Frances Bavier was ''adopted'' by her Andy Griffith Show family

Bavier's chosen family loved her just as much as they loved Aunt Bee.

Image credit: The Everett Collection

Everyone loved Aunt Bee. That's a fact. And although many would never want to taste her famous pickle recipe, most would have loved the opportunity to sit down and have dinner with her.

Whether she was making Andy and Barney try her "famous" pickles, making pies and auctioning them off, having flings with the men of Mayberry, or running for city council; Aunt Bee was never boring.

Frances Bavier played the role of Aunt Bee for eight seasons in the hit series The Andy Griffith Show (1968). She was perfect for the part, and in real life, Bavier had just as much love for Aunt Bee as everyone else did. 

Her character was warm and good-natured and was a key figure in the lives of Opie, Andy, and Barney. However, their love for each other didn't stop when the cameras quit rolling. Bavier found a family in real life thanks to Mayberry.

According to a 1961 interview with the Hartford Courant, Bavier said she spent her whole life trying to get adopted — and not in the traditional sense, but by her own chosen family.

"But no one ever adopted me before," Bavier said. "I started out playing an aunt to a little boy I had not known. And now I feel like a member of the family."

According to the interview, even off-screen little Ron Howard would address Bavier as Aunt Bee. She had a real role in his life whether she wanted it or not — Howard was falling in love with Aunt Bee just like the rest of the country. It was hard not to.

Bavier said that when Howard celebrated his seventh birthday on the set of the series, the cast and crew surprised him with a jungle gym and swing set — every kid's dream — and Bavier was the first person he wanted to share his gift with.

"Now mind you, he thanked everyone for the present," Bavier said. "He's a very mannerly little boy. But when he got to me, he climbed into my lap and invited me to come over and swing with him. I think he has truly adopted me at last."

Although Bavier said she didn't try out the swings— she isn't the type— she did appreciate how important she was to Howard. She said she would regularly have dinner with Howard and his family. 

She added: "They feel like family."

Watch The Andy Griffith Show on MeTV!

Weeknights at 8 & 8:30, Sundays at 6 & 6:30 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

12 Comments

briandavidsmith263 1 month ago
TILL I LEFT HOME A FEW YRS AGO I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN CALLED OPIE WHEN I WAS YOUNGER I DID LOOK LIKE OPIE FOR OVER 50 YRS PEOPLE IN MY CITY WOULD CALL ME OPIE I WILL ALWAYS BE GREATFUL TO RONNY HOWARD HE IS ABOUT MY AGE NOW
DTL1962 1 month ago
I read that Francis Bavier was always hard to get along with and that she always felt that she was above the character of “Aunt Bee” and that her and Andy Griffith always butted heads so who knows what the truth is.
Runeshaper 1 month ago
Family and the feeling of family is so important and be extremely uplifting.
cperrynaples 1 month ago
Obviously that shot came from the episode where Aunt Bee took flying lesions! Bavier WASN'T a pilot, she didn't even drive in her final years!
Lessons NOT lesions! No one wants boils on their body...LOL!
Irish 1 month ago
After reading some of the comments, I too, remember reading that Frances wasn't the warmest person and sometimes very hard to get along with. I can't remember if I read it on one of these stories, or maybe Wikipedia??
Andybandit 1 month ago
I thought I read that she wasn't nice to get along with, also. I guess I miss read it.
MrsPhilHarris 1 month ago
Nice story although I thought I read she was kind of cold or remote. 🤔 Maybe I got that wrong.
Well, it is well known she didn't get along with Andy, which is proably why she wasn't in RTM!
I think she was dead by then.
DZee MrsPhilHarris 1 month ago
No she was still alive...but ailing.
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?