Aneta Corsaut was an American actress and writer who is best known for playing Helen Crump on The Andy Griffith Show, Judge Cynthia Justin on Matlock, and Jane in The Blob. She was also one of the pioneers of method acting in America, studying with the legendary Lee Strasberg. She had a long and successful career in television and film, but sadly, she passed away in 1995 due to cancer. Here is a brief overview of her life, career, and death.
Early Life and Education
Aneta Louise Corsaut was born on November 3, 1933, in Hutchinson, Kansas, to Jesse Harrison and Opal J. (née Swarens) Corsaut. She had a passion for acting from a young age and majored in drama at Northwestern University in Illinois. She dropped out in her junior year to pursue a career in acting, but later took courses at UCLA to earn her degree. She moved to New York City in the mid-1950s and began her acting career.
Aneta Corsaut made her film debut in 1958 with Steve McQueen in The Blob, a cult classic sci-fi horror movie. She played Jane Martin, the girlfriend of McQueen’s character, who helps him fight the alien menace. According to some sources, the two actors were dating in real life before they starred in the film.
In 1963, she landed her most famous role as Helen Crump, the schoolteacher and love interest of Sheriff Andy Taylor (played by Andy Griffith) on The Andy Griffith Show. She appeared in 65 episodes of the popular sitcom from 1963 to 1968 and reprised her role in the spin-off series Mayberry R.F.D. and several reunion specials. She also had an off-screen affair with Griffith, who was married at the time, which was an open secret among the cast and crew.
She also appeared in many other TV shows, such as Mrs. G. Goes to College, Death Valley Days, The Blue Knight, Adam-12, House Calls, General Hospital, and Matlock. She often worked with Griffith again on his later projects, such as his 1980s legal drama Matlock, where she played Judge Cynthia Justin. She also co-authored a book called The Mystery Reader’s Quiz Book.
Personal Life and Death
Aneta Corsaut never married nor had children. She was a devout Catholic and was involved in various charitable causes. She was diagnosed with cancer in the early 1990s and battled the disease for several years. She died on November 6, 1995, in Studio City, Los Angeles, California, three days after her 62nd birthday. She was interred at Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery in nearby North Hollywood.
Aneta Corsaut was a talented and versatile actress who left a lasting impression on millions of fans. She was also a loyal friend and a generous person who touched many lives. She will always be remembered for her roles as Helen Crump, Judge Cynthia Justin, Jane Martin, and many others.