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The Fun Girls from Andy Griffith Were Completely Different Off-Screen

Despite The Andy Griffith Show ending in 1968, it has remained a cultural touchstone of sorts ever since. New generations of fans fall in love with the iconic sitcom by watching its reruns. It is airing in syndication on a handful of networks and streaming services for decades now.

The series make millions of viewers laugh when it airs on originally CBS. It also helps garner large fan bases for the actors and actresses that make up its phenomenal cast.

Two actresses in particular who have remained popular and beloved by countless fans are Jean Carson and Joyce Jameson. These two women, who were dubbed the ‘Fun Girls’ have quite remarkable life stories.

Joyce Jameson plays the giggly ‘fun girl’ Skippy, while the gravely-voiced Daphne plays Carson. These lovely young ladies hail from the town of Mount Pilot, North Carolina, which they describe as the ‘big city’.

Mount Pilot is a fictional town, the settings both in The Andy Griffith Show and its spin-off series Mayberry RFD. Later on, it uses once again as the setting of the television reunion film Return to Mayberry.

Mayberry was actually based on the real-life hometown of Andy Griffith, Mount Airy, North Carolina. Interestingly residents of Mount Airy often refer to their town as Mayberry to this day.

Anyway, the Fun Girls were a pair of flirty blondes who loved to dance and stir up trouble. Whenever they make an appearance in town, it’s trouble for Andy and Barney. They have their own steady girlfriends, Thelma Lou and Helen Crump.

Join Facts Verse as we recount the life and careers of The Andy Griffith Show’s Fun Girls. We’ll be detailing their characters on the show and evaluating what their addition to the cast did for the series.

Joyce Jameson

This ‘Fun Girl’ was born Joyce Beverly Kingsley on September 26, 1932, in Chicago, Illinois. It’s nothing special about her childhood, but after High School, she receives her Bachelor of Arts degree at UCLA.

Jameson started working in the show business in the 1950s, making many uncredited appearances in movies and television shows. She makes her breakthrough film debut in 1951 when she plays a chorus girl dancer in the film Show Boat.

Her other noteworthy film credits from around this time include 1953’s Problem Girls, 1957’s Dead Jockey, and 1960’s The Apartment.

Her next major role is in the 1962 Tales of Terror – a horror film with Vincent Price and Peter Lorre. The film was directed by Roger Corman and Jameson played the character Annabel Herringbone – Lorre’s uncouth, cheating wife.

A year later, Jameson once again appeared alongside Lorre and Price in the uproarious comedy The Comedy of Terrors. In 1964, she played a hotel sex worker in the comedy film Good Neighbor Sam opposite Jack Lemmon.

In 1966, Jameson played Abigal in the Elvis film Frankie and Johnny. Also, she appears alongside Elke Sommer and Bob Hope in the comedy Boy, Did I Get A Wrong Number!. She appears in the 1968 crime film The Split, with Warren Oates and Jim Brown.

In the 1970s, Jameson had roles in films like 1975s Death Race 2000, 1976’s The Outlaw Jesse James, and 1978’s Every Which Way But Loose. In 1984, she starred in the sex comedy Hardbodies.

On the television side of things, Jameson appeared in shows like Perry Mason, The Twilight Zone, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and The Man from UNCLE, to name a few.

Her biggest television role, however, was that of Skippy, one of the Fun Girls featured on The Andy Griffith Show. Her character characterizes by her high-pitched, abrasive laugh and being hopelessly attracted to Barney, whom she insisted upon calling Bernie.

Jameson’s Personal Life And Tragic Death

In 1952, Jameson married songwriter and actor Billy Barnes. The two had one child together, whom they named Tyler, before filing for divorce in 1957. After that, Jameson dated the Man From UNCLE star Robert Vaughn for several years. In 1966, she shared the screen with him in the episode The Dippy Blond Affair.

In Vaughn’s autobiography, A Fortunate Life, he revealed that Jameson had long suffered from severe depression. It’s also famous that she is an insomniac who takes the narcotic prescription drug Miltown to help her get to sleep.

Tragedy struck on January 16, 1987, when Jameson took her own life by overdosing on pills. She was 54 when she passed away. Her ashes scatter at sea per her wishes.

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Jean Carson

On February 28, 1923, baby Jean Leete Carson was born in Charleston, West Virginia. She first took an interest in acting as a child. When she was 12, she landed her first acting gig, earning $5 for playing a minor role in a production of the play Carmen that came to her hometown.

As a teenager, Carson continued to star in high school productions and was voted ‘Girl Most Likely to Succeed as an Actress’ by her peers. After studying at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Carson made her Broadway debut in the George s. Kaufman production Bravo in 1958. She followed that up with Broadway performances in offerings like Anniversary Waltz, Two Blind Mice, and Bird Cage – the latter of which earned her a Tony nod.

After making a name for herself on the theatrical stage, Carson went on to make many appearances in groundbreaking television shows such as The Twilight Zone, Studio One, and The Ford Theatre Hour.

In the 50s, Carson played the character Paula in Peter Gunn. The following year she became a series regular on The Betty Hutton Show. She would later disparagingly call Hutton a ‘foulmouthed old biddy’, and would say that her time on that program was the only acting experience she had that she didn’t enjoy.

Before playing the Fun Girl, Daphne, on The Andy Griffith Show, she had a brief role playing the character Naomi on the 1962 episode ‘Convicts at Large”. After she was brought back on to play Daphne later that year, she would continue to make recurring appearances on the show until 1965.

Daphne’s signature line, which she would utter in a throaty voice, was the greeting ‘Hello Doll’. As her counterpart, Skippy, was attracted to Barney, Daphne’s primary object of affection was Andy.

In addition to television and stage roles, Carson also appeared several films, including 1955s The Phenix City Story and 1958s I Married A Monster From Outer Space.

Eventually, Carson began to feel that she had become typecast in these sorts of roles. She resented always being given the role of the ‘other woman’ and constantly feeling like she was second fiddle.

In 1968 was the fourth billing in Peter Sellers’ comedy film The Party. Her final film role was in the 1977 comedy Fun with Dick and Jane.

Carson’s Personal Life and Death

In the early 70s, Carson developed a drinking problem that hindered her acting career. She eventually retired from show business in the 80s. However, she would still occasionally make appearances in plays in and around Palm Springs, where she had relocated to be closer to her two sons.

Later in her life, she managed to put down the bottle and sober up. For many years she leaned into her association with The Andy Griffith Show and would attend cast performances, fan conventions, and similar meetings. Likewise, she would regularly correspond with her fans, who would continue to write her for many years.

Sadly, after she suffered a stroke in September 2005, she was left with very little mobility.

Carson would marry twice. She married her first husband, Stanley Parlan, in 1948, but it’s unclear when they divorced. Her second marriage was to the assistant manager of the Roxy Theater, Leonard Smith Jr. The couple tied the knot in 1955 and divorced thirteen years later in 1968.

Carson died in Palm Springs, California, on November 2, 2005 after having a stroke. She was 82.

The Fun Girls Were Fan Favorites

Skippy and Daphne first appeared on The Andy Griffith Show in 1962 in an episode that involved Andy getting a black-eye after getting into a tussle with Daphne’s ex-boyfriend.

In another memorable episode, Andy and Barney had to flake out on their dates with their respective girlfriends so that they could work late into the evening at the courthouse. While plugging away with paperwork, the boys got rudely interrupted by Skippy and Daphne.

Andy and Barney then innocently gave the two omen a ride back to Mt. Pilot so they could finish up with their duties, but en route, they were spotted in the vehicle with the two flirtatious women by their girlfriends.

Green with jealousy, Helen Crump and Thelma Lout decided that they would get back at Andy and Barney by going out with Gomer and Goober Pyle. To match their play, Andy and Barney went out with Skippy and Daphne. By the end of the episode, it was clean that Gomer and Goober were a much more fitting match for the Fun Girls seeing as how they seemed to actually enjoy Skippy and Daphne’s company.

The Fun Girls third and final appearance on The Andy Griffith Show involved them coming to Mayberry with the intent of having a fun time with Andy and Barney. Of course, they were only setting themselves up for disappointment as the two men of the law wanted nothing to do with them.

Andy and Barney already had plans to go out with Helen and Thelma Lou, but Barney had to stay behind to ensure that they didn’t make a mess at the courthouse. Once again, Thelma Lou and Helen wound up walking in the courthouse later on in the episode to find the Fun Girls and their respective boyfriends in what appeared to be compromising positions. Jealous once again, they left in a huff.

Having had enough of Skippy and Daphne’s shenanigans, Andy blew up at them. He told them to kick rocks and leave town, which they did, much to Skippy’s bewilderment. Andy and Barney then made up with their ladies and planned a nice little date night at Andy’s house, only to find Skippy and Daphne there when they arrived. You can probably guess what Helen and Thelma Lou had to think about that.

Where you a fan of the Fun Girls? Or do you think their addition to the Andy Griffith Show cast was unnecessary? Let us know in the comments.

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