Young Aunt Bee Photo Hoax

Aunt Bee Hoax
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Actress Frances Bavier made such an impression as the beloved Aunt Bee from "The Andy Griffith Show" that it's difficult to think of her in any other role, much less as an attractive young woman who might have posed for a pinup shot or two. But that would certainly add some spice to her legacy, one that she herself has taken issue with. 

So could this pinup photo really be a picture of Bavier in her younger years? Though the image has been circulating since 2013, the answer is no.

The Reality Behind the Photo

The captioned photo is erroneous, or an outright hoax. While it's true that actress Frances Bavier played the role of the matronly Aunt Bee on "The Andy Griffith Show" between 1960 and 1968 and on its spin-off, Mayberry R.F.D., through 1970, whoever is trying to convince us that she posed for the 1940s-era pinup photo above is pulling our collective leg. In truth, there's no resemblance between the two women pictured in the photos.

The photo shown is actually a publicity still from the 1949 film Yes Sir, That's My Baby starring Donald O'Connor with, pictured in a bathing suit, the beautiful Gloria DeHaven. DeHaven, born in 1925, was 24 years old when the photo was taken. An actress since she was a child (she got her start with a bit part in Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times), DeHaven would go on to make a number of film and stage appearances. Her last role was in the 1997 movie Out to Sea, starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. She died in 2016.

About Frances Bavier

Frances Bavier, born in 1902, would have been 47 when the pinup photo was taken. She retired from acting at the age of 69 in 1972 and died in 1989.

Bavier was a Broadway actress, born in New York City. She first appeared on Broadway in 1925 in a show called "The Poor Nut." Following that, she traveled with the USO during World War II, and then returned to Broadway to appear in a play called "Point of No Return" with Henry Fonda.

Bavier appeared in several films. The most famous was the 1951 sci-fi classic The Day the Earth Stood Still. Later, she became a television actress, appearing in It's a Great Life (1954) and The Eve Arden Show (1957) before what would become her most famous role, that of Aunt Bee to Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith) and his son, Opie Taylor (Ron Howard), on The Andy Griffith Show (1960).

While she acted the role of a warm and loving aunt, Bavier was apparently a difficult person to work with. Andy Griffith is quoted as saying, "There was just something about me she did not like," while Ron Howard has said, "I just don't think she enjoyed being around children that much."

Bavier was apparently frustrated with the role. In her biography, she is quoted as saying,

"I had played Aunt Bee for ten years and it's very, very difficult for an actress or actor to create a role and be so identified that you as a person no longer exist and all the recognition you get is for a part that's created on screen.