‘The Andy Griffith Show’: The Sad Parts of Aunt Bee’s Life That Fans Didn’t Get to See

The Andy Griffith Show is one of the classics that has stood the test of time. Though it stopped airing in the 1960s, fans still love the show to this day. One of the most beloved characters was sweet Aunt Bee. But there was a lot that went on with Frances Bavier, the actress who played Bee, behind the scenes.

Andy Griffith (as Andy Taylor); Ron Howard (as Opie Taylor) and Frances Bavier (as Aunt Bee Taylor)
Andy Griffith (as Andy Taylor); Ron Howard (as Opie Taylor) and Frances Bavier (as Aunt Bee Taylor) | CBS via Getty Images

Aunt Bee and Andy Griffith didn’t get along

On the show, Bavier portrayed Aunt Bee, the warm woman who helped Andy Taylor raise his son Opie. Aunt Bee and Andy’s love for one another showed through the screen and was one of the most endearing parts of the show. But the real life Andy (Griffith), did not get along with Bavier. The two actually remained locked in a feud until just before Bavier died of congested heart failure.

Frances Bavier didn’t like her character on the show

Though Aunt Bee was beloved onscreen, she didn’t really spend much time hanging around her other castmembers. Griffith was a standup comedian when the show first started. He decided to take his comedy to the set of the show. Throughout filming, Griffith became known as the practical joker of the series, according to Biography.com. He often turned his sights on Don Knotts, who played Barney Fife, as the butt of his jokes. He often called Knotts “Jess” which was short for Jesse, Knotts’ ill-liked first name.

Frances Bavier
Frances Bavier | CBS via Getty Images

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When Griffith would try to turn the joking onto Bavier, it was not well-received. In fact, she was one of the only cast members who did not enjoy the playful nature of Griffith’s joking. According to the outlet, she rarely joined in on any of the jokes or fun that the rest of her coworkers were having.

George Lindsey, who played Goober Pyle, said that one time Bavier got so mad at him for cursing onset of The Andy Griffith Show spinoff Mayberry R.F.D. that she hit him on the head with her umbrella.

Frances Bavier died alone

Though Bavier became very loved for her role as Aunt Bee, she ended up dying alone. She lived her last few years in a dark, “dingy” house, according to the LA Times.

According to residents in Siler City, the town where Bavier resided, she rarely left the house.

“She strikes me as living a sparse life in her latter years, a very quiet life,” Diana Hatch, communications director for University of North Carolina Center for Public Television told the outlet.

Despite not having much human contact, Bavier did have 14 cats to keep her company. She allowed the cats to use a room in the basement and a shower stall as their litter box.

Andy Griffith (as Andy Taylor), Frances Bavier (as Aunt Bee Taylor) | CBS via Getty Images

She reportedly spent most of her time in a back room in her house that only housed a bed, desk, tv, and an end table.

“I think she was a person who obviously valued her privacy. She . . . could have had non-stop fans if she had opened her doors,” said Hatch.

Bavier left her home to a hospital foundation and her belongings to the public television network.