We may all know her as sweet-as-apple-pie Aunt Bee from the Andy Griffith Show, but she wanted to be known as simply Frances Bavier. She had felt trapped in a role that defined her as a motherly persona that she had grown to resent with great disdain. She had a thriving career on an off the stage as an actress before landing her iconic role as Aunt Bee but to her fans and critics, she would never lose the moniker.
For a woman as witty, intellectual, and impassioned as Frances Bavier was, being typecasted into a marginalized role felt like a sort of prison. When she finally said goodbye to the show in 1968 she felt liberated. She had finally been released from the prison that was having to be morally upright and kindly Aunt Bee. Or so she thought, as audiences would continue to see her as her character and not who she truly was and wanted to be.
She retired from the television screen and settled into a quaint town in North Carolina, not unlike Mayberry. She spent her remaining years out of the limelight and was happier because of it. In 1986 when she was approached by studio executives inquiring if she would reprise her role for the reunion film “Return to Mayberry” she boisterously declined without hesitation.
Facts Verse will take a closer look at what made Frances Bavier so resentful of her iconic role. Stay tuned to find out the truth behind why Aunt Bee said NO to ” Return to Mayberry”.