How did Betty Lynn die? 'The Andy Griffith Show' actress dies at 95 in retirement home
Actress Elizabeth 'Betty' Lynn died at 95 on October 16, 2021, the Andy Griffith Museum confirmed on October 17. A regular member of TV productions in the '50s and '60s, Lynn is best known for her appearances on 'The Andy Griffith Show', where she played Thelma Lou. Reportedly, Lynn died in Mount Airy, North Carolina, the city that is home to the Andry Griffith Museum.
Lynn isn't the only actress fans are mourning this year. Over the course of 2021, we've lost several notable stars like 'Black Panther' star Dorothy Steel, Cynthia Harris, and Disney child star Tommy Kirk, best known for appearing in 'Old Yeller'. As we also previously reported, filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles died on September 21.
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The Andy Griffith Museum announced Lynn's death but provided very few details. At the time of reporting, her family has not provided a statement either, so there's not much we know at the moment. But here's what we do know.
How did Betty Lynn die?
In their statement, the Andy Griffith Museum simply said Lynn passed away after a "brief illness". They noted she "died peacefully" but did not go into detail about what that illness was. Over the past few years, Lynn has maintained a very low profile, only appearing in public at the museum to sign autographs and meet fans. Otherwise, she lived at a retirement home nearby and rarely made the news.
Lynn moved to Mount Airy in 2006 after retiring from showbiz, reportedly because her house in Los Angeles was burgled twice. But before that, she made quite a name for herself appearing in shows like 'Tales of Wells Fargo', 'Texas John Slaughter', 'Family Affair', and 'Wagon Train'. She also appeared in numerous films like 'Gun for a Coward' and 'Mother Is a Freshman'.
The museum announced that a private burial service is planned in Culver City. It is unclear why Lynn is being buried there, given that she has no known public connections to the city. The actress was born in Kansas City, Missouri, before working on Broadway and eventually in Hollywood. For fans wishing to mourn the star, a memorial service is in the works, with details to be announced at a later date. The museum also asks that instead of flowers, fans make donations to the Betty Lynn Scholarship Endowment or the Barbara and Emmett Forrest Endowment Fund, or any charity of their choice.
Her last known public appearance was in 2016 when Lynn was presented with North Carolina's highest civilian honor - the Order of the Long Leaf Pine - by the then- Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest. Between the 1940s and 80s, Lynn appeared in several films and TV shows, but perhaps no single character is as well linked to her as that of Thelma Lou. Although it was just 26 episodes, it became a lifelong connection for Lynn.