Andy Griffith Show Star Maggie Peterson Has Died at 81

Rogers & Cowan, public relations

You may remember actress Maggie Peterson from the sitcom the “Andy Griffith Show” which starred Andy Griffith as Mayberry sheriff Andy Taylor, and Don Knotts as deputy Barney Fife. Peterson played Charlene Darling, a recurring character on the show who appeared on five different episodes, the first in 1963, and the last in 1966. She later reappeared on the show as another character named Doris in 1968.

In recent years, Peterson suffered from numerous health problems that only got worse after her husband passed away. Her niece, Amy Royer, and her nephew, Ben Eaton, set up a GoFundMe in 2020 to help pay for her medical bills explaining, “I have had several injuries and surgeries to my shoulders, which have left both arms partially paralyzed and in pain. In addition, I have an undiagnosed weakness in my legs. These conditions led to a series of falls in the last six months resulting in stitches on both sides of my face, broken ribs, re-injury to my shoulders, a concussion, and a severely broken left ankle, which required surgery.  I have basically been in rehabilitation facilities since November and am facing more of the same going forward.  I truly fear that I may not be able to live without care until I successfully rehabilitate from my current injuries.”

She went on to explain that some people might assume she gets residuals from her appearances on the “Andy Griffith Show,” but she said that is no longer the case. She explained, “The Andy Griffith Show ended in the late sixties before residuals became what they are now.  There were some nominal ones in the beginning, but I have not received a residual for the Andy Griffith Show in fifty years.”

The GoFundMe raised over $47,000 to pay for her medical expenses, but the fundraiser is now closed. Her family announced on her Facebook page and GoFundMe page that Peterson has passed away at the age of 81. Watch the video below to learn more about Peterson and her health struggles.

Besides acting on the “Andy Griffith Show,” Peterson also acted on shows including “The Bill Dana Show,” “Green Acres” and “The Odd Couple.” Peterson retired from acting in the 1980s and transitioned to a career in location management. She worked for the Nevada Film Commission as a location manager on movies including “Casino,” “Mars Attacks!” and “Pay It Forward.” She lived in Las Vegas with her husband Gus Mancuso. They were married for over 50 years before he died in 2021 at age 88.

Image credit: Wikipedia