Aunt Bee the Crazy Cat Lady
In Mayberry, everyone loved Aunt Bee.
By all accounts actress Frances Bavier had a love/hate relationship with her recurring character on The Andy Giffith Show and Mayberry RFD. After working with the likes of Henry Fonda and Bette Davis, and in Broadway shows, she apparently didn’t love being typecast as doting Aunt Bee. She thought of herself as “sophisticated.” And in several books on the Andy Griffith Show, authors note she may have been more most difficult cast member to deal with. Still, the public loved her.
Buying into the Mayberry life – Bavier abruptly retired in 1970 at the age of 70 (she seemed older didn’t she?) to Siler City, NC. By all accounts, the city welcomed their celebrity will open arms.
And Siler City today even has a vision statement which totally seems to match what Bavier was searching fort:
Siler City is a safe, prosperous, and vibrant community where diversity, innovation and education drive success in a globally competitive society.
Today the City’s population is just over 8,000. In 1990, it was about 5,000 – so one can only imagine back in 1970 only a few thousand people lived there.
However, Bavier apparently couldn’t deal with the acclaim of being Aunt Bee. And being the celebrity in town was something that he personality couldn’t apparently deal with.
Over time, Bavier – a cat lover – became a reclusive “cat lady.” Bavier even converted one of her bathrooms to a giant litter box.
Her house fell into disrepair, and the ammonia of cat urine was overwhelming to anyone who might visit.
When she died in 1989, her estate was worth around 700,000. Even through today money she left for the local police to receive bonuses still exist.
Also, if you ever visit Siler City, some her cats did get loose and were never spayed or neutered. So, it’s thought some of the stray cats today in Silver City are descendants of the Aunt Bee cats.