Frances Bavier became more like Aunt Bee as she got older
Even after she left television, Bavier remained famous.
When we love a character a great deal, it's very easy to blur the lines between reality and screen. It can feel safe to assume that the actor playing the character we know and appreciate shares some of those key personality traits that make the series so appealing. This isn't always true, but for Frances Bavier, her similarities to her character seemed to grow as she got older.
In an article with The Charlotte Observer, several of those close to Bavier spoke of the actress after her passing. Apparently, she would announce to her attorney, Sam Williams, "This is Aunt Bee" when she called him on the telephone.
According to Williams, the high-spirited actress cooled down a bit as she got older, with a personality that was more like the one we saw in Aunt Bee on The Andy Griffith Show. He said, "She got mellow with age." He then stated, "Especially in the last few years, she's been more like Aunt Bee on television."
According to the article, Bavier would spend time with children who were keen to meet her, and in her spare time would sometimes watch reruns of The Andy Griffith Show.
Bavier's neighbor, Baird Pascal, said of her, "She was one of the finest aristocratic ladies I've ever known. She was just a beautiful person that way."
While Bavier was keen on her privacy, she still made a lasting impact on those who met her with her kindness and grace. Sam Williams said, "I remember the day I met her. It was like Pearl Harbor. It was a day you don't forget."