The Heartbreaking Death Of The Andy Griffith Show Star Betty Lynn

Actress Betty Lynn, best known for her role as Barney Fife's girlfriend Thelma Lou on "The Andy Griffith Show" died on Saturday, October 16th (via CNN). The Andy Griffith Museum, where Lynn served as an ambassador and made regular appearances to sign autographs and speak with fans, announced the news. Lynn was 95 years old and died "after a short illness" in a retirement home in Mount Airy, North Carolina, Andy Griffith's birthplace and the town that served as the inspiration for the fictional town of Mayberry, where "The Andy Griffith Show" is set (via The Hollywood Reporter).

At the time of her death, Lynn was working on an autobiography which is now expected to be released posthumously, according to the Andy Griffith Museum (via NBC). Lynn is survived by several cousins, and a memorial for her will take place in Culver City, California. More details are expected to be released at a later date.

Betty Lynn started performing at 5 years old

Betty Lynn got her start in performing well before her turn as the beloved Thelma Lou on "The Andy Griffith Show." Lynn's mother, Elizabeth, was a performer with the Chicago Opera and enrolled Lynn in the Kansas Conservatory of Music at the age of 5 (via The Hollywood Reporter). At 18 years old, Lynn started performing with the USO, performing for soldiers from New York to China, India, and Burma. Her big break came eight months into her time at the USO, when she performed in the comedy "Park Avenue," after which she signed with Fox and began her on-screen career.

Lynn had a steady string of television and film roles before her first appearance as Thelma Lou. Her first on-screen role was in the 1948 sitcom "Sitting Pretty," and she went on to appear in productions including "June Bride" starring Bette Davis, and ABC's "Where's Raymond?"

 In 1961, Lynn made her first appearance on "The Andy Griffith Show" where she stayed for six years, eventually reprising her role in the TV movie "Return to Mayberry," in which her character Thelma Lou finally married her sweetheart Barney Fife (via NBC).