The Fate of Opie’s Mom on ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Was Revealed in a Completely Different Series

Mustafa Gatollari - Author
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Jan. 11 2024, Published 1:52 p.m. ET

What Happened to Opie’s Mom on 'The Andy Griffith Show?'
Source: Getty Images

The Andy Griffith Show was one of the most successful American sitcoms of all time. Running for a whopping 249 half-hour episodes (90 of which were in color and 159 in black-and-white), it ran from October 1960 to April 1968. And in its final season, it came up on top in the ratings, never dipping below seventh place.

A long-standing question fans of The Andy Griffith Show have had for years now is: What ever happened to Opie's mom?

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What happened to Opie's mom on 'The Andry Griffith Show'?

When the series first debuted, fans were introduced to the father-son duo of Opie and Andy, with no explanation as to why his mom wasn't in the picture. Was Opie Sheriff Andy Taylor's adopted son from a gnarly crime that the man witnessed which left behind an orphan that he decided to care for? Did his mother run out on them after she decided that the small-town life wasn't for them?

The series never really addresses what happens to her during its official run; however, the answer could be found in a "backdoor pilot" in a different series that first introduced the concept of Opie and Andy having their own show together.

"The New Housekeeper" is actually the first episode in The Andy Griffith Show, but this wasn't the aforementioned "backdoor pilot" that spelled out what happened to Opie's mother.

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What Happened to Opie’s Mom on 'The Andy Griffith Show?'
Source: Getty

Sheriff Andy Taylor's character was actually introduced in The Danny Thomas Show in an episode plainly titled "Danny Meets Andy Griffith."

Andy ends up arresting Danny after he runs a stop sign and the majority of the episode takes place in Mayberry Jail.

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While spending time in the small town's holding cells in which Sheriff Andy presides, Danny notices the care Andy takes in speaking to and interacting with his son Opie, leaving a positive impression on the man.

Danny brings it up to Andy who mentions to him that Opie's mother passed away when his son was "the least little speck of a baby."

don knotts, andy griffith
Source: Getty Images
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This led fans of the show to speculate that Opie's mom passed away either while she was in labor delivering him or not long after that.

And while there's no concrete mention of that in The Andy Griffith show or any other mention of what happened to Opie's mother, the fact that the young man doesn't seem to remember her or what his life was like prior to his days in Mayberry with his dad seems to suggest that this is probably what happened.

How old was Aunt Bee on 'The Andy Griffith Show'?

One of the show's major stars, Aunt Bee, was played by Frances Elizabeth Bavier, who was born in New York City in 1902 and ended up earning an Emmy in 1967 for her work on the series.

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Bavier originally planned on becoming a teacher after graduating from Columbia University, but then attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and would end up on Broadway in the show On Borrowed Time which gained her recognition in the industry.

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She'd go on to act with Henry Fonda in Point of No Return and would go on to star in numerous films and TV roles, but she is perhaps best remembered for her work on the long-running sitcom.

Bavier purportedly had a "love-hate relationship" with the series, and Griffith said in an interview with Larry King in 2003 that sometimes he and Bavier would butt heads off-camera.

Opie Taylor was played by acclaimed Hollywood director Ron Howard.

In addition to The Andy Griffith show, Ron Howard was also a main character on another iconic American sitcom: Happy Days.

However, he enjoyed a trajectory in the entertainment career not accomplished by many child actors; he would go on to direct celebrated films like Apollo 13, The Paper, Cocoon, Splash, Rush, Frost/Nixon, Ransom, A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man, Far and Away, Willow, and tons of other successful and memorable films.

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