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Well, his head is always being filled with criminals and sheriffin'. I wouldn't be surprised if at Opie's next birthday party he shoots out the candles.
~ Aunt Bee, worried about Opie.

Beatrice "Aunt Bee" Taylor was a secondary protagonist on The Andy Griffith Show and its successor show Mayberry R.F.D..

She was portrayed by Frances Bavier.

History

Bee was a paternal aunt of Mayberry Sheriff Andy Taylor and the great aunt of Andy's sons Opie and Andy Jr.

Prior to 1960 she had lived several years in Morgantown, West Virginia. When her widowed nephew Andy's housekeeper Rose married and left her position, Bee returned to Mayberry and became housekeeper for Andy and Opie. Opie was opposed to this at first, but later came to treasure his Aunt Bee, who acted as a surrogate mother for Opie as he grew from a child to a teenager.

Bee was actively involved in the community, and was called Aunt Bee by just about everyone in town. She was widely known in Mayberry for her cooking skills, even though some of her individual dishes didn't turn out so well. She would cook for community events, and would bring food to the county jail for Andy, Barney Fife, and any inmates in the jail. She played the piano and sang in both the town choir and at church.

Bee was a teetoaler, being strongly against alcohol due to the negative effects her brother had with the bottle. (It's not revealed if this was Andy's father or another brother).

At first Bee attracted all sorts of ne'er-do-wells as suitors, and often needed her nephew's help with getting out of situations with them. In later years Bee attracted more respectable gentlemen.

In 1968 Andy married Helen Crump. Feeling that the newly weds needed some space she took a position as a housekeeper for the widower Sam Jones and his son Mike, and moved out to his farm. She would remain working as a housekeeper for Jones for several years, even after Andy and Helen moved to Raleigh, North Carolina.

By the 1980s Bee had passed away after a long life. One of his first acts upon returning to Mayberry was to visit his beloved Aunt Bee's grave at the local cemetery, while remembering all the advice Bee had given to him over the years.

Trivia

  • Frances Bavier was retired and in failing health when Return to Mayberry was filmed, so she declined to participate in the reunion show. The scene at Bee's resting place was filmed to explain to viewers what had happened to Bee, and featured voice overs of Bee talking to Andy.
  • In contrast to her warm and engaging Bee character, other members of the cast found Bavier difficult to work with, being easily offended and not very warm. Andy Griffith said Bavier did not care much for him, but shortly before her death called to apologize for being difficult on the show.
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