Frances Bavier struggled to turn Aunt Bee off while at home
When show business got tough, Bavier went shopping!
Aunt Bee is everyone's favorite, especially in Mayberry. Frances Bavier played the role of Aunt Bee for a total of eight seasons. Many fans fell in love with her in The Andy Griffith Show.
Bavier, however, had a complicated relationship with Aunt Bee. Bavier grew up in New York, where her background was mostly theater. She made the leap to TV in 1952. The transition proved to be challenging for her.
Even Bavier, who was loved by many, often felt alone.
"Whenever I feel lonely out here, I just go out shopping in a supermarket," she said in an interview with The Daily Record. "Somebody will always look at me, smile and say 'Why, hello, you're Aunt Bee!'"
During her time on The Andy Griffith Show, she became TV's idea of what a perfect mother and aunt should look like, but Bavier didn't feel as though she lived up to that standard in her everyday life.
"It's terribly difficult, you know, because Aunt Bee is so much nicer than the real me," she said. "Unlike plays in which you play a character only a couple of hours each night, you must be a television character 12 hours per day. Even when you go home people don't recognize you as you - but for the character you play. It can be awfully confusing."
Bavier hired a psychiatrist to help her find ways to turn off Aunt Bee at home. She said it would help her seperate the "real" from "fantasy."
"You can't be an actress for 40 years, living in a world of make-believe and not be affected," Bavier said in an interview with The Tennessean. "Sooner or later your mind begins the click and in my case, you are wise to seek professional help."
Despite the feeling of loneliness the job sometimes brought her, she said working with the cast was rewarding. Bavier said she had only admiration for Andy and the regular cast members. Ron Howard, who played Opie, is an example of Bavier's affection towards fellow cast members on The Andy Griffith Show.
"I treat him like an adult," she said. "He is an equal and I often take pointers from him on how to play a scene."
Even though Hollywood may have been hard for Bavier at times, she left a legacy by playing Aunt Bee, and for that we thank her.