Julie Adams saw the simple life as a thing of beauty

Sheriff Andy's one-time sweetheart was a beauty queen who grew up loving all things wholesome.

"That's real sweet of you to help me out," Nurse Mary Simpson tells Sheriff Andy in a thick country accent during The Andy Griffith Show episode "The Country Nurse."

Andy's just volunteered to help the nurse convince the farmers to take a tetanus shot that they're all avoiding.

"You're a dear," Mary says, thanking the sheriff with a kiss on the cheek.

Andy unleashes that huge grin of his and makes a plan to meet Mary to ride out to see the farmers together.

Right after she leaves, Sheriff Andy confirms to Barney that he wasn't just doing his sheriff-ly duty by offering to help. He's possibly falling in love.

"That there is a fine girl!" Andy says. "Yessir! That's a fine girl!"

For the role of Mary Simpson, The Andy Griffith Show cast Julie Adams, a former beauty pageant winner best known for her 1954 role as the scream queen in Creature from the Black Lagoon.

What you may not know is that Julie Adams is a stage name, and the actor's real name and backstory sound a lot like a character plucked right out of Mayberry.

Before she became "Julie Adams," the beauty queen was born as Betty May Adams. Her dad was a cotton buyer who moved his family about the country a lot, but young Betty May spent the longest stretch of her youth in a small town called Blytheville, Arkansas.

In 1960, Adams talked about her country upbringing during an interview with The Valley Times.

The Valley TimesJulie Adams in The Valley Times, 1960

She said growing up, she loved Southern-style dishes like black-eyed peas and ham hocks with cornbread and turnip greens. One of her favorite foods was something she called "corn cones." (Google suggests these are basically savory ice cream cones stuffed with tinned corn, beans, and whatever other fillings were in the pantry.)

This simple upbringing led Adams to enjoy the simple things later in life. Even after she became a famous actor, she still preferred "plain cooking" and hanging around with old friends to a flashier nightlife with A-list celebrities.

Dubbed "the soul of simplicity" in the article, Adams confirmed she hated being made to go out nightclubbing and preferred instead to gather a group of friends together for a game of charades or Twenty Questions.

Mirroring a scene we saw on Andy's porch in Mayberry at the end of many episodes, Adams said she enjoyed what she called "conversation parties."

She said that's where a group of friends come together for "tall talk," which if you don't know, is a country concept where friends are known to be embellishing or exaggerating the stories they're telling for the enjoyment of those gathered.

In fact, Adams' life so closely mirrors Mayberry that when the reporter went to visit Adams, they found her not inside her home, but on her patio, sitting around enjoying a glass of milk with her son Steven. In the accompanying photo, Steven looks about Opie's age, maybe 6 or 7.

Glamorous in movies, Adams had no need for frivolities at home and she had a phrase for this frequent activity she was sharing on the patio with her son. She said they were taking a "milk break."

Did you ever take "milk breaks" or eat "corn cones" like Julie Adams growing up?

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Therok1958 40 months ago
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ASperos 40 months ago
She would have made a great wife for Andy and a wonderful Mom for Opie!!!
Maverick66 40 months ago
What I remember most from the episode with Julie Adams as the counry nurse is the song that Andy sang for Rafe Hollister that convinced him to take his shot. ("Dig my grave with a silver spade . . .).
Mark091 40 months ago
JULIE ADAMS and SUE ANN LANGDON both did an excellent job of playing MARY SIMPSON on TAGS.
It's too bad that Julie Adams and
Sue Ann Langdon both played
MARY SIMPSON for one episode
Only. It's also too bad that
Ellie WALKER (Elinor Donahue)
Left TAGS after season one and
Joanna Moore played Peggy McMillan
For 4 episodes only.
cseeley90 Mark091 40 months ago
There wasn't much chemistry between Ellie and Andy. Helen Crump was a much better match for Andy.
Andybandit 40 months ago
Interesting story. She was a pretty lady.
DethBiz 40 months ago
Was such a joy to meet with Ricou Browning on the Convention circuit. You can always tell who really wants to be there.
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