Frances Bavier

Frances Bavier

Actress Frances Bavier performed on Broadway for 25 years before moving to Hollywood and transitioning to film and television, most memorably in a decade-long run as the caring Aunt Bee on "The Andy Griffith Show" and its successor, "Mayberry R.F.D." Born in New York City, she attended Columbia University and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts before taking to the stage, making her Broadway debut in 1925 in "The Poor Nut." She enjoyed continued success before moving West in 1951, landing her first significant film role in the science fiction classic "The Day the Earth Stood Still." Other supporting parts in films followed, including the Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis comedy "The Stooge," before TV came calling with guest spots on various shows as well as a recurring role on the renowned crime drama "Dragnet." Bavier landed her first regular role as the doting keeper of a boarding house on "It's a Great Life," the comedy series about the adventures of two soldiers in peacetime. After that show ran its course, she had a repeating part on "The Eve Arden Show" before beginning her residency on "The Andy Griffith Show." There she played Aunt Bee, taking up housekeeping and cooking duties and acting as mother figure to both Griffith's character his son Opie, played by Ron Howard. Bavier won an Emmy in 1967 for her work on the series, and maintained the role even after Griffith departed and the show changed to "Mayberry R.F.D." Shortly after that show ended, she retreated from Hollywood, retiring to North Carolina.