Elly May and Thelma Lou: Where are they now? - | WBTV Charlotte

Elly May and Thelma Lou: Where are they now?


MOUNT AIRY - They are two of television's most iconic faces, and today, even in their 80's both are still going strong and are amazed at the love they continue to get from fans of all ages.

Donna Douglas was Elly May on the Beverly Hillbillies, Betty Lynn was Thelma Lou on the long running Andy Griffith Show. Both series aired on WBTV and CBS in the 1960's.

On Thursday they were together in a rare appearance in Mount Airy that drew a crowd much larger than anyone anticipated.

The success of those shows, still popular in reruns fifty years later, amazes them.

"I could have done Shakespeare on Broadway but nobody would remember me," Lynn told WBTV.   "But this show, they remember!"

In the middle of the day on Thursday, hundreds of people packed the Andy Griffith Museum in Mount Airy, just spend a few minutes with Donna and Betty.

The turnout was so large that both Betty and Donna agreed to stay well past the set time for the event.  Originally scheduled to stay until 1:30, both stars gamely stayed until after 4:00 pm to make sure no one went away unhappy.

It also took a while because they never rushed anybody. Both stars took their time just visiting with their fans.

"Some women come and they'll tell me about their family, they break into tears, but it brings back so many memories of their childhood," Lynn added.

"This is an emotional kind of attachment. I never dreamed that I'd be sitting here on day with people, crowds, coming.  Here I am, and old woman and I'm so lucky that I have people that care so much about something that I did."

Betty actually lives in Mount Airy and comes to museum every few weeks to meet the fans. Donna Douglas travels the country speaking in churches.

"It's amazing how your past has been, where you come from," Douglas told WBTV.  "That will be used in your life that will be like a stepping stone to God's plan for your life."

If it sounds like these women were enjoying this event as much as the fans, that's because they really were.

They say it's gratifying to be remembered so fondly for something they enjoyed doing so much, even if it was so long ago.

"You're going to make me cry, just making me think about it, it's just very touching, it really is, I think it's so unusual," Lynn added.

"Sure has been nice visiting with you," Douglas added.   "Y'all be sure to come back now."

Douglas effortlessly followed those words with her trademark high pitched whistle.

Elly May, or Donna Douglas, will be in Gastonia on Sunday.

If you'd like to see her she'll be speaking at the Westview Baptist Church, 3385 Fairview Drive in Gastonia, Sunday night at 6.

The event is free and open to the public.

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