Frances Bavier really was one of television’s great ladies – and she forever inscribed herself in the history books as ”Aunt Bee” in the legendary comedy show “The Andy Griffith Show”.
In my opinion, Bavier did a wonderful job with her role in one of the most wholesome TV show series ever made.
But actress, classically trained in New York, was actually so unlike the homespun character she portrayed. Her sophistication and age sometimes put her at odds with the ”kids” on the set.
After ”The Andy Griffith Show” ended, many rumors circulated around the lovable “Aunt Bee” – it was alleged that Frances Bavier was very rude to her colleagues and that she hated her role. Some said that the actress didn’t approve of the joking around and language used behind the scenes.
Her final days of life have been described as tragic – but was that really the whole truth? It turns out that the image of Bavier is much more complicated and more multifaceted than many thought …
Frances Bavier was born in 1902 in Manhattan, New York. Frances’s dad worked as a stationary engineer and her mother was a stay-at-home mom.
As a teenager, Bavier initially intended to become a teacher and went to Columbia University. But her time at university turned into a nightmare for the young woman.
“I was bad there,” Bavier told The Charlotte News, continuing:
“Very bad. Actually, I was terrified. That’s probably the reason I enrolled at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.”
Frances, who had a great interest in theatre and acting, first tried to make a living in vaudeville before giving Broadway stage a try. But the promising actress wanted to further develop her acting and therefore she went to the American Academy of the Arts, graduating in 1925.
Her big break came when she landed a role in the Broadway production of ”On Borrowed Time”. When the United States was drawn into World War II, Bavier traveled with the USO to the Pacific to entertain U.S troops and offer some entertainment in a tough environment.
After the war, the talented and gorgeous Frances then made her television debut in the crime drama series “Racket Squad”, which aired in 1952. After that, things went smoothly for Bavier, who landed several different roles in TV productions and movies.
But her biggest and most significant role was still waiting for her …
Believe it or not – it’s actually not entirely clear if Frances was married or not. There are several different sources that contradict each other, but if we’re to believe Frances herself, she was actually married once.
It has been speculated that her husband was Russel Carpenter, a military man. The marriage is supposed to have lasted between 1928 and 1933.