The Awkward Reason Why Ellie Suddenly Disappeared From 'The Andy Griffith Show'

Gina Vaynshteyn - Author

May 13 2020, Updated 9:42 p.m. ET

what happened ellie andy griffith
Source: CBS

Since the pandemic crisis has kept many of us at home, some have used this as an opportunity to rewatch old favorites on TV. Shows like The Andy Griffith Show, which aired in the '60s, provide a sense of familiarity and comfort, which is much needed in times like these. Plus, when you rewatch a show, you spot details that you may have missed the first time. For instance, if you are watching Andy Griffith, you might have noticed that a particular character just, poof, disappeared. We're talking about pharmacist Ellie Walker, who had a pretty prominent role in Season 1.

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What happened to Ellie on Andy Griffith?

Ellie helped her uncle Fred at Walker's Drugstore in Mayberry and she eventually starts dating Andy Taylor. However, the episode "The Guitar Player Returns" was her last. Her character mysteriously disappeared without any kind of explanation for the viewers. The actress, Elinor Donahue, later admitted that she felt like she and Andy Griffith didn't have enough chemistry to portray a believable couple on screen, so she decided to leave the show. Andy later took the blame and said he wasn't very good at showing affection while being filmed.

elinor donahue
Source: Getty Images
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In fact, in a YouTube video, we learn that the writers had a lot of trouble writing lines for Andy because he "had so much trouble in a romantic setting." The series tried with other actresses, like the ones who played Peggy (Joanna Moore) and Helen (Aneta Corsaut), but it was difficult to make the relationships look natural. 

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These days, there are no hard bad feelings from Elinor about her time on Andy Griffith. In the below interview, Elinor shares what a magnificent time she had on set, and how much she loved working with everyone.

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What else was Elinor in?

Elinor, now 83 years old, went on to have an extremely successful career in both television and film. According to her IMDb page, she played Mariam in The Odd Couple, Kate Honeycutt in Days of Our Lives, had a small role in Pretty Woman, and much more.

Source: Getty Images

While Ellie isn't the first character to mysteriously disappear from a TV show (after it happened with Chuck Cunningham in Happy Days, they called doing this the Chuck Cunningham Syndrome), it can still feel unnerving to abruptly see them go without any explanation. At least now we know what happened. We just wish poor Ellie had been given a better send-off — her character certainly deserved it!

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