A bright face from the world of classic TV is gone as on Sunday, actress Maggie Peterson of The Andy Griffith Show died at 81. Who did this actress play as part of the famed CBS sitcom? Well, she would sing and even dance a little bit on there. You might remember Peterson would team up with The Dillards for some rather hot, interesting bluegrass music.
Maggie Peterson played Charlene Darling, daughter of Briscoe Darling, played by Denver Pyle. For classic TV fans, Pyle would later play Uncle Jesse on The Dukes of Hazzard along with Tom Wopat and John Schneider. Charlene definitely brings the love-struck energy to this show. Peterson’s character would look to woo Sheriff Andy Taylor, played by Andy Griffith, off his feet.
‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Actress Has To Fend Off Desires Of Ernest T. Bass
That didn’t happen much but give it to Charlene for trying. One epic episode finds Charlene having to fend off the wily ways of Ernest T. Bass, played by Howard Morris. Ernest T. was hellbent on taking her away from her man Dud Wash. He’d throw bricks through the windows and even sing a love song to Charlene. It didn’t work. But you might recall Andy comes up with a clever trick. His plan is to have a wedding with Charlene present. Yeah, well Charlene is going to marry Dud but the start of it was a bit different.
Andy set it up where Deputy Barney Fife, played by Don Knotts, would also wear a wedding dress. Ernest T. comes out of the mountains and sweeps “Charlene” away. As soon as they run off, Charlene appears in a wedding dress and Andy performs the ceremony. But Charlene definitely could hold her own singing. Here is Peterson, in her role, singing There Is A Time.
Years after their time on the show ended, Peterson finds herself back with her TV family. This clip has The Dillards, now members of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame, along with her singing Salty Dog Blues. They would perform this song also on an episode of The Andy Griffith Show.
According to IMDb, Peterson appeared in other TV shows like The Bill Dana Show, Love, American Style, and Green Acres. She would go on and, according to The Hollywood Reporter, be married to Las Vegas musician Gus Mancuso for more than 40 years. Mancuso died recently and Peterson’s family said that brought on a downward turn in her health.
She would go by Maggie Mancuso after marrying Gus and she would work as a location manager for movies like Casino. Peterson retired from acting in the 1980s. But her singing and acting still make people smile today.