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Maggie Peterson, The Andy Griffith Show Actor, Dies at 81

Peterson also appeared in Green Acres and The Odd Couple.
  • Maggie Peterson and Don Knotts in The Love God (1969) (Photo: Everett Collection)
    Maggie Peterson and Don Knotts in The Love God (1969) (Photo: Everett Collection)

    Maggie Peterson, the singer and actress known for her role as Charlene Darling in The Andy Griffith Show, has died at the age of 81.

    Peterson died in Colorado on Sunday, her family announced in a Facebook post. They wrote that her health "took a turn for the worse" after the death of her husband, jazz musician Gus Mancuso, in December. The two were married for over 40 years.

    Peterson made her debut as The Andy Griffith Show's Charlene Darling in 1963, towards the end of Season 3. She appeared in four other episodes of the show through 1966. During the final season of Andy Griffith in 1968, she played another character in the episode "A Girl for Goober."

    The actress was also featured in NBC's The Bill Dana Show, in which she played Susie the coffee shop waitress in the sitcom's second season. Throughout the late 1960s and 1970s, Peterson appeared in many television shows, most notably Green Acres, Gomer Pyle: USMC, The Odd Couple, and Love, American Style.

    After her retirement in the late 1980s, Peterson began working for the Nevada Film Commission as a location manager on a variety of films, including Casino, Mars Attacks! and Pay It Forward.

    Deena ElGenaidi's writing has been featured in Nylon, MTV News, Insider, The AV Club, and more. You can follow her on Twitter @deenaelg.

    TOPICS: Maggie Peterson, The Andy Griffith Show