The Tragic Death Of Andy Griffith Show Star Maggie Peterson

"The Andy Griffith Show" star Maggie Peterson once delighted audiences with her performances of bluegrass songs like "Salty Dog." However, on May 15, at age 81, the actor died. Peterson's the second cast member to die in recent years, as "The Andy Griffith Show" star Betty Lynn died in 2021

News first broke of Peterson's death after her family issued a statement via Facebook. "It is with great sorrow that we report that our dear Aunt Maggie died yesterday afternoon," the post read. "She passed peacefully in her sleep with her family present." The actor's passing comes after a long stretch of poor health. In March 2020, her niece and nephew established a GoFundMe aimed at raising money to assist her "rehabilitation and care." Per a letter written by Peterson attached to the GoFundMe, that need for care arose after she suffered "several injuries and surgeries to my shoulders." Those injuries ultimately left Peterson in an excruciating predicament, her statement went on. "Both arms [are] partially paralyzed and in pain."

Since establishing the fundraiser, Peterson's relatives have kept fans updated with her journey back to health. In their last post before her death, they wrote that, although the actor's health had continued "deteriorating," she was "excited" to be moving to Colorado to be with her loved ones. Sadly, her death came just three weeks after that statement, leaving both her family and fans alike devastated.

Maggie Peterson's death came soon after her husband's

While Maggie Peterson dealt with health issues for several years prior to her death, her family has shared that her husband's death marked a turning point. "Maggie's health took a turn for the worse after the death of her husband Gus [Mancuso]," their Facebook post noted. Per a report by Las Vegas Review-Journal, Mancuso — dubbed "Mr. Las Vegas Jazz" — died in December 2021. In the letter attached to the GoFundMe, Peterson revealed that she became her husband's caregiver when he developed Alzheimer's. At the time, she added that her own sudden need for assistance was "ironic" in light of that.

Though Peterson retired from acting in the late 1980s, she continued to work in the entertainment industry until 2000. According to People, she worked as a location manager on a number of films. However, she also continued to perform for audiences. In fact, 11 years, almost to the day, before her death, she performed onstage alongside Stanley & Company. In the subsequent video, posted to the Bluegrass Preservation YouTube channel, the band noted, "It was an honor to meet and share the stage with Maggie."

Given her impact on fans, it may come as a surprise that, as Deadline notes, Peterson only appeared in a handful of the 249 episodes that made up "The Andy Griffith Show." However, that might just be a testament to Peterson's true star power.