Arlene Golonka, actress best known for The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry RFD, dies aged 85

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Fans of television’s first Golden Age are in mourning on Tuesday with the death of beloved actress Arlene Golonka.

The actress died at her home in West Hollywood, California, aged 85 Variety.

Golonka’s niece, Stephanie Morton, confirmed that her aunt suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

RIP: Fans of television's first Golden Age mourn the passing of beloved actress Arlene Golonka on Tuesday

RIP: Fans of television’s first Golden Age mourn the passing of beloved actress Arlene Golonka on Tuesday

“She lived and breathed as an artist, being an actress was who she was,” Morton said in a statement.

‘She was a very wise woman who I was lucky enough to call my aunt. She loved to teach,” Mortaon continued, adding that among her acting students were stars like Halle Berry.

Golonka was born on January 23, 1936 in Chicago to Polish parents Elinor (Wroblewski) and Frank Golonka.

Artist: 'She lived and breathed as an artist, being an actress was who she was born to be,' Morton said in a statement

Artist: 'She lived and breathed as an artist, being an actress was who she was born to be,' Morton said in a statement

Artist: ‘She lived and breathed as an artist, being an actress was who she was born to be,’ Morton said in a statement

She started acting in her early teens before studying at the prestigious Goodman Theater in Chicago.

The actress moved to New York City at the age of 19 to study with legends such as Lee Strasberg at The Actors Studio.

A lifelong member of The Actors Studio, she first appeared alongside Ben Gazzara in The Night Circus, which briefly moved to Broadway in December 1958.

Actors Studio: A lifelong member of The Actors Studio, she first appeared alongside Ben Gazzara in The Night Circus, which briefly moved to Broadway in December 1958

Actors Studio: A lifelong member of The Actors Studio, she first appeared alongside Ben Gazzara in The Night Circus, which briefly moved to Broadway in December 1958

Actors Studio: A lifelong member of The Actors Studio, she first appeared alongside Ben Gazzara in The Night Circus, which briefly moved to Broadway in December 1958

She continued her work on stage in Take Me Along with Jackie Gleason from late 1959 to late 1960, Neil Simon’s Broadway debut Come Blow Your Horn from February 1961 to October 1962, and Dale Wasserman’s stage adaptation of Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest alongside Kirk Douglas, running from November 1963 to January 1964.

Golonka moved to Los Angeles to try her hand at TV acting, and has guest-starred on The Flying Nun, The Big Valley, and The Andy Griffith Show.

She played Millie on The Andy Griffith Show, which she reprized in the 1968 spin-off Mayberry RFD, after Andy Griffith left the show.

Movies: She also appeared in films such as Clint Eastwood's Hang 'Em High, Airport '77, The In-Laws, Separate Ways, Longshot and Mrs.  Tutor

Movies: She also appeared in films such as Clint Eastwood's Hang 'Em High, Airport '77, The In-Laws, Separate Ways, Longshot and Mrs.  Tutor

Movies: She also appeared in films such as Clint Eastwood’s Hang ‘Em High, Airport ’77, The In-Laws, Separate Ways, Longshot and Mrs. Tutor

Golnoka appeared in 49 episodes of the spin-off, which aired over three seasons from 1968 to 1971.

She spent most of the 1970s guest starring on various TV shows such as Sarge, The Rookies, M*A*S*H*, Young Dr. Kildare, All In the Family and many more.

She also appeared in films such as Clint Eastwood’s Hang ‘Em High, Airport ’77, The In-Laws, Separate Ways, Longshot and Mrs. tutor.

Other TV roles include numerous roles on Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Gimme a Break, Growing Pains, Murder She Wrote, Matlock and The King of Queens, her last role in 2005.

Golonka is survived by a sister along with her cousins.

TV roles: Other TV roles include numerous roles on Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Gimme a Break, Growing Pains, Murder She Wrote, Matlock and The King of Queens, her last role in 2005

TV roles: Other TV roles include numerous roles on Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Gimme a Break, Growing Pains, Murder She Wrote, Matlock and The King of Queens, her last role in 2005

TV roles: Other TV roles include numerous roles on Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Gimme a Break, Growing Pains, Murder She Wrote, Matlock and The King of Queens, her last role in 2005

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