Arlene Golonka, 'The Andy Griffith Show' Actress, Dead at 85

Arlene Golonka plays with her necklace in publicity portrait for the film 'Penelope', 1966.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Getty Images

Rest in peace, Arlene Golonka. The actress, best known for her roles on The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry R.F.D., died on Monday morning. She was 85. 

Golonka battled Alzhiemer's, and died in her sleep at a memory care facility in West Hollywood, her niece Stephanie Morton-Millstein told The Hollywood Reporter.

Born in 1936, Golonka spent her childhood in Chicago, where she began studying singing and acting. She moved to New York at age 19, beginning a career in Broadway plays and in films made in New York City; she studied under Lee Strasberg, Sanford Meisner and Uta Hagen.

The late actress' first major production was The Night Circus, which started in Connecticut before moving to Broadway. Golonka relocated to Los Angeles in the late 1960s, continuing her film career while also expanding into TV. 

On The Andy Griffith Show, Golonka played Millie Hutchins, the love interest of Howard Sprague. When the show was retooled into Mayberry R.F.D., Golonka became Millie Swanson, the love interest of Sam Jones. Over the course of her 45-year career, Golonka also had recurring roles on The Doctors, Joe & Valerie and 1st & 10. She also made appearances on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, M*A*S*H and The King of Queens. 

Golonka was also an acting teacher, with Halle Berry being one of her students. 

"She was my most darling and funny friend. You couldn't not love her," Jackie Joseph said in a statement to ET. "There was a special time when she was my husband's (Ken Berry) girlfriend in Mayberry R.F.D. However, in real life she was mine."

The actress is survived by a sister and nieces and nephews. See more on stars we've lost in the video below. 


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