If you were a fan of The Andy Griffith Show, you will recall actress Maggie Peterson as Charlene Darling in five episodes of the classic CBS sitcom. Sadly, Peterson died peacefully in her sleep on Sunday. She as 81.
Prior to The Andy Griffith Show, Peterson appeared as Susie, the coffee shop waitress on comedy The Bill Dana Show (which like The Andy Griffith Show was spun-off from The Danny Thomas Show) from 1963 to 1966.
Born Margaret Ann Peterson on January 10, 1941, in Greeley, Colorado, Peterson, her brother and two of his friends formed a small group called the Ja-Da Quartet in the 1950s that rode around on a pickup truck singing to people. There she was discovered by Andy Griffith’s manager Dick Linke, and director Bob Sweeney and producer Aaron Ruben, who developed The Andy Griffith Show.
A familiar face to the Griffith fans, Peterson also guest starred in spin-offs Gomer Pyle, USMC and Mayberry, R.F.D., and she reprised her role as Charlene Darling in the 1986 TV reunion film Return To Mayberry. In 1969, she appeared alongside Griffith on the big screen in Angel in My Pocket.
Peterson’s other guest TV roles included episodes of The Queen and I, Love, American Style, Green Acres, and The Odd Couple. She retired from acting following a 1987 role on The Magical World of Disney and later worked for the Nevada Film Commission
Peterson, who lived in Las Vegas, lost her husband of over 40 years, the jazz musician Gus Mancuso, in December. “Maggie’s health took a turn for the worse after the death of her husband Gus,” the family wrote on Facebook, “and we are relieved that we were able to move her home to be close to family for her last days.”