The Andy Griffith Show is one of the most famous shows in TV history, but that doesn’t mean Andy Griffith didn’t have regrets. Griffith felt that he didn’t quite know how to write for Elinor Donahue.
Donahue played Ellie Walker. Walker was initially supposed to be a love interest for Andy Taylor, but Donahue had to leave the show one year into her three-year contract due to personal struggles.
When asked what it was like to work with Griffith in an Archive of American Television interview, Donahue didn’t hold back.
“He was the boss,” she said. “But in a good way. Excellent person. Nice person,” she said. Donahue is one of the many to describe Griffith as an overall kind human being. Its also clear that Donahue was fond of Griffith, though Griffith felt bad about how he wrote for her.
“He has since said he didn’t know how to write for me. I don’t think that’s true. It’s very kind of him to say, but I didn’t give them anything to write for. That was his excuse for that,” she said.
Donahue made it big before The Andy Griffith Show with her role on Father Knows Best. She has acting credits dating from the 50s all the way to 2011.
Griffith Was The Heart of ‘The Andy Griffith Show’
While he wasn’t the lead of the writer’s room, Opie actor Ron Howard once explained how Andy Griffith truly was the heart of the show. The show was more of a reflection of Andy Griffith’s memory growing up in the 40s vs. how things truly were in the
“Aaron Rubin worked closely with Andy and developed the stories and understood the characters,” Howard said. “But the tone very much reflected Andy and his sensibility and his sense of humor.”
Howard was only six when he landed the role as adorable little Opie on the hit sitcom. Howard would later go on to act and direct in numerous big projects. His impressive directing history includes Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind. But The Andy Griffith Show is truly where Howard got his start.
The show is also where Gomer actor Jim Nabors got his start. While Howard got the role as a small child, Griffith discovered Nabors at a nightclub. Griffith saw Nabors’ performance at the nightclub and immediately helped craft Gomer around his act.
Now, for many, Gomer, Opie, Andy, and the rest of the gang are some of the most comforting characters around. The Andy Griffith Show charmed America for eight seasons. While the show is long ended, it’s not too hard to find a re-run on TV and find yourself immersed in the simple and charming town of Mayberry.