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Frances Elizabeth Bavier (December 14, 1902 – December 6, 1989) was an American stage and television actress. Originally from New York theatre, Bavier worked in film and television from the 1950s. She is best known for her role of Aunt Bee on The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry R.F.D. from 1960–70. Aunt Bee logged more Mayberry years (ten) than any other character. She won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Comedy Actress for the role in 1967.
Bavier in 1964.
|Born||Frances Elizabeth Bavier
December 14, 1902
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
|Died||December 6, 1989
Siler City, North Carolina, U.S.
|Resting place||Oakwood Cemetery, Siler City, North Carolina, U.S.|
|Alma mater||Columbia University
American Academy of Dramatic Arts
|Known for||The Andy Griffith Show
Early life and careerEdit
Born in New York City in a brownstone on Gramercy Park to Charles S., a stationary engineer, and Mary S. (née Birmingham) Bavier, Frances originally planned to become a teacher after attending Columbia University. She first appeared in vaudeville, later moving to the Broadway stage.
After graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1925, she was cast in the stage comedy The Poor Nut. Bavier's big break came in the original Broadway production of On Borrowed Time. She later appeared with Henry Fonda in the play Point of No Return.
Bavier had roles in more than a dozen films, as well as playing a range of supporting roles on television. Career highlights include her turn as Mrs. Barley in the classic 1951 film The Day the Earth Stood Still. In 1955, she played the rough and tough "Aunt Maggie" Sawtelle, a frontier Ma Barker-type character, in the Lone Ranger episode "Sawtelle's Saga End". In the episode, she fights with Tonto while the Lone Ranger battles with her nephew. At the conclusion, Tonto says that he would like to trade opponents next time. In 1957, she played Nora Martin, mother to Eve Arden's character on The Eve Arden Show, despite the fact that Arden was only 6 or 7 years younger than Bavier. That same year, Bavier guest-starred in the eighth episode of Perry Mason as Louise Marlow in "The Case of the Crimson Kiss".
She was in an episode of Make Room for Daddy, which featured Andy Griffith as Andy Taylor and Ron Howard as Opie Taylor. She played a character named Henrietta Perkins. The episode led to The Andy Griffith Show, and Bavier was cast in the new role of Aunt Bee. Bavier had a love-hate relationship with her famous role during the run of the show. As a New York City actress, she felt her dramatic talents were being overlooked, yet after playing Bee for eight seasons, she was the only original cast member to remain with the series in the spin-off, Mayberry R.F.D., for two additional seasons.
In contrast to her character, Bavier was easily offended on the set, and the production staff took a very cautious approach when communicating with her. Series star Andy Griffith once admitted the two clashed sometimes during the series' long run. In an April 24, 1998, appearance on Larry King Live, Griffith said Bavier phoned him four months before she died and apologized for being "difficult" during the series' run.
Bavier won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Comedy in 1967.
In 1972, Bavier retired from acting and bought a home in Siler City, North Carolina. On choosing to live in North Carolina instead of her native New York, Bavier said, "I fell in love with North Carolina, all the pretty roads and the trees." Bavier never married or had children. Somewhat awkward in one-on-one relationships, she was nonetheless altruistic at heart. According to a 1981 article by Chip Womick, a staff writer of The Courier Tribune, Bavier enthusiastically promoted Christmas and Easter Seal Societies from her Siler City home, and often wrote inspirational letters to fans who sought autographs.
On November 22, 1989, Bavier was admitted to Chatham Hospital, where she was kept in the coronary care unit for two weeks. She was discharged on December 4, 1989, and died at her home two days later, eight days before her 87th birthday. The immediate causes of death were listed as congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction, coronary artery disease, and atherosclerosis, with supporting factors being breast cancer, arthritis, and COPD. Upon her death, she was found to have had 14 cats and worn furniture, fixtures, and carpet. She was described "...as living a sparse life in her latter years, a very quiet life".  Bavier is interred at Oakwood Cemetery in Siler City. Her headstone includes the name of her most famous role, "Aunt Bee" and reads, "To live in the hearts of those left behind is not to die."
|1931||Girls About Town||Joy|
|1951||The Day the Earth Stood Still||Mrs. Barley|
|1952||The Lady Says No||Aunt Alice Hatch|
|1952||Bend of the River||Mrs. Prentiss||Alternative title: Where the River Bends|
|1952||Sally and Saint Anne||Mrs. Kitty "Mom" O'Moyne|
|1952||My Wife's Best Friend||Mrs. Chamberlain|
|1952||Horizons West||Martha Hammond|
|1952||Stooge, TheThe Stooge||Mrs. Rogers|
|1953||Man in the Attic||Helen Harley|
|1956||Bad Seed, TheThe Bad Seed||Woman in dinner party scene||Uncredited|
|1958||A Nice Little Bank That Should Be Robbed||Mrs. Solitaire||Alternative title: How to Rob a Bank|
|1959||It Started with a Kiss||Mrs. Tappe|
|1974||Benji||Lady with cat|
|1952||Racket Squad||Martha Carver||1 episode|
|Gruen Guild Playhouse||Sarah Cummings||2 episodes|
|1953||Hallmark Hall of Fame||Lou Bloor||1 episode|
|City Detective||Various roles||3 episodes|
|Letter to Loretta||Various roles||3 episodes|
|Dragnet||Hazel Howard||3 episodes|
|1954||Pepsi-Cola Playhouse, TheThe Pepsi-Cola Playhouse||Thelma||2 episodes|
|It's a Great Life||Mrs. Amy Morgan||62 episodes|
|1955||Lone RangerThe Lone Ranger||Aunt Maggie Sawtelle||1 episode|
|1955||Soldiers of Fortune||Amelia Lilly||1 episode|
|1955||Damon Runyon Theater||1 episode|
|1955||Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Revenge||Mrs. Fergusen||1 episode|
|1956||Lux Video Theatre||1 episode|
|1956||Cavalcade of America||Mrs. Hayes||1 episode|
|1957||Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre||1 episode|
|1957||General Electric Theater||Miss Trimingham||1 episode|
|1957||Perry Mason||Louise Marlow||1 episode|
|Eve Arden Show, TheThe Eve Arden Show||Mrs. Nora Martin||5 episodes|
|1958||Colgate Theatre||1 episode|
|1959||Ann Sothern Show, TheThe Ann Sothern Show||Mrs. Wallace||1 episode|
|1959||Thin Man, TheThe Thin Man||1 episode|
|1959||Sugarfoot||Aunt Nancy Thomas||1 episode|
|1959||Wagon Train||Sister Joseph||1 episode - "The Sister Rita Story"|
|1959||77 Sunset Strip||Grandma Fenwick||1 episode|
|1960||Danny Thomas Show, TheThe Danny Thomas Show||Henrietta Perkins||1 episode|
|1960||Rawhide||Ellen Ferguson||1 episode|
|Andy Griffith Show, TheThe Andy Griffith Show||Aunt Beatrice "Bee" Taylor||175 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Comedy Series (1967)
|1967||Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.||Aunt Bee Taylor||1 episode|
|Mayberry R.F.D.||Aunt Bee Taylor||24 episodes|
- "Childhood Jealousy Leads Frances Bavier to Stage". The Ogden Standard-Examiner: pg. 13. June 26, 1936.
- "Frances Bavier Dead; TV Performer Was 86". The New York Times. 1989-12-08. Retrieved 2009-05-14.
- Carp, Randy. "Aunt Bee: Sex Symbol and Diva?". Fans Pages. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
- Kelly, Richard Michael (1985). The Andy Griffith Show. pp. 13–14. ISBN 0-89587-043-6.
- "The cast of 'Griffith Show' mourns Frances Bavier". Chicago Tribune. December 8, 1989. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
- "'Andy Griffith' Aunt Bee Recluse in Final Years". Los Angeles Times. January 17, 1990. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
- Frances Bavier death certificate, autopsyfiles.org; accessed September 28, 2016.
- Hoffman, James L.; Grizzle, Ralph (2007). Day Trips From Raleigh-Durham. Globe Pequot. pp. 184–86. ISBN 0-7627-4543-6.