

  27. Marv says:

    Most of the info in the site is about the “character” and all of it is common knowledge to us devoted fans. I would prefer more articles about the “real” life of the actors. Frances was a very accomplished performer and I’ve seen her in several older movies on AMC and Turner Classic Movies.

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