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Aneta Corsaut’s Untimely Death & Affair with Andy Griffith

Aneta Corsaut was an American television actress that was best known for her role alongside Andy Griffith in The Andy Griffith Show. However, her role in Andy’s life exceeded the boundaries of that classic 1960s sitcom in both professional and personal ways. The two maintained a close relationship until Aneta’s death in 1995. Join Facts Verse as we uncover Aneta Corsaut’s untimely death and affair with Andy Griffith.

Aneta Corsaut was born on November 3, 1933. She was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, and studied drama at the Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She decided to abandon her studies soon before graduating from the school, instead leaving to New York to pursue a career in entertainment the old school way.

Aneta’s screen debut came in the form of a 1955 episode of the anthology television series Producers’ Showcase. A few years later, she could be seen in the prominent 1958 sci-fi horror The Blob. From there, it was a quick upward trajectory for the burgeoning actress. Soon, she was a given a role on the already established sitcom The Andy Griffith Show.

The Andy Griffith Show was a titular vehicle for it’s star, Andy Griffith, who played Andy Taylor. Aneta was brought onto the show during it’s third season. She was given the role of a schoolteacher that Andy develops an attraction to. Soon, their characters were written into a romantic relationship. However, this relationship was soon going to transcend the boundaries of the small screen and enter the realities of these two actors.

Aneta was neither Andy’s first love interest on The Andy Griffith Show nor his only love interest in real life. In fact, Andy had been married for over 15 years at the time he began his affair with Aneta and had several children with his current wife. Despite this setback, Andy couldn’t help himself from pursuing his new costar romantically. The two eventually entered into an affair, but had a hard time keeping it a secret from their coworkers.

Many of the cast and crewmembers became aware of Andy and Aneta’s adulterous romance. One time, they played a prank involving a young assistant. The crew had found out when and where Andy and Aneta were going to meet up, and set the assistant there dressed as a wait to deliver a romantic meal. Unsurprisingly, Andy was not pleased.

Although Andy and Aneta’s romance had started out as an extramarital affair, Andy had begun developing grander intentions for the two of them. He proposed to Aneta no less than three times over the course of their romance, but Aneta turned him down on each occasion. Even though their relationship never quite had the happy ending that Andy wanted, the two remained close until Aneta’s death in 1995. Andy worked with her again a couple of times, and they always remained friends.

The reason that Aneta declined Andy’s hand in marriage all those times remains unclear, but fans have speculated it was because she didn’t want to be seen at the other woman that tore Andy’s family apart. Aneta never got involved in a marriage of her own, although her and Andy did end up getting married on the small screen. Their characters on The Andy Griffith Show ended up marrying in that show’s spin-off series, Mayberry R.F.D.

As schoolteacher Helen Crump, Aneta brought a unique charm to The Andy Griffith Show that fans loved. This is perhaps why the show’s staff eventually decided to marry the two off on the show’s spin-off. As compared to Andy’s previous love interests on the show, Aneta was proper and pure, warming the hearts of television audiences.

After The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry R.F.D., Aneta and Andy worked together on a number of other programs over the years before Aneta’s death. She reprised the role of Helen Crump on two separate occasions, once in 1986’s Return to Mayberry, and again in 1993’s The Andy Griffith Show Reunion. On each occasion, she appeared alongside Andy Griffith. She also appeared alongside Andy in a few of episodes of his hit 1980s drama Matlock, where Andy played titular character Ben Matlock. Aneta appeared as three characters over the show’s run, including recurring character Judge Cynthia Justin.

Even if Aneta never wanted to marry him, Andy was always looking for ways to get his former love back on the screen. Aneta made her last appearance as Judge Cynthia Justin in 1992, the same year that Matlock came to an end. Only a few years later, Aneta’s life was going to be tragically cut short. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! As well, subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!

Aneta Corsaut passed away from cancer in 1995. Her last appearances were in Matlock and The Andy Griffith Show Reunion. Given that she never married, she left behind no children. However, she certainly left behind an impressive legacy. As well, she left an empty place in the heart of her longtime costar and romantic partner, Andy Griffith. 

Andy Griffith wasn’t the only star that Aneta appeared alongside during her career. In The Blob, she starred alongside Hollywood legend Steve McQueen. The film served as his screen debut, as well. According to legend, the two were dating in real life when they secured their roles in the film. The two played lovers in the film, almost a decade before Aneta was brought onto The Andy Griffith Show. However, no journalist has ever asked Aneta which of the stars was the better kisser.

Aneta also appeared alongside another Hollywood legend before appearing on The Andy Griffith Show, and that was Marion Ross. They each landed a recurring role on The Gertrude Berg Show around the same timeframe. They both made their debut on that show during the same episode in 1961. It was two years after this episode that The Andy Griffith Show came on the air, and three years after that that Aneta was given the role of Opie Taylor’s schoolteacher Helen Crump.

There were a number of coincidences involved in Aneta’s casting on The Andy Griffith Show. For one thing, both her and her character on that show came from the state of Kansas. Secondly, she shared a birthday with one of the show’s established cast members, Ken Berry. Not only were they born on the same day, but they were also born the same year. The last coincidence only came about after The Andy Griffith Show, but is still notable. In a couple of 1975 episodes of the police drama Adam-12, Aneta could be seen as the new girlfriend of character Pete Malloy. Pete Malloy was a police officer, just like Andy Taylor.

In one strange incident, Aneta campaigned to have a minor character on The Andy Griffith Show named after a friend of hers as a small personal tribute. According to Aneta, she approached one of the show’s writers about it, a man by the name of Jim Fritzell. Her friend’s name was Phil Sunkel, and Aneta wanted to give the name to a small character in the episode “The Mayberry Band”.

Despite Aneta’s good intentions, this incident didn’t turn out so great for the show. Phil was depicted as a jazz musician, which was his career in real life. Apparently, after the episode aired, he felt that it tainted his career. Because of this, he proceeded to sue The Andy Griffith Show for a total of $20,000. When adjusted for inflation, that sum is equal to about $180,000 today. Given that it was a fairly clear-cut case, Phil won and was awarded the sum. However, the production staff didn’t hold a grudge against Aneta for the incident. 

Besides her other roles alongside Andy Griffith, Aneta worked moderately after her tenure as Helen Crump came to an end. She was notably featured in the 1974 Mel Brooks comedy Blazing Saddles. As well, she was given a regular role in a medical sitcom known as House Calls in 1980. She co-starred alongside another former sitcom star trying to retain their status in the spotlight, M*A*S*H’s Wayne Rogers.

In House Calls, Aneta played the role of Head Nurse Bradley. The show was a minor success and lasted for three seasons, finally coming to an end in September of 1983. After that, Aneta only had two minor one-off appearances before appearing alongside Andy once again via her first role in his 1986 drama series Matlock.

Aneta also did some work outside of film and television, crafting a compendium of quizzes for lovers of mystery books alongside both children’s writer Muff Singer and fellow actor Robert Wagner. This book was called The Mystery Reader’s Quiz Book and required the reader to answer numerous trivia questions about beloved mystery novels and stories. By all accounts, she was always a multi-talented and independent woman with many unique interests.

Andy Griffith divorced from his first wife in 1972, and married two more times over the course of his life. However, none of his brides held a candle in his mind to Aneta. Andy passed away 17 years after Aneta, in 2012. Since then, many more viewers have been introduced to The Andy Griffith Show. Each and every time, those viewers will always inevitably become interested in finding out more about the secret relationship between Andy and his eventual on screen wife.

Aneta Corsaut featured in many memorable episodes of The Andy Griffith Show. Comment down below to share your favorite Helen Crump moment from the show, or if you think Aneta deserved to get more large starring roles before her death several decades later in 1995. As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!

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