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Arlene Golonka (1936–2021), played Millie on “Mayberry R.F.D.” and “The Andy Griffith Show”

by Linnea Crowther

Arlene Golonka was an actress best known for playing Millie Hutchins/Swanson on “Mayberry R.F.D.” and “The Andy Griffith Show.”

Acting career

Golonka’s character on “The Andy Griffith Show” was Millie Hutchins, the love interest of Howard Sprague. As the show was retooled into “Mayberry R.F.D.,” she became Millie Swanson, the love interest of main character Sam Jones. Golonka had many other roles on television as well as in movies and on Broadway. Her TV appearances include “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “M*A*S*H,” “Matlock,” and “The King of Queens.” She was also the voice of Debby in the cartoon “Speed Buggy.” On Broadway, Golonka had roles in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” alongside Kirk Douglas as well as “Come Blow Your Horn” and “The Night Circus.” Her movies include “Hang ‘Em High,” “Airport ’77,” and “Love at First Bite.” Golonka was also an acting teacher, and her students included Halle Berry.

Golonka on acting

“It’s 97% work and it’s 3% glamour. I call it the most unglamorous glamorous business in the world. I mean, you’ve gotta go on diets, you’ve gotta keep your body wonderful, you’ve gotta try to stay looking young, you’ve gotta bleach your hair — I do! — you’ve gotta have a huge wardrobe.” —from a 1997 interview

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Tributes to Arlene Golonka

Full obituary: Extra TV

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