R.I.P. Arlene Golonka, love interest to both Howard and Sam in Mayberry

The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry R.F.D. actress was 85.

Read to Me

The 1967 film Thoroughly Modern Millie told the tale of a small-town girl living in New York City and hoping to marry for money. That same year, another Millie was working in a Mayberry bakery, and she was content to stay in her small town and settle for the humble Howard Sprague, thank you very much.

Arlene Golonka played Millie Hutchins in two episodes of The Andy Griffith Show. Her role evolved into Millie Swanson on Mayberry R.F.D., which was essentially the same character. Remember, Mayberry names, from "Goober Beasley" to Barney's middle initial, were known to be rather fluid. In the spin-off, the bubbly blonde was still working the counter in the bakery, only she was now dating Sam Jones.

Golonka began her career in serious stage dramas. She studied under titans of theater such as Lee Strasberg, Uta Hagen and Sanford Meisner, some of the pioneers of "method acting." A member of The Actors Studio, Golonka acted in productions alongside Kirk Douglas (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) and Jackie Gleason (Take Me Along). She starred in Neil Simon's first play, Come Blow Your Horn.

The Chicago native also excelled at comedy. In 1965, Golonka appeared as an ensemble performer on the hit comedy album You Don't Have to Be Jewish. The title was a nod to a marketing slogan for Levy's Rye Bread — "You Don't Have to be Jewish to love Levy's!"

You Don't Have to Be Jewish climbed the Billboard charts all the way to No. 9, thanks to skits like "A Call From Long Island" and "The Luncheon." Both prominently featured Golonka.

At the time, Golonka happened to be living with a rather talented roommate — Valerie Harper. Golonka helped her roomie land a gig on both the You Don't Have to Be Jewish sequel album and with the Second City comedy troupe in Chicago.

Golonka made the move to television and found the most success and screen time in Mayberry. She did later appear as a nurse on M*A*S*H, Nurse Edwina 'Eddie' Ferguson, in "Edwina."

In the 1990s, Golonka reunited with her old Mayberry pal Andy Griffith for two episodes of Matlock. She played a character named Jackie in both — but just like Millie, they had different names.

On May 31, Golonka passed away in West Hollywood, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She was 85.

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Pilaf 4 days ago
I always had a problem with actresses that used a "little girl" voice and seemingly channeled Marilyn Monroe's childlike woman. It worked for Marilyn, but not so much for the others who attempted to copy her "ditzy/dumb blonde" personna. Producers found this adorable, endearing. I found it off-putting & annoying. Loved Judy Holliday, who could play this kind of character, but let you know that she was sharp as a tack.
Henry30 8 days ago
It's hard to believe that so much time has passed since shows like those graced by the presence of actresses like Arlene Golonka and that so many of them are no longer with us. This serves as a reminder that life goes by quickly and that we should all take the time to remain happy while enjoying it. My condolences to her surviving family members as well as to those who loved and admired her. Rest in peace, sister.
Mark091 10 days ago
Millie Hutchins was a wonderful
Girlfriend for Howard Sprague (Jack
Dodson) and as Millie Swanson was
A fantastic. Girlfriend for San Jones
On Mayberry RFD and Arlene Golonka
Did a great acting job as Millie Hutchins and Millie Swanson.
Millie didn't get mad at Sam Jones
On Mayberry RFD as many times
As Ellie Walker Elinor Donahue
Peggy Macmillan Joanna Moore
And Helen Crump Aneta Corsair
Got mad at Andy Taylor on TAGS.
I believe that Arlene Golonka s
Personality was very similar to
Millie Hutchins-Swanson.
RIP ARLENE GOLONKA and
JACK BURNS (Warren Ferguson on
The Andy Griffith Show).
When Arlene Golonka and Jack Burns
Arrived In Heaven then Heaven
Gained two wonderful persons .
Mark091 Mark091 10 days ago
ANETA CORSAUT played
Helen Crump on The Andy Griffith Show.
jacko3 11 days ago
GOD Bless the Soul of Arlene Golonka ....
JERRY6 12 days ago
So sad reading about all these "old" actors dying off I remember watching them in the 60's most were not much older than i was at the time ,they were and still are so entertaining . I'd rather watch these old shows than 90% of the new crap they are putting out .
Just wish Me tv would rotate a few more shows into the lineup most the shows i've seen 2 or 3 times this year . time to expand the library , if possible
DanielZabo JERRY6 12 days ago
I agree JERRY6, I too love watching the old classics better than all this new garbage propaganda they try to peddle. It’s nowhere near as simple and down to earth as the classics. Nothing against today’s subject matter but it’s just not for me. Besides I think it’s just virtue signaling at best.
TVFF 13 days ago
Arlene was one of my secret crushes. Very beautiful and very talented.
MaryHelen 13 days ago
she was a favorite of mine-- missed the news of her death; i remember to my suprise, she played with clint eastwood in one of his westerns-- small role-- in bed with him as a prostitute!!
BrittReid MaryHelen 12 days ago
That would be 'Hang Em High'. She was a cutie with a super special voice. R.I.P. Arlene.
teire 13 days ago
She was a sweetheart, came across as very down to earth. Great voice. Thoughts and thank yous.
Lojagu 13 days ago
RIP! I had a crush on her for many years. Dear MeTV, you didn’t show a Mayberry RFD marathon in tribute to Ken Berry when he died recently, nor did you hardly include that show in this year’s namesake “Month of Mayberry” which just ended last week. Please do the right thing and show an appropriate and touching tribute to dear Millie by airing a significant Mayberry RFD marathon in honor of her. Why own the rights to that show but never show it?
Sway 13 days ago
Distinctive voice and nice smile, easily recognizable in whatever part she played. RIP Arlene Golonka.
Barry22 13 days ago
RIP. Always liked her. Millie was better off with Sam than Howard.
Tlor 13 days ago
I liked Millie, she was such a sweetheart, both guys she was with in the shows were worthy of her :)
CurleyGirl1018 13 days ago
I remember her on All in the Family as a call girl
Don’t forget her voice role as Debbie on Speed Buggy.
retired2019 13 days ago
RIP in that big bakery in the sky.
Andybandit 14 days ago
How sad that she passed away. She was a good actress.
Peter_Falk_Fan 14 days ago
I was so sad to hear about her death. She was such a joy to watch on TV and in movies. RIP
Mike 14 days ago
Today. I happened to tune in MeTV+, and there was Police Woman.
And in this episode, playing one of the villains, was Arlene Golonka.
And it occurred to me that the two MeTVs and H&I could put together an Arlene Golonka Marathon from their collective inventories: a couple of weeks worth from all the shows in stock, dramas and comedies, sweethearts and femme fatales - this lady could do anything, and always do it well.
Well, guys, there's the suggestion - go for it!
MrsPhilHarris Mike 13 days ago
Police Woman is on Metv?
Wiseguy MrsPhilHarris 12 days ago
Sister station Decades shows it as the weekend binge occasionally.
MrsPhilHarris Wiseguy 12 days ago
Oh rats.🐀 We don’t have Decades.
Yeah I’d rather be watching some police woman myself. Just can’t get enough of the super sexy Angie Dickinson.
My Dad had a thing for Angie.
Mike MrsPhilHarris 12 days ago
MeTV+.
They just started it up; on the antenna, it should be one or two channels over from the mothership.
Mostly cop shows in the afternoon, but in the mornings MeTV+ is running Mayberry RFD.
Because they just got on, you'll probably have to look for it, but it's worth the rescan.
DethBiz 14 days ago
RIP Arlene. Loved her in the 80s movie My Tutor. Also, a RIP to Robert Hogan. Will always remember him from the Gunsmoke Old Man episode.
Wiseguy DethBiz 12 days ago
The character on Hogan's Heroes was named after him. He might have played the part but CBS wanted a bigger name so Bob Crane was hired. Hogan did guest star on the series once.
AnnieBaker DethBiz 10 days ago
I remember Robert Hogan as the diabetic pilot in MASH.
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