Frances Yarborough, also known as Francey Yarborough, is the late actor Don Knotts’ wife. Her late husband was a five-time Emmy-winning actor and comedian best known for his role as Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife on the 1960s sitcom The Andy Griffith Show.
Knotts’ third and final wife before his death in 2006 was Yarborough. They first met in the late 1980s. The couple, on the other hand, had been on a marital roller coaster for a few years.
Francey and Knotts had been friends for nearly two decades. Despite their significant age difference, they formed a strong bond in the interim. Relive their first meeting, their journey to becoming husband and wife, and learn more about Francey Yarborough.
Frances Yarborough Biography
Frances Yarborough was born to father Donald Howard Yarborough and mother Charity O’Connell Yarborough. She was born in the 1960s, so she is in her late 70s.
Donald Howard Yarborough, her father, was a liberal Texas Democrat who ran for governor in 1962 and supported John F. Kennedy.
Furthermore, her father was a Marine Corps officer who served as a company commander in China at the end of WWII. In September 2009, Francey’s father died of Parkinson’s disease. In addition to these, Yarborough’s father was a lawyer who advocated for the rights of Mexican immigrants and blacks. He was the owner of his own law firm.
Donald, Francey’s father, was born on December 15, 1925, in New Orleans. Similarly, her paternal grandfather was the president of a bank that failed during the Great Depression. When Donald was 12, his family had relocated to Houston.
Frances Yarborough Siblings
Frances Yarborough is her sister. Francey is the sister-in-law of Daniel de Visé, a writer and journalist who has worked for The Washington Post, the Miami Herald, and three other newspapers over the course of his 23-year career. De Vise also wrote Yarborough’s late husband’s biography.
Inez Vanderburg of Austin, Texas, Leverett Yarborough of Bend, Oregon, Danny Yarborough of Los Angeles, Donald Arthur Yarborough, and Mollie O’Connell Yarborough are some of Yarborough’s siblings from her father’s other relationships.
She Has Appeared In A Number Of Movies
While her full-time occupation remains unknown, according to IMDb, Frances’ only film credit was in the 1976 crime drama ‘The Electric Chair.’ Frances Yarborough met Don Knotts while working as a production assistant.
Yarborough also appeared as a third woman (a 1960s hippie who aspires to be an actress) in one of her husband, Knotts’ plays.
How Did Frances Knotts Meet Her Husband?
Frances Knotts was married to Don Knotts. The couple reportedly married in 2002. But how and when did the husband and wife first meet?
What a Country!, her husband Don’s syndication comedy, had just ended abruptly. Francey worked as a production assistant on the show. She had played the character on the show since early 1987. And it was during this time that Don and Yarborough met. Knotts described Francey as a “beautiful, kind-hearted actress who had settled in Hollywood to pursue improvisational comedy” in his book, Andy and Don: the Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show. Her main responsibility at the time was to assist her future husband, Don, in memorizing his lines.
They Were Over 30 Years Apart In Age.
As previously stated, Yarborough was in her twenties and The Andy Griffith Show actor was in his sixties when the couple first met. In the book, Andy and Don explains that they were kindred spirits.
“We had an instant rapport,” the wife of a multiple Emmy winner recalls of their early romances.
“I was living a goofy life, and he was as well. We’d just keep talking and talking. He enjoyed hearing about my family. He came from a crazy family, and I came from a crazy family. He was fond of people’s quirks.” added the previous production assistant
Yarborough went on to say, “My first thoughts about the comic actor were…” “‘My first impression of him was that he seemed so vulnerable. I’d never met anyone so vulnerable before.'”
Don and Francey began going out to La Scala in Beverly Hills soon after meeting, trading stories and making each other laugh.
They were a couple after a few months, and Francey moved into Don’s Century City condo. They married in 2002 and remained husband and wife until Knotts’ death in 2006.
Frances Yarborough’s Husband Was An Alcoholic Before They Met
Don was living a mostly nocturnal existence when he met Francey, drinking too much and eating too little. He had become a chain smoker, stayed up too late, and could only sleep with the help of pills. However, soon after meeting Yarborough, the star of The Incredible Mr. Limpet abruptly stopped smoking. Francey recalled how, one day, he heard a wheeze and dropped his cigarette, never to be seen again.
Don Knotts Had Married Twice Before Frances
Knotts’ first wife was Kathryn Metz, whom he married in 1947. They had two children: a son, Thomas Knotts, and a daughter, Karen Knotts. Metz and Don’s marriage ended in 1964.
Yarborough’s late husband then married his second wife, Loralee Czuchna, in 1974, and they were married until 1983. Following Czuchna, the Morgantown native married Frances Yarborough.
Frances Yarborough’s Last Days With Don Knotts
Don Knotts and Francey were living in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Century City at the time of his death. During this time, Don was diagnosed with cancer, as well as severe hypochondria and a degenerative eye disease known as macular degeneration.
Don urged Francey not to tell anyone about his illness, let alone the tabloids. The reason, according to reports, was that the West Virginia-born actor still wanted to work, and a sick actor could not find work. Francey and Don decided not to tell Don’s children that he was dying. They even didn’t tell Knotts’ best friend, Andy Griffith.
The Death Of Don Knotts
Don had stated in his will that he did not want to be kept alive by artificial means. As a result, doctors unplugged the machines. Francey’s husband, Don Knotts, died on February 24, 2006, a Friday, at 11:00 p.m., with her, Karen, and Tom embracing him.
The complications from pneumonia in relation to lung cancer were the primary cause of death for the former ventriloquist. The interment was held at Westwood Memorial Park, near the graves of Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin, and Truman Capote. He recognized the poignancy in people’s pride and pain and transformed it into something hilarious and endearing. The inscription was written by widow Francey Yarborough Knotts.
Yarborough stated after Knotts’ death that her late husband “saw poignancy in people’s pride and pain” and found a way to turn it into endearing humor. Don Knotts’ final performance was as Mayor Turkey Lurkey in the 2005 film Chicken Little.
Frances Yarborough Following Her Husband’s Death
Following her husband’s death, Knotts’ last wife, Francey, gradually turned into a has-been. As a result, it remains a mystery as to what else she is up to at the moment. Given that she never pursued acting professionally, there are few headings that define Francey on her own. Furthermore, Yarborough’s aversion to modern-day communication platforms complicates the situation.
Did She Inherit Don Knotts’ Fortune?
There has been no full disclosure of the veteran comedian’s fortune’s distribution since his death, nor will it ever be made public.
While he had a net worth of around $20 million at the time of his death, members of the Knotts’ family did not reveal where the money went. In any case, Francey is likely to have inherited a sizable fortune following the death of her millionaire husband.