For almost four decades, American actress, Aneta Corsaut made her mark in the international film industry. Aneta who mostly featured in TV series came to widespread public notice on The Andy Griffith Show (1963-1968). Her long-running role as schoolteacher Helen Crump and later girlfriend of lead character Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith) endeared Aneta to many hearts. The talented actress also played other prominent roles on Death Valley Days (1960, ’62, ’65), The Blue Knight (1975), House Calls (1980-’81), and Matlock (1987-’92), among others. After reprising her Helen Crump role on The Andy Griffith Show Reunion in 1993, Aneta Corsaut never made any other screen appearance until her death.
Despite having left the screens for more than two decades now, the pretty auburn-haired Aneta still lives in the hearts of many film lovers. We try to answer the question – when and how exactly did she die?
The Life of Aneta Corsaut
Aneta Louise Corsaut was born on 3rd November 1933. She was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, United States to Jesse Harrison and his wife, Opal. She also goes by Anita Corsaut.
After her preparatory education, Aneta studied Drama at the Northwestern University (NU) in Evanston, Illinois. She also trained in acting under the legendary Polish-American director, theater guru and method acting grandfather, Lee Strasberg. Aneta however, did not graduate from NU. She abandoned her studies after her junior year and moved to New York City to pursue acting. She, however, later took part-time courses at the University of California, Los Angeles.
After making her screen debut in a 1955 episode of Producers’ Showcase (1954-1957), Aneta later made her first movie appearance in The Blob, a very successful 1958 sci-fi horror film. After her role in The Blob, Aneta appeared in only a few other movies which include Good Neighbor Sam (1964), A Rage to Live (1965), Blazing Saddles (1974), and The Toolbox Murders (1978). Meanwhile, Corsaut made guest appearances in numerous TV series which include The Detectives, The Law and Mr. Jones, Death Valley Days, and Hong Kong, among others. From 1961 to 1962, she played the regular role of Irma Howell in Mrs. G. Goes to College, a CBS situation comedy.
In 1963, Corsaut landed a career-defining role on The Andy Griffith Show, starring Andy Griffith as lead character Andy Taylor. She was cast as a recurring schoolteacher, Helen Crump. Joining the cast of the show in its third season, her persona later metamorphosed into a main character after she became Andy’s girlfriend. Crump and Taylor later marry in the first episode of the show’s spinoff, Mayberry R.F.D (1968).
Aneta went on to appear in Adam-12 (1968), The Blue Knight (1975), and House Calls (1979), among several other series. She would once again meet Andy Griffith on the 1986 to 1995 television procedural series, Matlock. While Griffith starred as Ben Matlock throughout the show, Corsaut played the recurring role of Judge Cynthia Justin from 1987 to 1992. She also reprised her Helen Crump role in Return to Mayberry (1986) and The Andy Griffith Show Reunion (1993). The latter would be her last screen appearance as an actress.
When and How Did She Die?
Aneta Corsaut died on the 6th of November, 1995; exactly three days after her 62nd birthday. Corsaut succumbed to cancer at a medical facility in Studio City, Los Angeles, California after battling the lethal disease in her later years. Prior to her death, it never came to public attention that she was battling cancer. This had left her fans baffled at the news and cause of her death. A Catholic, Aneta’s loved ones buried her at the Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery in North Hollywood, LA.
Throughout her lifetime, Aneta Corsaut devoted her time to her acting career. She never married neither did she have children. Apart from her rumored affair with Andy Griffith, Aneta had no other media-noticed hookups. Her romantic relationship with Griffith is documented in Daniel de Visé’s 2015 book, Andy & Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show. Owing to Corsaut and Griffith’s onscreen wedding in Mayberry R.F.D, many thought the duo to be married in real life; but they never did as the latter had a wife all through the period they worked together.